Wednesday 4 December 2013

Smart Phone Use

Smart phone use has exploded over the past few years. According to statistics released by Ofcom more than 50% of UK adults now use smartphones, almost double the figure of 2011. Smart phones are phenomenal devices; the stuff of science fiction only a few years ago. I use mine for emailing, browsing the internet, GPS, as a dictaphone, tracking my exercise, as a torch, for social media, playing games and lots more - not to mention making phone calls or sending text messages.

Having such a hypnotising device in your hand doesn't come without some potential dangers, though. Posture is an important issue. Keeping the head down, staring at what is quite a small screen for prolonged periods can cause neck problems and sometimes also results in headaches. Wrist and hand repetitive strain injuries have been linked with repeated over-stretching of the thumb across the screen in particular. As a chiropractor in Liverpool, I've seen such patients come through my door. Identifying the cause of the problem and ensuring that the necessary lifestyle changes are made is key. There are also potentially serious consequences of falls or collisions as a result of using the phone while out and about. I found this little animated video which is great and very educational. I think you'll like it.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Time to get the weight back on your feet!

How often have you been told to sit down and get the weight off your feet? Well, such advice may not being doing you as much good as you think.

Modern technologies have made us the most sedentary generation to ever walk the earth (or sit on our bottoms). Many of us will sit for many hours each day at work, in the car, bus or train as part of a commute and then again in front of the TV or computer/laptop/tablet in the evening.

I recently read an article from the BBC news magazine titled 'Calorie burner: How much better is standing up than sitting?' It's well worth reading. I did so and then typed this post while standing - actually, walking at a treadmill desk. The report talks about reducing arthritic pain, burning calories and raising heart rate.

In my opinion, this is a really important matter. Along with chiropractors all around the world, I constantly encourage my patients to get up and move more. Getting out of our seats, even if just to stand, is a good first step. Simple changes really can make a big difference.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

New Treatment for Shoulder Pain and Stiffness

I have recently become certified as a licensed practitioner of the Niel-Asher Technique.  Niel-Asher Technique providers can be found at I am currently the only practitioner in Merseyside who has completed the licencing and certification training for this new treatment.

The Niel-Asher Technique is used for treating various shoulder problems. A clinical trial was carried out at the Addenbrookes Hospital and the results were published in the British Journal of Rheumatology. Patients were allocated to one of three groups; Physiotherapy, Niel-Asher Technique or a placebo group. The study found that after nine weeks, patients treated with the Niel-Asher Technique had more than twice the improvement in shoulder mobility than patients in the other two groups. Additionally the improvement in reported pain level was nearly twice as good in the Niel-Asher Technique group.

The technique was developed to treat patients with damaged shoulders. Recently it has been realised that it can also be used to help sports people and others who rely on good shoulder function to improve power and accuracy in the incredibly complex shoulder joints. Golfers have found this particularly beneficial.

You can watch a short video about the Niel-Asher Technique below.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

What is the difference between a chiropractor and osteopath?

If you have ever wondered about the difference between a chiropractor and osteopath, you won't be alone. It's a question that I'm asked all the time.

Osteopathy and chiropractic started out as distinct healing professions in the late 1800s in the USA. Andrew Still, a physician and surgeon 'discovered' osteopathy in 1872 when he became dissatisfied with conventional medicine. He believed the bone 'osteon' was the starting point for pathological conditions. D.D Palmer was the founder of chiropractic in 1895.  Palmer may have been a student of Andrew Still for a short time.

Palmer proposed that spinal manipulation influenced the nervous system whereas osteopaths believed that manipulation had an effect on the body’s circulation. Scientific understanding of physiology was very limited at the time.

Chiropractors and osteopaths treat mainly muscular and skeletal problems. Chiropractors often use manipulation, particularly of the spine as part of their treatment. This is sometimes referred to as an adjustment. To better understand what this is, you may like to read this post. Osteopaths may also manipulate their patients but more frequently use mobilisation. Both professions use various other soft tissue techniques as part of their treatment.

Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation and mobilisation are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of back pain. I have observed osteopaths treating patients and can see a time when there are much closer ties between the two professions. In the UK chiropractors are regulated by the General Chiropractic Council and osteopaths by the General Osteopathic Council. When deciding whether to consult a chiropractor or an osteopath you may find it most helpful to seek out a personal recommendation from family members or friends. Hope this helps.

