Shannon Rosenberg, For The Miami Student

Some people will find ways to exercise on a regular basis — whether it’s going for a run or getting to the gym — but there are always those people who just don’t have the time in between work, kids and school.

This is where the workstation comes into play. Associate Professor Ron Cox and graduate student Amanda Zylstra are studying this prototype at Miami University’s campus in the kinesiology and health department. They said their main goal right now is to find out if the workstation will battle our society’s sedentary lifestyle. 

The workstation is the super-child of a desk and treadmill and was originally created by James Levine, a research scientist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was concerned with obesity. It is a desk platform with a treadmill attached to it designed for the workplace setting so people can stay active while still focusing on their jobs, Cox said.

Zylstra said she is interested in the product because exercise is not enough to combat prolonged sitting in the American culture.  

“Studies have shown that even if you exercise on a daily basis, the amount of time you spend sitting will still make you prone to things such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes,” Zylstra said. 

Cox said the project is focused on combating the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.

“We are trying to counter the negative effects of sitting,” Cox said. “We’re stepping away from obesity and weight control and just trying to get people active.” 

The workstation is used for one person and reaches a speed up to 2 mph. It has all of the same control buttons as a regular treadmill and a cord that stops the treadmill if the user happens to fall off. It also keeps track of the distance the user has walked. The control panel slides in so the user can take full advantage of the desk and the desk is height adjustable, so people of all heights can use it.

“I think it’s because you can’t see your feet moving that it’s so easy to get used to,” Zylstra said.

The workstation is designed for exercise, but Zylstra said there could be other benefits to it as well.

“It could be a possible solution for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” she said. “It would be better than putting them on medication.”

People with ADHD would be able to constantly move during class, helping them concentrate more on doing their work and listening to the teacher.

Cox and Zylstra have been putting the workstation into offices of volunteer professors at Miami and tracking results for more than a year.

“Getting people to adopt a full-fledged physical activity program is like getting people to climb Mount Everest,” Cox said. “We’re trying to take Mount Everest down to a foothill.”

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