Bill Bryson, walking, and a treadmill desk

In Walk in the Woods, travel writer Bill Bryson's classic account of his attempt to walk the 3500-kilometre Appalachian Trail in the US, he slowly develops a deep appreciation for walking, praising both its health and fitness benefits as well as the shifts in mindset that occur when we "take the world on foot".

At Walk & Work, we're obviously huge fans of walking (and Bryson). Though we can't get onto Cape Town's forest or mountain trails every day, we do our best to keep our office-bound hours active by regularly stepping onto our treadmill desks. Walking at a speed of about 1.8 km/hr allows you to comfortably type, write, read and make phone calls - and you reportedly burn twice as many calories as you would sitting.

But those couple of hours a day at a treadmill workstation are also a tonic for the mind. We find we feel more positive and energised in the working week and are therefore more productive. In fact, a study by Robert Thayer, professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, shows that the more people walk each day, the better they feel. "We found that there was a clear and strong relationship between the number of steps they took and their overall mood and energy level," says Thayer in an interview for the university's online publication.

Would Bryson enjoy writing his next book on a treadmill desk? We can't help but wonder. But for now, we leave you with this:

“Walking for hours and miles becomes as automatic, as unremarkable, as breathing. At the end of the day you don't think, 'Hey, I did sixteen miles today,' any more than you think, 'Hey, I took eight-thousand breaths today.' It's just what you do.“ Bill Bryson, Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Anchor Publishing).

Curious about the office treadmill desk? Get in touch with Walk & Work founder Jan Folmer on Or pop in to our showroom at 3 St. George's Mall, 505 The Colosseum, Cape Town and try the treadmill desk for free! To make an appointment, call 021 012 5999 or 010 312 5999.

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