Friday 30 August 2013

Maintaining Good Health

During the 1800's life expectancy was only about 40 years. Today that figure has almost doubled. If the current trend continues 1 in 3 babies born today can expect to live to be 100. However, although life expectancy is now around 80 years, healthy life expectancy is somewhat lower at 63.5 years according to the Office for National Statistics. Prof Les Mayhew, of the Cass Business School at the City University, London argues that although people are living longer, there are concerns about our ability to continue to work up to the new UK full state pension age (68), because of poor health.

Poor health comes in many guises. In recent years stress (and mental health problems) and musculoskeletal problems (of which back pain makes up a significant proportion) have been the main causes of long term absence from work. As we all live longer, it seems there may never have been a more important time to consider ways to maintain good health. In earlier blog posts I've discussed the importance of diet and exercise with respect to keeping healthy. I also believe chiropractic may be able to provide another small part of the good health equation.

In my practice I see more patients with back pain than any other condition. Over recent years there have been a number of studies supporting the treatment offered by chiropractors for this very common problem. Until recently however, support for chiropractic preventative care was more anecdotal than research led. In 2011 however, two important papers were published which begin to build support for preventative or 'Maintenance Care' for chronic back pain sufferers. Chronic back pain is generally defined as back pain which has been present for greater than 3 months. Chronic back pain can be tremendously debilitating for those suffering from it and can put a huge burden on general health resources.

The first of these 2 studies was conducted by Senna and Machaly and published in the journal Spine. Study participants (who had at least a 6 month history of low back pain) were randomised into one of 3 groups:

1. Sham spinal manipulation x 12 over 1 month, plus prescribed back exercises.
2. Spinal manipulation x 12 over 1 month, plus prescribed back exercises.
3. Spinal manipulation x 12 over 1 month, plus prescribed back exercises; plus maintenance care (treatment with spinal manipulation every 2 weeks).

Study participants who received spinal manipulation were significantly better than the sham treatment group at 1 month, however only the spinal manipulation + maintenance group were still significantly better on all outcome measures at 10 month follow-up.

Spinal manipulation is effective for nonspecific chronic low back pain. Best outcomes are achieved in the longer term when maintenance treatment and exercise are included.

The second study by Cifuentes, Willetts & Wasiak was published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. This study examined how health maintenance care provided by chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians affected recurrences of low back pain in workers following treatment for an initial episode of back pain. Of the 3 treatments, those who received chiropractic maintenance care had the lowest disability recurrence rate.

In practice, I have found that patients most suited to receiving maintenance care are those who have chronic or recurring back pain. The frequency of maintenance care is something that is highly individual but may vary from a treatment every few weeks in the worst cases to every few months in patients with less unstable back problems. As the first study above indicates, regular exercise to improve spinal stability and flexibility is also an integral part of a health maintenance program.

By reducing back pain related disability, I believe chiropractic can play an important role in improving healthy life expectancy. Chiropractic - helping you be healthy and happy into old age!

Thursday 8 August 2013

Isn't That Sweet?

This week I came across a video on YouTube called 'Sugar - The Bitter Truth'. This is a presentation by Dr Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California in San Francisco. If you have the time, it's a fascinating watch.

He talks about the rising problem of obesity and links it with the massive increase in the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener in many foods and soft drinks. Diets with high HFCS content can decrease your ability to feel full (so you eat more). Fructose is readily turned to fat by your liver. Not all fat is the same, but the large amounts of fat produced in the liver when HFCS is metabolised can be deposited in your blood vessels increasing the risk of heart attacks. Other problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, liver dysfunction, and pancreatitis are also associated with HFCS.

Dr Lustig recommends 4 effective lifestyle interventions in an attempt to combat this problem:
1. Get rid of all sugared liquids from your home or work; only drink water or milk.
2. Eat your carbohydrates with fibre (remember, highly processed food often contain little fibre).*
3. If you want seconds, wait 20 minutes.
4. Buy your screen time (TV, computer, etc) minute for minute with physical activity (i.e. 30 minutes of surfing the net costs you 30 minutes of exercising or cleaning or walking, etc). Another great reason to use a treadmill desk - immediate payback!

Fortunately, UK diets contain a good deal less HFCS than diets in the USA. I've taken to looking at food labels more closely this week and you'd be surprised what foods are being sweetened. Low fat foods are particularly vulnerable as we find low fat food less palatable, and to increase palatability, the food is often loaded with sugars, which may then be metabolised in the liver into even more unhealthy forms of fat than the fat for which the sugar was substituted. This one reason why dieting is often so ineffective.

Watch the presentation. It will change the way you think about your food and drink and your lifestyle as a whole.

