University of Regina students can now head to the library if they want to spend some time working out.

The Archer Library is the new home to two walking treadmills that can be used while reading, writing and working on the computer.

“Physical activity is so important for mental health (and) to reduce health risks,” said Karen Fahlman, who donated the pair of treadmills to the university.

Fahlman spent 11 years as the manager of the Lifestyle and Fitness Centre. She used one of the treadmills in her office for five years and donated it to the campus when she retired last year.

“Sitting all day used to really bother me,” Fahlman said. “I put miles and miles and miles on (the treadmill).”

She purchased and donated the second treadmill using money left in her professional fund.

“Even a little bit, like reading an article or working on a report on your laptop on the walking treadmills, would help the students’ overall health,” Fahlman added.

The treadmills can only go a maximum of six kilometres per hour. Students can adjust the speed to make sure they can walk and study at the same time.”

“It takes a little bit more concentration,” Fahlman said. “But, it doesn’t take that long to get used to it.”

Canadian physical activity guidelines recommend adults exercise for about 150 minutes each week. But, according to Statistics Canada, only 20 per cent reach that threshold.

“We are so much built now on a modern workplace culture that we are meant to sit and work at a computer,” said Kendall Longtin, community relations specialist at Saskatchewan in Motion.

“Any time that we can build a little bit more physical activity, it allows us to really work our body while we’re working our mind.”

Longtin points to a direct link between physical activity and brain power while studying.

“They have the opportunity to absorb that information and to study harder,” Longtin said.

The treadmills were installed about a month ago and Fahlman is looking forward to watching their popularity grow.

“My hope would be that they’re used all the time, so much so that they think ‘yeah, this is a great idea and we need to get a few more,’” she said.

Students can book the treadmills online and through the library helpdesk.