This means that the benefits outweigh the simple measurement of calories burnt, especially for people who are otherwise sedentary.
> This means that the benefits outweigh the simple measurement of calories burnt, especially for people who are otherwise sedentary.
> It was my understanding that if you're largely sedentary, no amount of exercise can "make up" for that, and that the correlation with increased morbidity and mortality remains.
Some say that even a little helps, some say that even large amounts of exercise still isn't enough.
As a largely sedentary person, I wish there were more concrete studies done to show how to mitigate the risks of long-term problems for those of us that are sedentary for a (relatively) big part of the day.
If you're largely sedentary, getting an hour of exercise per day doesn't counteract the fact that you've been sitting for 12 hours per day. 
Simultaneously, walking slowly all day does not burn many calories compared to a proper workout. But that's fine, because the goal of walking slowly all day is not to burn calories, but simply to keep you from sitting all day.
It seems to me the best approach is to simply do both.
I expect that, in 10 years or so, we will SE more nuanced publications about the health effects of sitting less.
Looking at chimps in nature, I expect the optimum will be something where you don't sit in the same position for hours at an end, but hobble a few meters every half hour or so and grab some fruit or groom a colleague (the latter would require significant changes in workplace ethics and law)
I get up every hour almost without fail, and walk all the way across the building to get a drink, or bathroom break, or any excuse, sometimes I do nothing at all. Often I walk to a different floor. This was on dr advice a long time ago WRT back probs and general health. I'm a heck of a lot more productive in the 10 minutes after I get back than the 10 minutes before, so its almost certainly a substantial net gain to my employer.
I do the same daily mileage as the author but compressed into my lunch hour, in addition to the above, weather permitting. I'd be interested to see shoe wear stats. When I slack off in the depths of winter or the peak of summer I can see my shoe soles not wear when I don't do a couple miles of pavement at lunch hour.
Its also interesting to look at financially, I can only get a couple hundred miles out of a pair of shoes, and I need to buy decent walking shoes not cheap junk solely based on appearance. I would guess shoe wear on a rubber belt is very low compared to concrete... then again I don't pay for whatever wear I cause to the concrete sidewalk and someone is paying for his treadmill wear directly or indirectly.
When I worked in a suburban office building I walked the nature trails and shoe wear on shredded bark was approximately zero, and it was more emotionally satisfying than dodging panhandlers in the city.
Related to above I tried wearing trail hiking boots and the wear was high on pavement. Lunch hour walks would probably be a good strategy for breaking in new boots, but it doesn't work long term for exercise.
It was an interesting article although there's plenty of space for further study.
1) In terms of weight management, calories burnt is what is important. Mild exercise won't burn huge numbers of calories, but it can increased your basal metabolic rate which means you burn more calories sitting still. This can be a significant contribution to weight loss.
2) There are other, non-weight related unhealthy effects of sedentary behavior. Current recommendations for managing these involve 15 minutes of non-sedentary behavior every 2 hours (ie, stand and possibly walk for 15 minutes every 2 hours). Realistically, many people can do this by having a standing meeting in the morning, walking at lunch, and a standing meeting in the afternoon.
Something is always better than nothing. It might not increase your long-term longevity, but will be of great help in an altercation or simply playing with a child.
And here's the kicker: IF YOU DO LARGE AMOUNTS OF EXERCISE YOU ARE NO LONGER LARGELY SEDENTARY.
I spend 8 hours in a chair, minimum. It's unlikely that I spend 100% of the remaining waking hours standing, so I'm already largely sedentary.
Factor in sleep and it's not even close.
"It has been established that the average world class athlete trains approximately 23 hours a week. Interestingly, the average athlete in America trains approximately 12 hours a week." (3h/day)
Source: google first result
I just took the meaning to be "sitting/non-moving," which I do for nearly my entire 24h lately. (I used to be very active, before programming, but I have work and side projects and...youtube...lately keeping me in a chair).
Anyway, to specifically answer your question, I would describe the athlete's day as "largely sedentary." Again, I'm not making medical judgments or saying that person is harming their body. I'm in this thread gain insight into how badly I'm damaging my body and how likely it is I can mitigate that damage.
That's why it's called the exercise paradox, or the athletes paradox. Or whatever. The point is, you are correct - exercise increases your total metabolism and you eat more and burn more. But exercisers live longer and healthier and do not seem to pay the oxidative price for their increased metabolism that it appears they should.