*Wherever there is fructose in nature (in fruit for example) there is also lots of fibre. Fibre is essential because it slows the rate of carbohydrate absorption and increases the speed of transit of intestinal contents, helping us feel more full and less hungry.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Guest Post: Walk this Way

After numerous late nights finishing the latest draft of my novel and a brief holiday, it's time to get back into the swing of things. I've missed my daily desk-walking and this Walk Your Waist Off article in the Telegraph has made me anxious to begin again.

In the article, Joanna Hall claims that daily walking (with the correct posture) improves balance, cardiovascular health and stamina, toning bodies and dropping inches without dieting and back-breaking sit-ups. Sounds good, especially after the amount of ice cream I ingested on holiday.

I've set myself the challenge of walking for 2 hours a day during the school holidays. Not only will it mean that I get some exercise, it will also encourage me to get on with my pile of holiday reading which is probably best done indoors, with a pencil and notebook to hand as I prepare for the theoretical part of my PhD.


Sunday 14 July 2013

What's The Crack

The cracking or popping sound that is sometimes produced when joints are manipulated, (or as we chiropractors like to say 'adjusted'), seems to evoke strong emotions from some people. I'm often asked what causes the sound. Patients sometimes think it is caused by bones rubbing together or something snapping. Some have had relatives or friends tell them that clicking their joints will cause arthritis. Such misconceptions seem to generate a certain degree of fear of the cracking sound. This fear is slightly irrational when you consider that many of us experience a click from our knees when we squat down to pick something up or even clicks from our ankles or toes when we take our first steps of a morning.

To help us understand what is happening during an adjustment it might be useful to know what joints look like. Most of the joints in our bodies are called 'synovial joints'. These joints normally provide free movement between the bones they join. They are encapsulated by ligaments and contain a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid.

Research over many years has tried to answer the question - 'What causes the crack?' It has been shown in various studies that there is a sudden change in the pressure within a joint when it is stretched. When a chiropractor 'adjusts' a joint, the joint is essentially being stretched very quickly. This rapid stretch and the resulting pressure change within the joint capsule (because there is suddenly more space inside the adjusted joint) appears to cause gas which was previously dissolved within the synovial fluid, to vapourize to fill the increased joint space. The 'crack' (sometimes called an audible release) seems to be associated with this process. The vapourized gas remains contained within the the joint capsule and will be slowly resorbed back into the synovial fluid over a period of 20-30 minutes. During this time it is unlikely that the joint will crack again.

Investigations into the safety of cracking joints have looked at the effects of habitual knuckle cracking. They did not find any increase in the incidence of osteoarthritis in the hands. It appears that very frequent knuckle cracking does reduce grip strength. It has also been shown that spinal manipulation that results in an audible release can lead to greater muscle relaxation than manipulation that does not prouce a crack. Pain reduction after an adjustment however does not seem to be dependent on there being an audible pop.

So what does all this mean? Firstly it suggests that cracking or popping joints need not be feared. It is a common occurrence that doesn't only take place when a chiropractor adjusts a joint but can happen spontaneously when joints are stretched. Secondly, the evidence does not link it with arthritis. Finally, there does not necessarily need to be a click when a joint is adjusted in order for a pain reduction to occur.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Chiropractic Manipulation Benefits Back Pain Sufferers

A study has just been published in the medical journal Spine titled 'Adding chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute low back pain: the results of a pragmatic randomized comparative study'. It compared outcomes of acute low back pain patients treated either with standard medical care (consisting of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, education about self management, physical therapy and referral to a pain clinic) with patients treated with standard medical care plus chiropractic manipulative therapy (consisting of spinal manipulation and ancillary treatments as indicated, performed by a chiropractor).

At 2 and 4 week follow-up the patients treated with chiropractic manipulation combined with standard medical care reported significantly less disability and pain than did those who received standard medical care alone.

73% of patients in the group which included chiropractric manipulation reported that their pain was either completely gone, much better or moderately better. The figure was 17% in the standard medical care only group.

Finally, the group whose treatment also included chiropractic manipulation had higher satisfaction ratings of 8.9 compared with 5.4 (on an 11 point numerical rating scale) in the standard medical care only group, at 4 week follow-up.

The study does have some limitations (slightly disappointing follow-up rates especially in the standard medical care group; participants and clinicians were not able to be blinded to treatment group assignment) however the overall take home message seems to be that chiropractic treatment for patients with acute low back pain can significantly improve outcomes compared to standard medical treatment alone.

