Should the state buy treadmill desks for employees?

Should the state buy treadmill desks for employees? »Play Video
Reporter Hillary Lake takes a treadmill desk for a spin.

SALEM, Ore. – Finding time for exercise can be a challenge, so working in some movement during the work day is probably a good idea for many people.

Some folks have turned to treadmill desks to help get in shape. It’s an office desk with a treadmill built in so you can walk and work at the same time.

State Rep. Jim Thompson likes the ideas of treadmill desks so much that he introduced a house bill to get some of the moving desks for state workers.

“It gets people out of their chairs,” Thompson said. “There’s pretty good evidence sitting all day is bad for your health.”

The proposal calls for spending $50,000 to test out treadmill desks with a handful of employees who otherwise would sit at their desk for at least six hours a day. The state would then track their weight, blood pressure and other health numbers over two years.

At that point, the legislature could decide if the desks would be available to all state workers.

Thompson thinks the state could actually lower its health care costs for employees, although taxpayers would be on the hook for the initial costs of the treadmills.

“If we can change the health spectrum for state workers then we can save money on health care,” he said. “That’s exactly what we set out to do.”

The treadmill desks cost about $500, which Thompson said is actually cheaper than some of the desks state employees currently use.

Right now the bill is with the House Ways and Means committee. It’s not a priority for this legislature, so the bill has some work ahead of it before it becomes a law.

We spoke with a few Oregonians on Thursday who liked the idea but balked at the cost.

“That seems a little excessive just to start with,” said Kelley Caspari. She added, however, that she likes the overall idea.

“I like the idea, but if there’s a way you could make even more desks and bring the costs down I think it could be better,” said Roxanne Patruznick.

What do you think about the state potentially buying treadmill desks? Leave a comment below.