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Fort Wayne entrepreneur designs, builds and sells treadmill desks worldwide

More Information

Sample of products:
Executive 2.0 Treadmill Desk with treadmill - $3,990
Glide 1000 with treadmill - $2,990
DZ9500 with treadmill - $2,195

More Americans are finding ways to stay active at work

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 8:08 am

Stuck sitting in your cubicle for hours? Tied to your desk at work with no time to work out? Now office workers have a solution to the sedentary work lifestyle.

As a growing number of Americans are trying to find ways to increase productivity at work while pursuing a healthy lifestyle, a Fort Wayne treadmill desk designer is seeing a spike in business.

Dave Novak is the owner of Champion Products – a one-man business. Alone, Novak has designed, built and sold treadmill desks to clients around the world since 2009.

Treadmill desks designed for the workplace are normally set to move at 1 to 2 mph, which is enough to get the heart rate up but not too fast to distract from working comfortably.

Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, told The Associated Press that it's been a decade since scientific studies began to show that too much sitting can lead to obesity and increase the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Even going to the gym three times a week doesn't offset the harm of being sedentary for hours at a time.

"There's a glob of information that sitting is killing us," Levine said. "You're basically sitting yourself into a coffin.”

More companies are intrigued by the idea of helping employees stay healthy, lose weight and reduce stress — especially if it means lower insurance costs and higher productivity, said Levine, an enthusiastic supporter of the moving workstations.

"Even walking at 1 mile an hour has very substantial benefits," Levine said, such as doubling metabolic rate and improving blood sugar levels. "Although you don't sweat, your body moving is sort of purring along."

Novak said business has nearly tripled since he first opened four years ago. He boasts a long list of clients including Mike Packnett, president and CEO of Parkview Health; NASCAR; General Electric; Intel Corp.; the University of Notre Dame; Ohio State and many more.

Packnett said he tends to go from one meeting to another, so when the schedule allows, it's great for him to be able to just stand at the desk and catch up on calls or emails while walking at a slow speed on the treadmill.

"It makes a big difference in my day!" he said.

Novak said, “The popularity has grown so much. Now, large corporations are calling wanting multiple. The idea has become more accepted."

There's a variety of desks available in a slew of different rich woods and stains ranging from mahogany to maple. For the desks, prices are from around $1,300 to $3,200.

Customers also have options for the type of treadmill, which vary depending on type of use and frequency. The treadmills range from about $800 to $1,300.

The desks are equipped with hydraulic lift that raises and lowers the desk as well as to a monitor that records steps, calories and more. All desks include an emergency stop for safety reasons.

Tammy Glaum, of Elkhart, is a customer of Novak's. As an office manager at United Roll Forming factory, she spends much of the day sitting until two years ago when she bought a treadmill desk.

“You know, I thought, if I can do (a) workout while I am at work, it will be beneficial to me. You don't always have the time in the evening, sometimes the family is busy, so it can be tough to work out,” she said.

After working with Novak, Glaum decided on the Signature WS300 treadmill because she needed a quiet model, and something compact to fit in her office.

She said she started slow, not knowing how her coordination would be, but it was a quick adjustment.

Novak said he likes to work with clients on a one-on-one basis to match people with the best desk and the best style. He will often create custom products as well. With a background in art with a degree from the Art Institute of Phoenix, he has a keen eye for detail.

“There are some other products out there, but nothing like this. People can come and sit in your office and they don't suspect that with a push of a button the desk can rise up,” he said. “I designed everything myself, from the ground up. It's all motivation and hard work. You have to understand what looks good and what feels good.”

For more information on the products visit: SignatureTreadmillDesks.com or TreadmillDeskInc.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.