Don’t Just Sit There!

The WeBike cycling desk can be found at airports and train stations across in Western Europe. WeWatt

The WeBike cycling desk can be found at airports and train stations across in Western Europe. WeWatt

Do something! That is a call to action everyone has heard at some moment in their life, from a drill sergeant, a coach, a parent…and it turns out there is good reason to heed the call for the sake of longevity. And entrepreneurs are doing something about it to give you options in unexpected ways and places, as we learn in this story from National Public Radio (USA):

Amsterdam is famous for its laissez-faire attitude about extracurricular activities, its beautiful canals and of course, its bicycles. Now, even if you only have a layover at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, you can get in some pedaling, and power your phone and other devices at the same time.

Schiphol is one of the airport homes for WeBikes — cycling desks that generate power. About 30 minutes of pedaling is enough to charge an iPhone, according to its designer. They seat three to a table, but can be configured for more. Here’s more from Fast Company, which introduced us to this exciting creation:

“At the moment, the WeBikes are mostly used in public spaces, such as libraries and hotels, but the company hopes to bring them to more offices. ‘In the public domain, the focus has been on green energy,’ [developer Katarina] Verhaegensays. ‘People like power while they’re on the move. But in the office, the focus will be more on the health side — the green energy stuff will be used more as a motivational aspect to get people started on the habit of riding at work.’

“Riding a bike while working — though it might sound distracting — can actually help improve the quality of work. ‘People don’t believe they can do two things at the same time,’ says Verhaegen. ‘But there are studies proving that gentle exercise while doing computer work, you’re more focused and more creative. Reading and memorizing speed is enhanced. For productivity, and creativity, it’s really good to do this.”

You can find these at railway stations in France as well as in airports in Belgium and the Netherlands, and soon, an office-specific version. Fast Company reports it’s supposed to be released later this year, but each individual bike desk runs $13,000…

Read the whole story here, and by extension of the same idea click the image below for a related story from several months ago, also from National Public Radio (USA).

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Likewise, for a comically serious long-form story on the same topic, be sure to read what follows these opening lines:

I am writing this while walking on a treadmill. And now you know the biggest problem with working at a treadmill desk: the compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk. It’s a lot like the early days of cell-phone calls, when the simple fact that you were doing what you were doing seemed so amazing that most conversations consisted largely of exclamations about the amazingness of the call. I got my treadmill desk about three months ago, but I’m still in the announcement phase. I would like to have it be known that I have walked while buying shoes online; while Photoshopping pictures of my cats; while e-mailing my son’s soccer coach; and while paying bills. I had been eagerly awaiting the first time I would have a phone conversation with someone who was also walking at a treadmill desk. That happened not long ago, when I spoke to Dr. James Levine, the leading researcher in the marvellous-sounding field of “inactivity studies,” at the Mayo Clinic’s Scottsdale, Arizona, campus, and the most prominent of walking-desk partisans. I was already on my second mile of the day when I called him. He had just stepped out for coffee and was on his way back to his office, and he managed to open the door, put down his coffee, step onto his treadmill, and start walking without skipping a beat. “You’re going to hear a bit of an odd sound,” Levine said. “That’s my treadmill.”…

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