Walk and study at the same time? Why not?

NHTI student Derek White takes the new treadmill desks for a spin last week.  TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
NHTI student Derek White takes the new treadmill desks for a spin last week. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
NHTI student Derek White takes the new treadmill desks for a spin last week.  TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
NHTI student Derek White takes the new treadmill desks for a spin last week. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff

In this crazy, busy world we live in, it can be quite a challenge to fit everything into a given day.

There are certain things that must take place – eating, sleeping, (hopefully) showering, and if you’re a college student, studying.

Add all of that up and that’s one long day. So unfortunately, one important piece of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising, can easily get pushed to the side.

But NHTI is doing its part to help give the school community the best of both worlds. Just last week, the library unveiled its new treadmill desks for students, faculty and staff to use.

That’s right, you can read a book, type a paper or research just about anything you’d like while getting your steps in.

“They can do a light workout and study,” said Steve Ambra, director of the NHTI Library.

But this isn’t like the treadmills you’ll find at your local fitness center. These only reach speeds of two miles an hour, and can be adjusted at a tenth of a mile increments.

“Sometimes students spend six to eight hours in the library and this allows them to get up and move a bit,” said librarian Sarah Hebert. “It may not seem like much, but it feels like a lot when you’re reading or typing.”

Because let’s face it, nobody wants to be sprinting while trying to read War and Peace. Not that it could be in the slightest bit possible anyway.

“Two miles an hour is a reasonable speed where you can still study, research or type,” Ambra said.

The goal is to get people moving during an activity that has historically been done sitting down.

“People walk around and text and this is much safer,” Hebert said.

One of the treadmills is attached to a standard desk, while the other has one of those standup desks that are all the rave in the workplace these days. The library also added a standup desk where you don’t have to continually walk to use.

The idea came out of a request in the suggestion box for standup desks and then morphed into adding the treadmill component.

Hebert had heard of other libraries using this combination and after doing her own research and asking around, it seemed like a good fit, especially under the school’s academics and fitness initiative.

“As far as we know, we’re the only college in New Hampshire that has this sort of fitness in the library,” Ambra said.

And thanks to a grant from EBSCO, a research and periodical database used by NHTI, it happened a lot faster than if they had to seek funding through the school budget. And it wasn’t a hard sell since EBSCO has treadmill desks in their Ipswich, Mass. offices.

“In the workplace, it seems to work really well,” Ambra said.

The new study area did replace a couple of tables that were used for the same purpose, but don’t worry, because those were moved to another spot in the library, so no learning space was lost.

And you get a great view of all the library’s dictionaries.

Right now the desks are in the experimental phase. Users must sign a waiver, and there might be a sign up sheet and time limit depending on popularity.

And you better believe it will be a primary stop for campus tours.

“We like to think outside the box and provide resources for students to create their own learning environments,” Ambra said.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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