Walkstation To Bring Healthy Habits To Workplace

2007-10-27 02:26

Steelcase unveiled the Walkstation, a height-adjustable workstation with an integrated treadmill.

The Walkstation is the first product from the FitWork category of products designed to bring healthy habits to sedentary workers while they are actually working.

Available in late November, the Walkstation is the result of an alliance between Steelcase and James Levine, MD, PhD, of the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Designed primarily for corporate work environments, the Walkstation combines Steelcase's knowledge of ergonomics and workplace design with Dr. Levine's research on non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T) - the energy expended during everyday activity.

Obesity is a prevalent issue in today's society and a concern for businesses as it is driving up healthcare costs and driving down worker productivity. Dr. Levine's proprietary N.E.A.T. research suggests that increased physical activity among sedentary workers may benefit the workplace environment and increase the overall health, focus and productivity of a workforce that is typically desk-based. Designed to encourage more movement by walking slowly at work, Dr. Levine estimates that users of the Walkstation have the potential to increase energy expenditure by 100 calories per hour when walking at a 1 mph rate. Thus, if obese individuals were to replace time spent sitting at the computer with 2-3 hours per day of walking computer time, and if other components of energy balance were constant, actual weight loss may result.

"The Walkstation is not intended to provide a gym-style workout in the office; its purpose is not to cause users to raise their heart rates or work up a sweat," Dr. Levine says. "For office workers, the majority of the workday is spent sitting in front of a computer. The premise of this Walkstation is simply to increase movement while working, and for users to enjoy the health benefits of that movement."

The Walkstation integrates a specially-designed treadmill with an electric height-adjustable worksurfaces. Height-adjustable worksurfaces, the fastest- growing category of office products from Details, a Steelcase company, allow users to maximize comfort and productivity by quickly changing the height of their worksurface throughout the day. Manufactured by TRUE Fitness Technology, Inc., a leading manufacturer in the fitness industry, the commercial grade Walkstation treadmill is designed for modest movement and engineered to operate within a limited speed range of one-half to two miles per hour. The Walkstation promotes workplace environments in which burning calories, stress- relief and other benefits of walking slowly seamlessly enhance the full-range of responsibilities that are traditionally handled in a seated manner.

Jim Keane, Steelcase Group president comments, "Organizations interested in elevating healthy activity and productivity among its employees can install the Walkstation in a variety of ways - as part of a conference room where employees can walk while meeting, in individual workstations, or for groups of workers to share in other common areas around the office."

The patents pending Walkstation is the first in a series of office furniture products developed by Details in collaboration with Dr. Levine. The base model will be available in November and includes both the treadmill and worksurface. Additional models will also be available with a variety of worksurface configurations, computer support, task lighting and organizational components to transform the worksurface into a full-fledged workstation.

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