9

votes

Anyone use a treadmill desk?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 14, 2010 at 5:55 PM

http://www.treadmill-desk.com/

Simple concept: walk at a slow rate (in the 1 mph neighborhood) while you do your office jockeying. Walk for six or so hours a day, as our ancestors probably did.

Anyone doing this? I'm very curious about it, since I enjoy walking, dislike cardio, and have plenty of fat to burn. (I'm about two weeks into the "program," and I've found the sweet spot where nothing else worked. I was probably wheat-intolerant.)

I also have the luxury of telecommuting, so I'll be the guinea pig if need be.

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on April 03, 2010
at 12:43 PM

I honestly don't know Patrik. But I wouldn't just assume that walking is the better option.. It very well might be- but before I would buy a product like this I'd listen to the devil's advocate too.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 19, 2010
at 01:13 AM

@Naomi -- I think the "steady state walk" for a few hours is much better than the "steady state sit", no?

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on March 15, 2010
at 02:45 PM

I have always wanted to do this but I work in a very judgmental office. Do it, and report back. Oh, and you should look up DIY treadmill desks - no need to pay four gs for a treadmill with a piece of fiberboard on it.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 15, 2010
at 10:16 AM

I have to agree too - !

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 15, 2010
at 02:19 AM

It took me awhile to get used to myself.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on March 14, 2010
at 11:55 PM

NickW, Agree with you--I'm no multi-tasker, so this wouldn't work for me.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on March 14, 2010
at 11:52 PM

Sisson addresses this issue somewhat in Primal Blueprint. He recommends 2 to 5 hours per week of "slow cardio" @ 55 to 75% of max heartrate, plus 1 to 3 resistance training sessions per week, and 1 or 2 spint interval sessions per week. He says that more low intensity exercise would be beneficial, eg. hiking the Appalachian Trail. You can track your mileage, and see if you can "hike the AT" (about 2175mi.). As Naomi suggests, be sure to mix in some intensity.

C56bdadbc180bfd11b15eea1964825f7

(862)

on March 14, 2010
at 09:59 PM

Sure, I'd love to take an iPhone and a netbook out on a trail and thumb out emails and trek through conference calls while bending and stooping, but that's not 100% feasible - I can't imagine the harm associated with treadmill walking could possibly outweigh the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. I'm a little too invested in this career to switch to manual labor, so I need to optimize what I've got.

C56bdadbc180bfd11b15eea1964825f7

(862)

on March 14, 2010
at 07:14 PM

I have a stand-up desk right now, but I don't use it frequently because the standing-in-place gets stressful. And the fallback becomes laying in bed, which probably doesn't have many advantages.

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10 Answers

6
0b56b4d3c453d868900e2ba953e587f2

on March 14, 2010
at 09:36 PM

I use one because it just made sense to me. We evolved over millions of years to walk, not to sit. After researching the effects of sedentary lifestyles I went looking for a treadmill desk and found TrekDesk. They also have a ton of information on the site about the positive effects of walking through the day vs sitting. It got me hooked and I am glad it did, I feel better, lost weight and now get in at least 6 miles of walking a day.

5
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 14, 2010
at 06:28 PM

Great idea, though it looks expensive. I've arranged to have a stand-up desk at work, for similar reasons. (It's not just the calories burned, but getting your butt out of a chair has lots of postural advantages.)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 15, 2010
at 02:19 AM

It took me awhile to get used to myself.

C56bdadbc180bfd11b15eea1964825f7

(862)

on March 14, 2010
at 07:14 PM

I have a stand-up desk right now, but I don't use it frequently because the standing-in-place gets stressful. And the fallback becomes laying in bed, which probably doesn't have many advantages.

4
B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 14, 2010
at 07:29 PM

By the power of Greyskull! Depending on how much you like your job, that contraption could be a painful metaphorical representation of how you feel about your job.

Joking aside, I am a strong proponent of fully immersing yourself in whatever you're doing. Work to work. Walk for the sheer joy of walking. When eating, concentrate on the food in-front of you, the company surrounding you, and nothing else. Life becomes more enjoyable this way.

I say "nay" to the treadmill-desk and all it stands for.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 15, 2010
at 10:16 AM

I have to agree too - !

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on March 14, 2010
at 11:55 PM

NickW, Agree with you--I'm no multi-tasker, so this wouldn't work for me.

2
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 16, 2010
at 08:37 PM

How is this for a solution:

When you do your desk work, sit or stand. And go for a long walk every day (or twice). You don't need to do both at the same time. You don't have time to walk? Well, make time!

Your real walking will be better and more fun, and because of that, the sitting (or standing) work you do at your desk will be better (more productive, more creative).

This will especially be true if your job requires more creative and intellectual work, maybe less so if it is more 'mechanical' in nature.

