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Desk treadmills fight weight gain
HIF Managing Director Graeme Gibson, left, with Anne Humphrey on one of the treadmills. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian

A Perth workplace has become one of the first to install workstations where staff can stand up or take a brisk walk to help keep off the weight.

In an anti-obesity measure, health insurer HIF has included 16 stand-up workstations and two treadmill stations in its new corporate headquarters in Stirling Street where about 60 staff work.

The stand-up workstations and the walking workstations, which are slow-moving treadmills that fit under a height-adjustable desk, are aimed at encouraging staff to be more active and lessen the downside of sitting at a desk all day.

Recent studies have highlighted the health risks from sitting at a desk for hours, even in people who get regular exercise away from work. HIF managing director Graeme Gibson said the workstations were a way for workers to "hit the ground running".

"We've been keeping an eye on the latest office technology and what we wanted to do is give our staff a choice, where you can work sitting down, standing up or you can exercise while you work," he said.

"More evidence is emerging on just how detrimental sitting for long periods is to your overall health, but in today's fast-paced society we need to be working on our computers for most of our day and so it's a necessary evil."

Mr Gibson said people could decide on a gentle stroll or a brisk walk. It would particularly help time-poor parents of young children who often struggled to fit in physical activity outside work.