By Deanna C. White
Last January, AccountingWEB had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Mayhak – a fitness pioneer in the accounting profession who decided to break away from her desk without breaking away from the office by using a TrekDesk to shatter her sedentary lifestyle and the health risks associated with it.
According to Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks
, the TrekDesk, allows employees to walk slowly while they work. Designed to fit any treadmill, the TrekDesk is a full-size workstation, complete with a manuscript holder, a three-level file holder, a top stand to hold miscellaneous items like telephones and headsets, and two cup holders.
The TrekDesk allows individuals to reap the myriad benefits of a lifestyle in motion, Bordley says, including weight loss, disease prevention, health restoration, mood improvement, and increased productivity – in short, a total overhaul of an individual's mental and physical well-being.
TrekDesk's Popularity Is Growing
Cindy Mayhak wasn't the only one who made great strides trekking her way through 2012. Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks, said 2012 was a banner year for the company as well. The biggest change: how dramatically the rate of acceptance of the TrekDesk has accelerated. Here are some of the highlights of the past year:
- TrekDesk users are popularizing the idea of walking slowly at work because people around them see the positive results.
- TrekDesk remains a "grassroots movement revolution" where single employees who are early adopters prove the concept to the business.
- Converts, like Mayhak, are evangelical in their zeal for the health benefits of walking while working.
- Other users have not only proven the concept to their companies but have taken the initiative to start their own movements. After seeing one employee's dramatic results, One Filters Fast in Monroe, North Carolina, bought nine TrekDesks for the office.
- A contest started by Filters Fast has expanded into a partnership called W3. W3 donates miles walked to WinetoWater.org, an aid organization focused on providing clean water to needy people around the world.
- The TrekDesk movement has garnered a flood of media interest this past year, including appearances on the Steve Harvey Show and the TODAY show (with Jenna Bush).
- Bordley says National Geographic will air a health special in the near future featuring the TrekDesk.
- A fall release television sitcom will have TrekDesks featured prominently in their offices.
When we first spoke to Mayhak
, a job cost accountant with Paul Davis Restoration in Vancouver, Washington, she was using the TrekDesk eight hours a day as her permanent workstation. For the working mother who was juggling the grueling schedule of tax season, raising three children, and a thirty-mile commute to work, the TrekDesk was the perfect – and only – way to fit fitness into her busy schedule.
At the time, Mayhak had set impressive fitness goals for herself. She had already lost thirty-two pounds using the TrekDesk and had walked 692 miles in 2011. In 2012, she planned to log 1,250 miles on her treadmill by December 31, averaging five miles a day, every Monday through Friday.
Her coworkers spurred her on by charting her miles on an imaginary trip to Mexico.
But, as many of us know, the most well-intentioned exercise machines we purchase in January often end up as expensive and neglected "laundry hangers," or in this case, potted plant stands, by spring.
So AccountingWEB decided to check back in with Mayhak a little more than a year after we first spoke to her to ask her a few pertinent questions. Did she ever make it to her virtual destination of Baja, Mexico? What did her year of trekking do for her health and well-being? And, the million dollar question . . .
Is she still using the TrekDesk?
Here's what Mayhak had to say.
AccountingWEB: Cindy, let's get the big question out of the way . . . are you still a "trekkie"?
Mayhak: Yes, I'm still using the TrekDesk as my only desk. I'm standing at it or walking at it 100 percent of my workday.
AccountingWEB: We were wondering if you met your mileage goal for last year – 1,250 miles – and if you ever made it to your "destination" in Mexico?
Mayhak: I made it a total of 1,165 miles, a bit short of what I'd hoped for, but definitely into Mexico on a virtual walk. Coming a bit short of my goal was a product of my job responsibility changing and having me outside of the office for a lot more of my workday for a few months.
AccountingWEB: What physical improvements, i.e., weight loss, disease prevention, etc. have you experienced since you first began using the TrekDesk in 2011 and in 2012 in particular?
Mayhak: I've lost fifty-five pounds over the last two years and feel that standing/walking at my TrekDesk has allowed me to maintain that loss without doing much else for exercise outside of my work walking. I'm also able to maintain a good base of fitness that allows me to go outside and walk 5ks, 10ks, and half marathon distances without much training at all and no ill effects on my body.
AccountingWEB: How has using the TrekDesk improved your mood and work performance?
Mayhak: When I'm able to get into a groove (without other work interruptions) and walk, I feel so productive and get so much accomplished. The TrekDesk provides exercise, work, concentration, and complete focus. What more could I ask for?
AccountingWEB: Did you ever consider chucking the TrekDesk for an actual desk?
Mayhak: No way! Sitting makes my body hurt. Standing or walking is the only way to go for me!
AccountingWEB: Have any friends or coworkers been inspired to sign on as "Trekkies" after seeing your example?
Mayhak: No, but I believe other people have become more active because they see my dedication to trying to fit in movement whenever I can.
AccountingWEB: What would you say to anyone who might avoid using the TrekDesk because they fear it will be too difficult to adjust to walking while working?
Mayhak: I was worried about the same thing at first, but if you start out slow, one mile per hour, get used to that and then work your way up to walking faster. It really is simple. There's always the ability to make adjustments later down the line as well. I recently adjusted down to 1.8 mph for more control. I would tell anyone who is worried to just try it out. They might be surprised!
AccountingWEB: What in your work environment made it possible for you to use the TrekDesk? And how would you advise others who are trying to convince their managers or bosses that this is a "plus" for the office?
Mayhak: When I won the TrekDesk, it was perfect timing because I'd just been given an empty office to use. I told my boss I didn't want my old desk; I wanted to use the TrekDesk. He was very supportive but kept questioning me about my choice. Over time, he has seen that when I'm walking, I'm "in the zone," working and getting things done with more concentration than when I'm sitting.
I would suggest that others tell their managers this is a "plus" because it increases worker productivity and worker fitness.
AccountingWEB: Can you tell me how life would be different, both physically and emotionally, if you weren't using the TrekDesk?
Mayhak: If I weren't using the Trekdesk I'd be sore, depressed, and about twenty pounds heavier, if not more. I'd be sore from sitting all day; depressed from not getting enough exercise in my day; and at least twenty pounds heavier because I'd be consuming more snacks while sitting at a traditional desk, while not burning any calories.
I say TrekDesk now and forever for me at work! It's not a fad - it's a lifestyle change for me!
AccountingWEB: Do you imagine that you'll always use the TrekDesk at work?
Mayhak: Yes, I can always see using the TrekDesk. I don't know that I could work any other way. I even picked up a second used TrekDesk to be able to have in my exercise room at home, and I use it when I have the opportunity to work from home.