Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US have come up with a novel method of tackling worker obesity.
Dr James Levine has transformed his entire office into an exercise area, with workstations mounted over treadmills and a walking track for meetings.
He came up with the idea by discovering that lots of very light activity caused the body to greatly increase the rate at which it burns calories, a process called non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
"The idea is to introduce an environment that will encourage activity in the workplace. Just as it's hard to be a couch potato without a couch, it's hard to sit all day at work without a chair or a conventional desk or cubicle," he said.
"We have meeting rooms, but for small groups we prefer the track. So when my colleagues and I 'take a meeting' we also take a walk."
Other innovations include plastic carpet skates to let employees zip around the office, wall animations that show movement to further stimulate the body's metabolic system, and methods of typing, phoning and thinking all using some form of motion.
Using the treadmill desk at 1mph will burn about 100 calories per hour, so walk-working from 9am to 5pm burns 800 calories per day. If food intake stays the same, this could represent a loss of more than fifty pounds a year, according to Dr Levine.
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