Pedometers quake at the sight of Kari Severson, founder and CEO of Walkway Workstations. This woman walks a lot. You may have seen Walkway Workstations in the Concourse F Service Center across from Gate F3 or on Concourse C across from Fox News near Gate C12. The treadmill desks are located across the Twin Cities in venues that are prone to sitting or waiting—airports, hospitals, campuses, and corporations to name a few.
“For years, I balanced a travel-intensive career, an international MBA program, and a long-distance relationship,” says Severson. “Between the three (working, studying, traveling), I was constantly sitting. I realized a lifestyle change was in order so I bought a treadmill desk for my home office. Soon after, the idea for Walkway Workstations was born.”
It’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking,” meaning it’s linked to diseases, including: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression. “When you sit for long stretches of time, your body enters hibernation mode, at which point your metabolism plummets and impairs your body’s ability to break down fats and sugars,” says Severson. “Additionally, prolonged periods of sitting puts undo pressure on your lower back and stresses the surrounding muscles and joints. This can compromise your posture and increase the likelihood of back and spine injuries.”
The good news is that the opposite action, simply standing—or better yet, walking—can make a world of difference. According to Severson, when you stand versus sit, your body burns three times as many calories throughout the day. Standing up more each day also increases muscle tone and blood flow, improves posture, and ramps up your metabolism. “Add walking to the mix, and you’ll see a further increase in caloric burn, improved circulation, enhanced mood, and increased energy,” says Severson.
Sounds fantastic, but can you really get work done while on the move? “It’s like riding a bike,” says Severson. “The first few steps are awkward, but before long it feels like second nature. Yes, you are coordinated enough and no, you won’t break a sweat.” (The Walkway Workstations are capped at a maximum speed of 2 miles per hour to ensure safety, comfort, and concentration.)
In an age where productivity is prized, our physical health is often compromised in order to check off our to-do lists. Walkway Workstations offer hope that health and output can, in fact, go hand-in-hand.