Is Multitasking Bad for You? (And More Treadmill Desk Questions…)

Friday Jan 25 | BY |
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Jonny 5 doing quite the opposite of multitasking…

As promised, I want to answer some of your questions about the treadmill desk article that I wrote here.

There were a few nuts-and-bolts questions like “is it quiet,” and “what about typos” — I’ll get to those at the end of this article — but the most interesting comments were about multitasking, taking breaks and walking vs. standing.

I’m going to address these now…

Walking vs. Standing

A few of you wanted to know why I wouldn’t just stand at a desk or what the added benefit of walking while working actually is.

As I mentioned in the article, I had considered a standing desk way before I heard about the treadmill desk. So I think it’s a great idea.

Here’s where I think, for me, the standing desk isn’t enough: I’m always on the move.

I have to walk, I have to fidget, I have an extremely short attention span. I can’t meditate. I can’t sit still.

My meditation comes when I run (or walk.) So for me, this is a perfect tool to use to keep myself moving and keep myself focused. To back this up, I’ve noticed that I’m more able to focus on one task at a time when I’m on the treadmill desk than I ever was able to do before. The walking seems to quell my need to jump to another thing long enough for me to be uber-productive in one sitting… or, I guess, walking.

Health-wise, the other benefit of walking instead of standing is that you are — for however long you’re on the machine — moving the lymph system. This will help with the removal of toxins from the body. You won’t get the same action while you’re just standing.

Ultimately, I think it’s up to you, what type of person you are, and what your budget is. Some of you wrote in saying that you’ve rigged your own or bounce on a rebounder. These two are viable options. I’ve also had friends ask me if there is a stationary bike desk, and there in fact is. You can find it here. I’ve never tried it, but it’s much more affordable than the treadmill desk. With any or all options, remember, the key is to eliminate or greatly reduce the time sitting. All of these do that.

The Dangers of Multitasking

Yes, it can seem like a great thing to get your exercise done while working on your computer — don’t forget you can also eat your breakfast, text to your friends, and listen to music at the same time. But this is just expanding on the ever increasing “shoulds” and adding MORE stress to our modern lives instead of relieving it!

Great point! There must be separate time for breakfast, talking to friends, listening to music and many other things. The multitasking buzz of the 90’s and 2000’s that we’ve grown accustomed has taught us some pretty powerful lessons. The most evident is that most people don’t get more done while they’re doing more than one or two things at a time. Multitasking — depending on who’s doing it — can also certainly create stress. So these factors definitely do come into play when deciding how to spend your day.

So yes, multitasking — for your production, your relationships, and your sanity — is dangerous in many ways, but I do say this with a caveat.

I don’t view walking on the treadmill desk and working as multitasking in it’s truest sense. Multitasking, to me, is attempting to get multiple things done at once while setting unrealistic goals of your time and mindspace.

Walking on the treadmill desk and working doesn’t fit that definition.

Here’s why…

I don’t consider sitting and working multitasking, so in that same line of thought, I don’t consider walking and working multitasking.

My time spent sitting has just been swapped out with a different (and more healthy) activity — walking. I guess if I was substituting my workout with my walking then you could classify that as multitasking to some degree, but I’m still running and exercising outside of the time I spend in the office.

The bottom line is that I’m still going to be working at the computer 4-6 hours a day — it’s the nature of having a blog and a skin care business that does most of its sales online — so it was my goal to find a way to be more healthy while still doing what my job requires.

So, yes, eat breakfast without your iPad. Hang out with friends and don’t check your text messages. Keep the TV off when you’re reading a book. I think all of these are great ways to reduce overload — and when it comes to working on the treadmill desk I see this as a health upgrade, not a downgrade.

Does the Treadmill Desk Make Noise?

My question is that is it quiet?

It’s fairly quiet. Just about the noise of any regular walking treadmill — which is more quiet than a running treadmill.

The noise is soft enough to not be picked up when I’m recording an interview on the phone, but you can hear it slightly outside of my office when the door is closed.

Can You Power Your Own Computer?

Here’s a thought: I wonder if you could hook up your treadmill to your computer in a way that would allow your computer to use the energy you generate by walking. I saw some bicycles up at Real Goods that harness the energy one generates by peddling and thought I would like to try this some day.

Great idea! It was actually one of the first things that I thought when I set it up.

While Lifespan doesn’t have an option for this yet, I imagine that some company will eventually make this possible. With all the walking I’ve done, I may even be able to sell the energy back to the power company, LOL!

Also, I would love to experiment with multiple desks and see how much of the office we could power.

Anyone know how to set something like this up? If so, send us an email.

Typing and Walking…

How did you find the degree of spelling typos though?

Ha ha… If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that spelling and proofreading isn’t my strong suit.

So for me, it’s just the same. Luckily, I have spell-check in Google Drive and WordPress editor to help me out — at least to some degree.

On a more serious note, the desk does have a nice padded edge that allows you to rest your hands on it while you walk. This enables you to keep moving and your hands to stay put. Without this edge, I have a feeling it would be much more awkward to type and walk at the same time. Again, like I said in my previous post, I’m extremely pleased with the construction and quality of this machine. They put more than just a desk and a treadmill together. There are some design elements that are very smart — though only a few — incorporated into it that make the experience seamless.

Your Question of the Day: Do you multitask? Does it work for you?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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