HR Strange But True!
June 10, 2005

Welcome to Dr. James Levine's office of the future.

Levine, an obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, believes sitting at their desks is about the last thing workers should be doing. Rather, they should be standing—and not standing still. They should be walking on a treadmill.

Levine and several colleagues are practicing what they preach, using a workstation that combines a computer, desk, and treadmill. It allows people to walk while they work.

"I hate going to the gym, which may be partly why I'm so interested in this," Levine said during a recent interview, keeping up a 1 mph pace on his treadmill while checking e-mail.

That speed is slow enough to avoid breaking a sweat but fast enough to burn an extra 100 calories per hour, or 1,000 a day, given his average 10-hour workdays, Levine said.

And it helps the 41-year-old endocrinologist keep his 5-foot-81/2-inch frame at 158 pounds.

"We're talking more than 50 pounds of weight loss a year, if I were to keep my diet the same," he said.

Levine and his team have also put a carpeted track around the perimeter of their new, 5,000-square-foot work space. They made walls out of magnetic marker boards so they can stand up while developing project ideas.

And while they were at it, they used black tape to mark a hockey net on the wall behind Levine's treadmill so they can fire lightweight plastic pucks at the goal while talking to him.

"It's great fun and it creates a whole positivity," Levine said. "Partly because it's so new, but partly because it's nice to be moving."

Source: The Associated Press

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