In the realm of fitness and wellness trends, novel approaches frequently emerge, from innovative workout classes to diverse dietary regimens. However, the time-honored practice of walking has recently regained attention as an effective, low-impact option for overall fitness. Yet, as the winter months set in, the motivation to bundle up and venture outside for a stroll diminishes, especially considering the challenge of fitting it into a hectic schedule. Enter the latest wellness trend: walking pads.
Also known as folding or under-desk treadmills, walking pads present a more compact alternative to standard treadmills. They are primarily tailored for walking, omitting the high-speed running capability and incline features often seen in regular treadmills. These pads commonly lack handles or rails, designed to fit snugly under standing desks, displaying step counts and time metrics on an embedded screen.
Their portability stands out as a key feature—some models are equipped with wheels, while others are foldable or slim enough to slide under a desk or couch, making them ideal for home use, conserving space.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, walking pads gained popularity when gyms closed and people spent more time indoors. They suit those working from home and even individuals returning to office settings, offering a convenient way to incorporate physical activity into daily routines—whether before the day starts, during leisure activities like Netflix, or after work.
Advocates of walking pads highlight their efficiency in boosting activity levels while engaged in various tasks like working, watching TV, scrolling through phones, or reading. The convenience they offer has helped individuals achieve step goals seamlessly amidst busy schedules.
Furthermore, walking pads emerge as a suitable option during inclement weather when outdoor walks might be less feasible. They contribute to physical well-being and, by enhancing movement, can positively impact mental health, improving mood, productivity, and mental clarity throughout the day.
However, experts advise against intricate walking workouts while using these pads, as users are often multitasking. Instead, they recommend starting at a comfortable pace and gradually increasing speed or incorporating intervals for a more dynamic routine. Setting achievable daily step goals or active minutes per week while using fitness trackers helps in tracking progress effectively.
While walking pads are generally considered accessible and user-friendly, experts caution potential users to consider factors like balance issues, weight limits, tread dimensions, sound levels, portability, budget, and intended usage (especially for running purposes) before purchasing.
Despite their convenience, experts unanimously stress the importance of outdoor walks for mental health benefits and recommend balancing walking pad usage with outdoor activities whenever possible. Taking breaks from screens and seeking fresh air outdoors remain integral for overall well-being.