work faster while you walk

By tom rath

Working on this book was an experiment in itself. I decided to build a workstation on my treadmill and set a goal of writing this entire book while walking.

So I mounted my computer monitor above my treadmill and built a homemade keyboard tray across the arm rests. Because it was a low-cost solution, I figured it was worth trying even if it did not work out.

After using this homemade walking desk for several months, I am now walking an additional 5-10 miles per day as a result. At the end of each “walk day,” as I have started to call it, my back no longer aches. I also have dramatically more energy compared with days when I am sitting in meetings, cars, or airplanes.

If it is remotely practical, try something like this to increase activity, even if it’s only when you are at home. I have a friend who forces himself to watch sporting events while on his elliptical machine, so he is getting a little activity alongside his favorite athletes. Another option is a standing desk or a convertible desk that moves up and down for standing and seated work.

If you stand still while you work, it is a good idea to alternate between standing and sitting. Standing still for extended periods can cause unnecessary strain if you don’t move around or alternate with sitting. You can also add adapters that secure to a stationary desk and allow you to raise and lower your monitor and keyboard to a standing or seated level.

All of these options are gaining popularity in workplaces as companies discover the cost savings from fewer sick days associated with excessive sitting. Several organizations I have worked with provide shared walking workstations where employees can go to catch up on email. I spoke with a friend the other day who used one of these shared workstations to complete all of his annual online compliance training.

If your employer will not provide walking or standing desks (it never hurts to ask), put your laptop or monitor on a shelf where you can stand and work occasionally. Or get a music stand, wall mount, or something that makes it easy to read and work while standing. At a minimum, try reading on a stationary bike, or take a walk while listening to an audio book or conference call.


1. Select one food to eat today with a balanced (1 to 1) ratio of carbs to protein. Avoid foods above a ratio of 5 to 1.

2. Put the healthiest foods in your home on a shelf at eye level or in a bowl on the counter.

3. Identify one way you can work without sitting, right now. Test it out tomorrow.

Categories: Wellness

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By tom rath

Tom Rath is an author and researcher who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being. He has written five New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade including his most recent book, Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Shape Your Work and Well-being. Tom serves as a senior scientist for and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent thirteen years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, leadership, and well-being. He is also a scientific advisor to Welbe. Developed by O.C. Tanner, Welbe uses apps and wearable technology to improve health and well-being in the workplace.