The Treadmill Desk

For the last few weeks I’ve been using a treadmill desk once or twice a day, for 30-90 minutes at a time. This particular model has a maximum speed of 2 mph and there is no incline, so it’s not rigorous exercise. But when I consider the alternative—sitting on my butt all day—the treadmill desk is the closest thing I have to a daily workout regimen. (I am so not a gym person.) I’ve lost four pounds without really trying to.

All of this totally makes me an expert on treadmill desks, so here are my observations.

2 mph is kind of fast if you’re working on a presentation. I can type and operate a mouse comfortably at speeds up to 1.2 mph. Faster than that and typos become rampant. (I typwd this at 21 mpd.)

Wear comfortable shoes. My work shoes are comfortable enough for wandering carpeted halls and stomping on crickets, but they are not designed for treadmills. Right now my solution is to have sore feet and try not to complain too much.

You’re chained to your desk…in a good way. If you have trouble sitting still for long periods (I will use absolutely any excuse to leave my chair), the treadmill desk really helps with concentration. Especially after you stop tweeting about being on a treadmill desk. Bonus: Sometimes, after an hour on the treadmill, I think, “I’d better get back to work.” Then I remember I actually have been working the whole time.

Not for mutants. I’m six-three. The desk is adjustable, but its maximum height is about two inches below where I would like it to be. The monitor is bolted to the desk at a fixed height, and putting a phone book under the keyboard and mouse is not a viable option. So if you’re over six feet, be sure to try before you buy.

You will probably look like an idiot. Apparently my daily treks to the treadmill (which is near a communal area at work) are amusing to people. About once a day someone walks by and says something like “What is that? What are you doing?” It seems pretty obvious that I’m powering my laptop like a hamster in a wheel, but whatever.

Beware the phone. Once, I’d been walking for 90 minutes and was about to stop when my phone rang. I took the call. The conversation lasted over an hour. I forgot to stop the treadmill.

That’s right, I WALKED SLOWLY FOR TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS. I felt totally entitled to a Snickers bar after that.