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Health Check: North Memorial tests out treadmill desks

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Published on Apr 30, 2013

An on-site workout facility is one of the perks offered to North Memorial employees.

"We're open 24/7 and it's open access, we do personal training down here," said Julie Lother, North Memorial's fitness center director.

Yet even with a gym readily available to the staff, making it there is still easier said than done.

"I know a lot of people have busy schedules before work, after work, picking up kids," Lother said.

In Lother's mind, a little movement is better than no movement at all, which is why she has some North Memorial employees testing out treadmill desks.

"Well, I try to use it 2--3 times a week," said Lisa Minshull, a North Memorial employee.

Minshull, who works in the HR department, is one of the guinea pigs.

"I just felt that it was something I wanted to try," she said.

She has to spend most of her work day in front of a computer, but now several times a week, Minshull goes to the treadmill desk in her office and spends up to 90 minutes moving her body at a pace of about two miles an hour. As she walks on the treadmill, she's able to work at the same time.

"Once you get the feel for moving your hands and walking on this 'tread desk,' it's easier to multi-task and you're not consciously thinking about your feet moving, you're focused on your work," Minshull said.

However, Lother stresses that the activity on a tread desk should not take the place of a full workout.

"This is just to add a little bit more movement into your day," she said. "We want them to come down and workout in our fitness center."

Lother hopes the tread desks act as a motivational tool to bring more people down to the fitness center.

"Yeah it's working great," she said about the desks. "They love it."

North Memorial currently has four tread desks as part of its pilot program, but officials there say the program has been successful, so more are on the way.

Delane Cleveland

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12 News is on Comcast cable channel 12 in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.

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