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Sunday, September 30, 2012


Work Exercise into Your Day with a Treadmill Desk

If you are like me, you’d rather write than do all kinds of other things like dishes, laundry and exercise. That said, I know that I feel better when I work walking into my day. To make this easier, my husband built me a treadmill desk.

You’ve probably already guessed by the name alone, but a treadmill desk is simply a treadmill combined with a desk. My husband made my desk by clamping a shelf onto the treadmill’s side-rails. This shelf is the home for my cordless keyboard, the volume control for my speakers and a towel. Hint: as you increase your speed the towel becomes important. The treadmill is positioned in front of a set of shelves that is home to my monitor and speakers.

Where is my computer? Upstairs in my office. A splitter and a cable feed in the basement ceiling mean that a monitor in my office and the monitor at the treadmill show the same display. I can leave my office and go downstairs and all I have to take with me is my water glass.

I’ve only had the treadmill desk for a few weeks, but I am definitely getting more exercise. Instead of walking two or three times a week, I am averaging five times a week and am walking for longer periods. My energy level and focus are up and so is my word count.

The downside? This will come as no surprise to those who know me well. I am very uncoordinated. I’m really not comfortable typing and walking. This means that so far I am limiting my treadmill desk use to reading blog posts. That may not sound like much, but with 50 individual blogs including several news feeds going into Google Reader, this makes for between 30 and 60 minutes of reading and walking per day.

My shortcomings aside, there are writers who actually manage to write on their treadmill desks. This includes the Muffin’s very own Darcy Pattison, Joelle Anthony and Arthur Slade.

Not that I consider my experience a failure. I’ve found a solid way to work more exercise into my writing day and I’m actually eager to get to it every morning. Not bad for someone who would rather be writing.


Author Sue Bradford Edwards blogs from the desk in her office at One Writer's Journey.

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Blogger BECKY said...

Good for you! I saw a report on TV not too long ago about an office (or offices) that were installing these types of treadmill/desks for the employees....and the first thing I thought was, I'd NEVER be able to walk on one and type at the same time! I can't even read and walk. So I keep my walking outdoors, when I walk my beloved dog, Vern! :)
I guess I could try just blogging, like you....but I swear, talk about lack of coordination, I'd probably fall off the treadmill! LOL

9:48 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I always wondered how it was to try to walk and type at the same time. I used to have trouble playing the clarinet and marching at the same time in marching band. . .:) Good for your hubby. I am like Becky and try to either fit exercise in with my dog or ride my bike with my daughter. But you are right, exercise does give you more energy!

1:02 PM  
Anonymous SueBE said...

I know several people who walk and type with no problem. I'm going to try it again at a slower speed.

Like Margo, walking and whatever can be tricky when when it involves music. I'm in my church choir. I can walk and process while singing to some hymns, not others but it is all about rhythm.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get a bit done around here and then go use my treadmill desk!


1:49 PM  
Blogger Charlene said...

Would not work for me. I'd eventually forget I needed to keep walking just long enough to find myself on the floor. In pain.
It is a great idea though.

3:53 PM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

I would really like something like this - and I would use it faithfully - but when you live in the middle of the country, in the middle of nowhere, the husband doesn't understand the need for a treadmill when I have 7 sections of land to walk on/around. HA!

I also wonder if I am coordinated enough to walk and type. I think so. :)

1:34 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I tried one of these years ago when Annette's husband built her one. It's SO trippy! I don't know how you get anything done on it, but I guess you get used to it.

My hubby said one of his friends at work has a treadmill that's less than a year old and wants to trade it for product at his shop, so I think I'll be getting one soon! :) SueBE, how did your hubby build it? Are there instructions online somewhere?

3:48 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm thinking of going with the exercise bike version...maybe I could handle pedaling and typing at the same time. But walking and typing? Not a chance.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Sue Bradford Edwards said...

A lot of the reason my husband okay'ed this was our summer weather. We worked one swim meet this year where the temperature on deck was 122 degrees. Not sure what the "real" temp was but who cares when it gets that high.

He looked at things online but then did it his own way. I'll bug him for details!


7:21 PM  
Blogger Linda Rosen said...

What a fabulous way to get your exercise in and keep the oxygen flowing to the brain so the words flow on to the page! I've blogged about standing and writing on my blog, The Literary Leotard, I'd love to link this post to my blog -- it's a perfect fit. Any interest?

3:44 PM  

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