I treat a lot of back pain in my practice and this study supports what I see day to day. It also correlates with the recommendations in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines published in 2009 (page 6-7) regarding the treatment of recurrent or persistant back pain.

Chiropractic spinal manipulation may be the missing link in your recovery from back pain!

Thursday 13 June 2013


A national newspaper last week reported on a study that found  'Badly set up desks and chairs cost companies more than £7 billion a year in sick pay'. I see patients very regularly who are suffering with neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and back pain. Many of them do not remember a single incident which caused these problems. Further questioning will often reveal that they sit at a desk most of the day. Then in the evening they sit on the sofa with a laptop on their lap for another hour or two. Such a lifestyle can be a recipe for problems.

As you may have seen in some guest posts written for this blog by Carys over the past few weeks, we've just invested in a treadmill desk, which we bought from Gym World. Carys uses it for several hours, most days of the week, as she gets on with her writing. She thinks it's great. A big advantage of working at a treadmill desk is that you are not sat still for what sometimes turns out to be hours at a time. Prolonged sitting at a desk can put a lot of stain on the lower back. I don't believe we were designed to sit nearly as much as many of us do.

Our treadmill desk is set up for Carys to use. The desk height is set so that her elbows are almost bent at right angles. This means her wrists rest comfortably on the foam rubber wrist pad on the front edge of the desk while she's typing. We raised the monitor by placing two reams of paper under it so that it is now just slightly lower than her eye-line. A little further adjustment may still be needed. Having the monitor and desk at the correct height is critical as it can significantly reduce the strain on the neck and shoulders, and lower back. Getting these factors (the ergonomics) right is really important.

When I use the desk I have to adjust the height. I need it to be at least two or three settings higher than Carys because I am several inches taller than she is. This can be done by one person, but is more easily accomplished by two people. The desk is sturdy and heavy, so making the adjustment is a bit of a hassle. If I was planning to use the desk more regularly I would be considering upgrading to the desk which has electronic height adjustment. I would strongly recommend this option for anyone planning to use a treadmill desk in an office where it would have several users - a hot-desk.

The above mentioned report also found that 'Half of office workers say they've had no work station risk assessment in the last 12 months'. Employers should perform these assessments so employees need not be afraid to ask for them. There are also some useful self help guides on-line to assist you in setting up your own work station. I like this one produced by Boston University.

Laptops are a very practical computing solution for many due to their portability. They can however pose some real ergonomic problems. On a desk or table top the screen is likely to be too low and when placed on a higher surface the keyboard will probably be too high. When used on the lap, upper body posture is usually horribly rounded. Neck and shoulder pain and associated headaches are common consequences. The use of a laptop stand, an external keyboard and mouse and separate monitor can all help. I like the pointers this video clip provides for various situations in which a laptop may be used. You can also look at the Open Ergonomics illustrations produced by Loughborough University for further detailed set up advice.

Finally, if you're still experiencing pain, get in touch and I'll do my best to help you.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Book Prescriptions

Today I learned that in some areas of the UK the NHS is providing Book Prescriptions. It is a scheme that aims to help people with mild or moderate emotional problems to make use of high quality self-help books. It has proved to be very successful. GPs and other health professionals recommend/prescribe a therapy book which the patient can then go and borrow from the library. Through reading the book patients are better able to understand their problems and learn more about possible strategies they can employ to help themselves. This is good as it helps the patient feel more engaged and committed to the process of getting better.

This principle is also very relevant to chiropractic care. I encourage patients to get involved in their own care because getting better and improving health is a partnership. I provide some hands-on treatment at the clinic and then I send patients away to do some things to help themselves. I may ask them to do something simple, such as take a 20 minute walk each day or wrap a tea towel around an ice pack and apply it to the painful area for 10 minutes every few hours.

Sometimes I also recommend that a patient read a book, or a chapter of a book. I usually suggest the patient buys the book but occasionally I lend patients my own copies. Books I have recently recommended/prescribed are:

The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your ShoesThe Barefoot Book by Daniel Howell
Trigger Point Therapy for Myofacsial Pain by Donna Finando
Back Care Basics by Mary Pullig Schatz
Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie

Let me know if you can think of others I should consider.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Back Pain Breakthrough - Update

Over the past couple of weeks, as I've had conversations with some patients about the recently released research regarding the use of antibiotics to help some forms of back pain (see earlier blog post), I've encountered some recurring questions. Patients wanted to ask about concerns over the long course of antibiotics required to get results in the study and antibiotic resistance. They also had questions about the quality of the research. Some were also surprised that I would openly talk to them about a back pain treatment that might result in less patients requiring treatment from chiropractors.

