Walk into Dr. James Herbert’s office and you’ll likely see him walking too; amidst the books, papers and occasional coffee cup, he is hard at work—on his treadmill. Taking the phrase “thinking on your feet” to a whole new level, Herbert, professor of psychology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is one of a growing number of professionals who’ve swapped out their traditional desk and chair for something a bit more unconventional. Called a “TreadDesk,” this novel workstation is comprised of an elevated desk that sits above a treadmill. Sound like a feat only the highly coordinated can master? Not according to Herbert, who logs an average of 2.5 to 3.5 miles each day at a 1.4 mph pace. “It took a little getting used to at first, but I adjusted surprisingly quickly—within a couple of days,” he says. As a second-degree black belt and avid runner, Herbert purchased the TreadDesk to complement his healthy lifestyle and help manage back pain. “After sitting at my desk for hours at a time, I was having a lot of lower back pain, a common consequence of excessive sitting. Evolution didn’t design us to sit; we were built to stand, walk, run and squat, but not to sit. So I was hoping that by drastically reducing the time I spent sitting, I would ease my lower back pain.”
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