After reading Brain Rules by John Medina, I’ve been thinking about ways to add some movement to my sedentary life, and I think I have found the answer. Inspired by Kristi Holl’s blog, I resurrected the idea of a treadmill desk the other day. I had rigged one up before on my treadmill, but walking at the recommended speed of 1 mph made me seasick. I also think that looking down at my laptop was part of the problem.
Now, I seem to have got it right. A while ago we bought a TV/DVD player to watch while we exercised. I’m sorry to report that this incentive has not drastically increased the use of the treadmill; however, it’s perfect for hooking up as a monitor to my laptop. Now when I walk my eyes are focused straight ahead rather than down. I also took Kristi’s advice and upped the speed to 2 mph.
It took no more than 15 minutes for me to get the hang of things and 30 minutes passed by quickly the first day. The second day, I walked an hour with a break after 30 minutes. There were also times I just worked without the treadmill running–just standing instead of sitting. All good, I figure. So far I’ve found it works well for writing, surfing the web, Facebook, email, etc. I haven’t mastered the fine art of editing yet, as getting the cursor exactly where I want it between words or letters takes a little work at the moment. I’m hoping that that task will become easier as I get used to the process.
As for construction costs, they were zero. We had a suitably sized plank already in the basement to go across the arms of the treadmill, and on it I put an old folded cardboard cutting board that my mom and I used for cutting out fabric when we were sewing. It’s about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide when it’s unfolded. The wooden plank’s surface wasn’t suitable for the mouse and the edges are a bit rough, so the cardboard acts as a cushion and a working mouse surface. I’ll get around to tidying up the plank eventually and adding some velcro like Kristi did, but for now it’s working just fine. The only financial investment that I’m going to make is to buy an extra monitor connector so that I don’t have to disconnect the one I use at my desk to bring it downstairs all the time. For other options for setting up a treadmill desk, check author Art Slade’s blog. He’s been using a treadmill desk since 2009.
If you are already a treadmill desk user, please drop me a line, especially if you have any tips for construction that you can share with others who might want to try the same thing. If you decide to give it a try, please keep me posted. I’d love to know how it works for you.