Right, that is exactly my point.
However, many posting here are interested in the weight-management effects of treadmill desks.
If you are doing heavy caloric restriction then you probably don't have a weight management issue. It's worth noting that the longevity-effects of caloric restriction seem to start occurring at very restrictive levels of consumption, and few have the self-control to stay at that level for decades (which seems to be what is needed).
I agree, Skeletor is an oversale of the health benefits but as common knowledge, the further you are from your ideal weight, the easier to is to lose weight and balanced with proper eating habits, its not unreasonable to suggest that a walking desk is would slim someone down, especially if aided in other exercise outside of work.
Disclaimer: his books are like crack to me. Once I start one I can't put it down and now have carefully choose when to pick one up. Quicksilver is next up over the summer.
I personally feel like I wouldn't be able to write software while on a treadmill as I already find it hard to do sometimes while standing up at my desk.
If one doesn't have that specific problem, should one use a treadmill desk? Dunno. He presents several graphs of daily mileage, is that evidence for or against usage of treadmill desks? Dunno. The calorie count is small (compared to what?) when he calculates out, does that mean treadmill desks are not helpful? Dunno.
More relevant would be stuff like: how many emails did he send each day correlated against mileage? How many words did he write in his novel, or how many words did he edit? Did he at least lose some weight? Was his mood better on treadmill days? Did he consider running a simple randomized test (just flip a coin for each day whether to use a treadmill) for anything? Heck, what was his subjective experience, even, about the effects of treadmill - did he feel unable, as many people do (not just you), to do anything requiring real concentration?
OP reminds me a lot of Stephen Wolfram's big fancy QS post about metrics like typing: he had measured an impressive number of things, but nothing that ever mattered.
I find a solution in splitting my time and do complex coding while sitting grunt coding while on the treadmill. The switching is distracting. I don't get as much done this way comparing to sitting all day, but overall I think the health benefit is worth it.
There is also the possibility my pace is too fast, though.
If you can buy a poor-quality treadmill with rails for $200, why can't you buy a poor quality one without rails to put under a standing desk which you've made out of PVC, lag bolts, and IKEA parts?
I would love to know where to get a cheap treadmill without rails though...
You don't need anything fancy.
Also, like the author says, faster is better, I also find a slight incline to be helpful. Normally I do a few hours (2-3) at 4.5% incline and between 2.2 and 2.6 mph.
It reversed a slowly creeping weight gain for me. Then we had our first child and the data was skewed, i.e. weight plummeted, but it's back on the trendline now and steady with limited use of the treadmill.
Concentration, noise, typing (I type a lot for a living); none adversely affected. You can adjust and it's surprisingly easy to do so. Besides, as a person with a relatively healthy BMI already (whatever it truly means for health, I was just into the overweight section before), I don't use the setup all day on those days when I do have it on.
A mixture of standing, walking and sitting works fine, switching as and when it feels needed. I understand that doing any one of those all day can be detrimental in the long term so I keep moving. The muscular effects of standing/walking can easily be felt after a few sessions. That's enough of a result for me to know it's worthwhile.
That's not to say that people don't try though, there are plenty of DIY treadmill desks made out of exactly what you describe.
Science fiction it would seem, but still a good idea!
From a quick Google search, there are a couple news articles (with direct links to the journal articles) about extra-curricular exercise not removing harms (which is all I meant to note in my OP):
6000 km is a lot of walking.
So, for example, running a marathon doesn't take much training. It averages about an hour per day, according to this . The runners seem to be living "largely sedentary" lives, playing video games, watching TV, sitting for work, etc. It sure seems like running has some positive effects . Are you saying that Stephenson's approach of walking slow most of the day is pretty much the only way to unlock an extra year or five?
My argument is, of course, argument via google. There's so much contradictory information and economic motive to, well, lie that it's hard for me to get a grip on what's actually sensible. Some regular exercise sounds like a good argument, and there's some evidence to back that up ( for example), but it sure has the feeling of folklore.
The best way to puritan-ize it is probably to greenwash the thermostat up to 85F in the summer and require treadmill desks for the proles, then let management sit in separately air conditioned individual offices at 70F. Guarantee you're going to see this at the "trendy" offices real soon.
It's audible but not noisy. I'm in a cubical environment where most people have headphones on all day and my coworkers immediately surrounding me can hear it with headphones off but those with one cube in between cannot.