Even in this Darwin was ahead of his time (or is it reverse, have we forgotten something?):

Rising early, he took a short walk before breakfasting alone at 7.45, and then at once set to work, ???considering the 1,5 hours between 8.0 and 9.30 one of his best working times.??? He then read his letters and listened to reading aloud, returning to work at about 10.30. At 12 or 12.15 ???he considered his day???s work over,??? and went for a walk, whether wet or fine. For a time he rode, but after accidents had occurred twice, was advised??? to give it up. After lunch he read the newspaper and wrote his letters or the MS. of his books. At about 3.0 he rested and smoked for an hour while being read to, often going to sleep. He then went for a short walk, and returning about 4.30, worked for an hour. After this he rested and smoked, and listened to reading until tea at 7.30, a meal which he came to prefer to late dinner. He then played two games of backgammon, read to himself, and listened to music and to reading aloud. He went to bed, generally very much tired, at 10.30, and was often much troubled by wakefulness and the activity of his thoughts. It is thus apparent that the number of hours devoted to work in each day was comparatively few. The immense amount he achieved was due to concentration during these hours, also to the unfailing and, because of his health, the necessary regularity of his life. (from http://www.darwin-literature.com/l_biography.html)

And of course, that other great and inspiring, but contemporary scholar NN Taleb knows this too (but he needed some help from Art De Vany):

After my Aha! flash, under guidance from Art de Vany, I embarked on an Extremistan barbell lifestyle: long, very long, slow meditative (or conversational) walks in a stimulating urban setting, but with occasional (and random) very short sprints [...] I saw serious changes in my own physique on every possible criterion [...] I also have a clearer, much more acute mind. (from http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/whyIwalk.pdf)

Sitting per se is not bad. Sitting in the same position for a long time is bad. Same for standing. So vary between postures. And vary between postures and movement.

I hope this helps.

2
Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

on March 16, 2010
at 07:51 PM

I'm a writer. I work from home. I'd love to walk all day -- ideally in the woods or mountains, but I haven't yet been able to figure out how to research and write an article while doing that. Not being hung up on rat-on-a-wheel imagery, I think this is a brilliant idea and now I want one. On nice days maybe I'll put it out on my deck, take my shirt off, make some Vit D, bewilder my neighbors... I can not see anything at all wrong with this plan.

2
Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on March 14, 2010
at 09:36 PM

Our ancestors might have walked 6 hours a day... but not like that. They would have mixed it up with climbing, jumping, occasional change of pace, lifting, picking etcetc. This steady state walk sounds like it could do more harm than good.

C56bdadbc180bfd11b15eea1964825f7

(862)

on March 14, 2010
at 09:59 PM

Sure, I'd love to take an iPhone and a netbook out on a trail and thumb out emails and trek through conference calls while bending and stooping, but that's not 100% feasible - I can't imagine the harm associated with treadmill walking could possibly outweigh the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. I'm a little too invested in this career to switch to manual labor, so I need to optimize what I've got.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 19, 2010
at 01:13 AM

@Naomi -- I think the "steady state walk" for a few hours is much better than the "steady state sit", no?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on March 14, 2010
at 11:52 PM

Sisson addresses this issue somewhat in Primal Blueprint. He recommends 2 to 5 hours per week of "slow cardio" @ 55 to 75% of max heartrate, plus 1 to 3 resistance training sessions per week, and 1 or 2 spint interval sessions per week. He says that more low intensity exercise would be beneficial, eg. hiking the Appalachian Trail. You can track your mileage, and see if you can "hike the AT" (about 2175mi.). As Naomi suggests, be sure to mix in some intensity.

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on April 03, 2010
at 12:43 PM

I honestly don't know Patrik. But I wouldn't just assume that walking is the better option.. It very well might be- but before I would buy a product like this I'd listen to the devil's advocate too.

1
3b33c44c826a3da4af412c0c71c55f1c

(295)

on July 14, 2010
at 06:45 PM

I just wrote about my newly created treadmill desk on my blog. The reason I decided to create one was that I personally found myself working more at my computer and HATED sitting down for long periods of time. I work for myself running a boot camp and triathlon coaching business, plus I anticipate in the near future having a part-time job working tech support for a website, and I didn't want to spend all that time on my butt. I tried standing and working, but that is not as comfortable to me as walking very slowly. I've only been doing this for about a week or so, but I average about 2-3 hours a day at the treadmill, walking at 1mph and 1% incline. I have found that it prevents me from WASTING time at the computer, too, which is a big PLUS for me! Jessica

1
Ee04bf4be56d92a380dc42ba026a919b

(10)

on July 13, 2010
at 08:45 PM

I use one as well. It hasn't taken the place of any of my other forms of exercise. I still walk outside frequently and ride when I can. It has simply transformed time that I would otherwise have been sitting into time that I'm burning a few extra calories. It has also helped me to stay more alert and more productive. I have found that if I try to emulate some of the proponents and bump the speed up above maybe 1.3mph that my productivity suffers so I tend to keep it down in the 1.1 to 1.2 range. This seems to boost my creative thinking (I'm a programmer) without detracting from my typing accuracy (such as it is.)

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 16, 2010
at 03:47 AM

Well that whole question is why I chose to have a physical job in the first place. I would feel like a flipping squirrel if I used a treadmill while working.

My opinion is cope while you are at work and exercise when you get off duty.

1
742cffd4b920fc4b35dd8b4d641bd1e8

on March 14, 2010
at 07:06 PM

Hmmm. That dude Seth R. did an interesting n=1 experiment where he examined the effect that consuming animal fat, walking, and standing had on the speed at which he performed an arithmetic test. Surprisingly all three variables had similar effects. However, he found that by combining all three, he had markedly improved.

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