why not?: d-i-y treadmill desk

Sally Schneider

Blogging is hard on us – not psychically – we love researching and discovery and sharing – but physically: our backs suffer from hours of sitting and we’re getting a little plump (many days, we’re hard-pressed to tear ourselves away to work out; before we know it, the day is GONE). Plus, we’ve been reading about how bad sitting for long periods is. Yeah, we know about getting up to stretch every hour, and doing tai chi, and …all the helpful things that we’re trying to get disciplined enough to do…

What we really wish is that there was a way to work while we work out: actually write and edit photos for our posts, not just read or listen to music. We decided to try out our fantasy of rigging a treadmill with a laptop, to make a treadmill desk. The idea is you walk slowly as you work, and over time, you cover a lot of ground, burn calories and moving your body really helps it. Why not? we thought.

We took a plywood board to the gym, placed it across the rails of a treadmill and set our laptop on it. Then we started walking, really slowly at first, while we got acclimated enough to actually open a document and write. It was pretty relaxing, felt good to be moving and standing rather than sitting…though not something we the management of our gym would let us do on a regular basis. But IF you had your own treadmill in your space, it would be a viable alternative…

We’ve  discovered that other people have had the same idea. There are a number of enterprising homemade versions on the internet, like this one (with some interesting commentary):

…and a whole website devoted to Treadmill Desks, featuring slide shows of attached and free-standing versions…

…Several companies have come up with rigs you can buy, like SurfShelf which is supposed to work with most treadmills, bikes and ellipticals, though we’re not sure the typing angle would work for us (the company suggests contacting them to see if the SurfShelf will fit on your equipment)…

….for around $400 you can buy the homely TrekDesk that looks like something Darth Vader would dig:

…Steelcase has a Walkstation for around $4,000, that looks rather clinical and officey…

Neither homemade nor commercial versions look so great to our eye, but then, treadmills are pretty ugly machines (Why doesn’t anyone make them in RED?)

We still think a treadmill desk a swell idea and are proud of ourselves for getting off our butts and trying our idea out.

2 Responses to why not?: d-i-y treadmill desk

  1. David Saltman 10.27.2010 at 9:49am #

    My dear departed friend Jerry Andrus went one better on this front. He invented a treadmill that actually POWERED his computer! I have a video clip of this and will try to upload it.

  2. Sally 10.29.2010 at 10:54am #

    I’ve heard about that guy – a brilliant illusionist and inventor – and would LOVE to see his rig. Please send us a clip.

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