It seems to me that concerns over long courses of antibiotic used for treating any condition are real. Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem. There are serious concerns about how long it will be before antibiotics are no longer effective for many common ailments. I suspect those with chronic, severe pain will be willing to take their chances if such treatment becomes openly available. Over time, if antibiotic resistance continues to develop, this treatment option may not be viable.

I was interested to read a review of this new research on the NHS Choices website. The article was generally complimentary about the quality of the study. It did however raise some questions about the impartiality of a neurosurgeon who has been quoted in much of the popular media in connection with this study. The emphasis now seems to be that further research is required to test the reliability and potential scope of this treatment protocol.

I will continue to talk openly with my patients about this topic. My aim is to help people recover from back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. It seems to me that the type of patients who may benefit from antibiotic treatment, are patients who are less likely to make good progress with standard chiropractic treatment and if there is another potentially more effective treatment option available, I will be very happy to recommend it.

Finally, if you are interested in reading the research in full click here.

Monday 20 May 2013

Guest Post: Treadmill desk update

I'm still walking as I work. It's a bit addictive to be honest and it's starting to feel odd when I sit down. The walking doesn't seem to require any extra thought and it's really easy to concentrate on other things while my feet move. 

One of the great things about the desk space is it's big enough to hold huge piles of student essays, stories and a rather odd PC solution (while I decide what to do about my ancient, but very much loved laptop). I've got a monitor propped up on packs of A4 paper so it's at eye level which works well (there's probably a more aesthetically pleasing solution, but I'm quite happy with it like this).

I've walked more than 40 miles in the past 3 weeks. I had expected the total to be higher and I think it may have something to do with the amount of time I've spent reading and marking student work - I found I needed to walk really slowly as I did this, sometimes at 0.5 mph - perhaps slower speeds are necessary for contemplation.  

Now that I'm back to editing my novel a steady 1.4 mph seems to be working pretty well and I take back what I said previously about not being able to eat or drink while walking - it's actually pretty easy (although probably not recommended).

The children love the desk, too. They like to take it in turns to use it for homework - and anything that makes homework more enjoyable gets a massive thumbs up from me.


Sunday 12 May 2013

Back Pain Breakthrough

The European Spine Journal has just published a new piece of research which may prove to be a breakthrough for sufferers of some types of chronic low back pain. The type of person who may benefit from this breakthrough is one who has experienced a disc herniation, often referred to as a 'slipped disc'.

It has been observed that on MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans individuals who have disc herniations will also often have changes in the appearance of the bone in the adjacent vertebrae. These changes are described as modic changes. The cause of these vertebral changes has until recently been unclear, however it is now thought that they are caused by a low grade bacterial infection within the spine.

This new research (a double blind RCT) investigated the effect of a 100 day course of antibiotic treatment for patients suffering with low back pain of greater than 6 months duration. These subjects had confirmed disc herniation and vertebral modic changes on MRI scans. The results showed that the group treated with antibiotics had a highly significantly greater reduction in back pain and back pain related disability at 1 year follow-up when compared with the control group who took the placebo.

In my chiropractic practice I certainly see some patients who may benefit from this new treatment. I don't as yet know how the national health service here in the UK will respond to this new research. It appears that there may already be some private options for those keen to investigate this further.

It should be noted that this treatment is not for all chronic back pain patients. Back pain is common; said to affect 80% of people at some point in their lives and nearly 50% of people are likely to have an episode of back pain at some point this year. This new treatment looks most likely to help those with severe, chronic back pain following a disc herniation confirmed by MRI.

Chiropractic continues to be well positioned to help treat simple or mechanical low back pain as outlined in 2009 NICE Guidelines. I am however excited by this new research as it may provide a new and effective avenue to help some sufferers of back pain.

Monday 6 May 2013

Finding My Feet

A few years ago a good friend of mine took the bold decision to live a barefoot lifestyle. Steve Bloor of Natural Feet is bio-mechanical podiatrist with a particular interest in foot and lower limb mechanics. He was instrumental in the development of a barefoot trail created by the National Trust and also runs a weekly barefoot walking group. Following conversations with Steve I decided to try out some barefoot activities for myself. I read 'The Barefoot Book - 50 Great Reasons To Kick Off Your Shoes'. It reminded me how important proper foot function is to the ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and spine. I learned that removing the artificially flat, smooth cast of a shoe improves proprioception (the ability of the body to know exactly what position and where the limbs are relative to the rest of the body).

