Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Treadmill Desk

What: Treadmill Desk
Where: Home Office
When: Every Chance I get
Who: Just me
Why: Is sitting to much slowly killing me?

24 hours in a day...how many of those hours do I spend moving? 6-8 hours of sleeping, 1 hour commuting to work/datacenters, 6-8 hours sitting at the office, 1 hour sitting at lunch, 1 hour sitting helping kids with homework, an hour or 2 watching tv or reading, 30 minutes sitting during dinner...really averaging 20-24 hours not really active.

...even if you get a good run or workout in during the day, does it make up for 18-20 hours of not moving around? Last April after an ultra-marathon IT Support session for several days...caffiene and sitting,  I noticed that I was having some hamstring pain where my legs were sitting on the chair. It became bad enough that I was unable to sit on any chair comfortably for more than 15 or 20 minutes...and has continued to today...almost a year later. I tried purchasing several expensive chairs for the home office but nothing seemed to work.

I started doing a little research and found this article by the NYT "Is Sitting Really A Lethal Activity?"
Yes, I steal pictures from the web...but this one was cool...and makes the point.

So after reading the article and thinking about all the sitting I had been doing, I remembered that a good friend of mine had built a treadmill desk. I talked with him, took some pictures of his...then built version 1.0. (Purchased a SOLE F83 off Craigs list as my treadmill...a decent one knowing that I would be wanting to use is several hours daily...definitely not a requirement.)

Treadmill Desk 1.0 - Materials List (construction foam, shelving board, gorilla glue.)

Simple construction of treadmill desk 1.0 cost 15-20$ excluding the treadmill. I had it cut, glued, and built in an hour or so. After several days averaging about 1.2 mph and 3-4 miles a day...I was hooked. I found OfficeWalkers user group on the web. Turns out there are quite a few people out there with the same idea..and lots of pictures of ideas on building tricked out treadmill desks.

Treadmill 2.0 - Materials (IKEA Jerker Standup desk...Craigs list $100) + larger monitor, keyboard, mouse)

Version 2.0...much better work space. Dual monitors, keyboar, mouse...made it a bit easier with the cooridination for IT work while walking. I was able to quickly move my average speed from 1.2 mph to 1.5 and 1.7, and finally today's speed of 2.2 mph.

Version 2.0...you can see the desk fits perfectly over the bars...but still could use some improvements.

Version 2.1 ? I pulled the arms off the treadmill, moved the controller onto a bottom shelf where the controls are more easily accessed...a little messy but working on cleaning it up. Notice the old climbing webbing I used to "secure" the controller to the shelf :)

Picked up a little fan, ergo microsoft keyboard for long hours of work, a nalgene bottle full of ice water and chia seeds...some non-conducting headphones! The static electricity build-up can provide a good zap to your ears if you use headphones...be careful on your selection.

Side view... notice the baby polar bear rug I have on the far left...just incase you were thinking I was getting a little to "hippy."

I do a lot of my walking barefoot...in an attempt to strengthen my calves and feet.

Have tried walking backwards several times just to switch it up...I don't recommend it.

Side benefit...standing on the TreadDesk I am 8-10 inches taller than my wify :) Thanks for supporting me in all my craziness Loree!

Summary: I have been "office-walking" consistently now for 7 weeks. I eat healthier and have lost over 10 pounds. I have covered over 170 miles total and now average 2.2 mph while working. While sitting, my heart rate averages 45-50 bpm, at 2.2 mph I average 70-75 bpm...not a huge difference but definitely an improvement. Today is a personal record for me...20 miles of walking in about 9 hours. I started the day at 6am, studied scripture and wrote in my journal, planned my day, worked, and blogged all while on the desk. I do take breaks for lunch, stretching etc etc...but it is a significant life change! I feel great and energized...will see how the feet feel tomorrow. (walked in brooks trail running shoes all 20)


  1. Wow, good for you. I see you are now 1/2 mile ahead of me, 180.5 to 180 miles. Look out for tomorrow, it is my day off!

  2. I just read your article and found it very helpful for those who are too much busy in their work that they can't even find time to workout. Now you can easily workout while doing your work on laptop or computer. Well, if you don't know how to find the best one then you will find the best guide for your needs. All you have really need to do is to explore this list of treadmill desks. I bet you will find the best one for your needs.