For about a year now I've been experimenting with a little barefoot running and walking. Last Autumn I attended a workshop run by Anna Toombs and David Robinson from Barefoot Running UK. They evaluated my shod running style and then taught, evaluated and corrected my barefoot running technique. Thanks to my training as a chiropractor much of the theoretical instruction was just revision, however I came away realising that running in shoes and running barefoot are quite different activities. When running barefoot, strides are shorter and faster, knee lift is higher, the feet strike the ground fairly flatly and are directly under the hip when ground contact is made. You also run with very light steps.

The past winter has felt very long and cold and I've not been inclined to brave the world while barefoot on more than the odd occasion. Spring finally seemed to arrive in Liverpool two or three weeks ago, so since then I've put my 'best (barefoot) foot forward' and got out for some barefoot walking and running at least a couple of times each week.

Yesterday was the 2013 International Barefoot Running Day. Official events were organised in countries all over the world. The UK event was held in Brighton. Unfortunately the distance between Liverpool and Brighton is over 270 miles, so it was impractical to join the official UK event. A small group of keen 'athletes' joined me for our own local event around Hesketh Park in Southport. We ran a refreshing 2km around the circumference of the park on the wonderfully smooth  and forgiving surface of quarry tiles. Thanks to those who joined me in our little local Barefoot Running Day. My appreciation also goes out to Steve, Anna and David for their invaluable instruction, which has helped me find my feet again.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Guest post: Just Keep Walking

The treadmill desk arrived on Friday evening. It's pretty big and we had to rearrange the lounge in order to fit it in. We decided to put it in the window so I've got something to look at when I'm not looking at the screen.

Minor Issues:

When I first tried to work on the treadmill on Friday evening, the desk was a little wobbly. We tightened the nuts with a socket wrench and now it's great.

I think I probably need to adjust the desk to make it a little higher, but it's quite heavy and I need to get someone to do it with me (Neil did this last night - I think it will probably need to go a bit higher so I'm not looking down all day).

I don't have Bluetooth on my phone or laptop so I can't access the online stuff which sounds great (stats, exercise plans etc.). I'm not too bothered about this at the moment as I can write down how far I've walked and how much time I've spent walking at the end of each day.

Things I've learned:

It's very easy to walk while typing/marking essays/messing about on the internet/talking on the phone.

Different tasks seem to work with different walking speeds. 1 mph is about right for editing and typing.  

Good stuff:

The desk itself is pretty big so there's loads of room for piles of marking and/or books and files etc. 

It's much easier to walk than it is to stand still, so even if I'm just checking my emails or messing about on Facebook for 10 minutes, I switch the treadmill on.

I've walked more than 20 miles since Friday evening and my calves are zinging (in a good way).

I can see that if I just stop eating so much chocolate it's going to be a great way to lose weight. Plus, while it's easy to walk and type, it's actually quite hard to walk and eat and/or drink (yes, I've tried both).

The treadmill goes up to 4 mph which, if you've got legs as short as mine, is a jog, so there's scope to go a bit faster at times.


Friday 19 April 2013

Guest Blog: Treadmill Desks

I'm Neil's wife and I'm a writer. I spend hours and hours sitting down. I haven't exercised properly for ages. I know I should get up earlier; I should take a break in the middle of the day and go for a walk; I should go out running once the kids are in bed - I should do lots of things, but I don't.

I know exercise has been shown to help low back pain and that walking is good for heart health. I've read things like this Telegraph article which discusses the benefits of walking for an hour a day for elderly people and the American Heart Association study which has found walking to be as effective as running (if one expends the same amount of energy). I've looked at research that shows walking 10,000 steps a day will significantly improve health, build stamina, burn calories and benefit the heart, but I still don't exercise.

Neil recently told me about treadmill desks (can you see where this is going?). He said he'd be interested in discovering more about them, but he needed to find someone who sits at a desk all day and doesn't do any exercise at all. He didn't have to look far. Guess who's trialing the treadmill desk? 

We went to Gym World in Oldham this week and had a look at a desk. Neil was impressed (I was too - it turns out I can type AND walk at the same time) and we're taking delivery of a one next week. I will be blogging about the desk here and over at my own blog

I'm off now, until next time, when I will be righteously exercising while typing, rather than sitting on the sofa, trying not to drop the hundreds and thousands from my Nobbly Bobbly between the laptop keys.