Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Walking to Work

I’m writing this while walking at .5 mph. It’s taking a bit of getting used to, but after all, it’s my first attempt at using my brand-new treadmill desk.

This is something that’s intrigued me for a while. Over the space of a few months I downloaded various sets of instructions, wrote to people who used treadmill desks, and kept up with the research, the most recent of which (by the first promoter of the concept, Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic) concludes that you shouldn’t try to do more than two hours on, two hours off. Phew.

(Hey, I just took my sweater off! Must be doing something, even at this speed!)

I wound up tossing out the plans I had downloaded since they were all based on desktop computers, and I no longer had one, a casualty of leaving the day job.

Not much room here
As I contemplated where the treadmill would fit in my already crowded study, I realized that no matter what configuration I came up with, it was going to be a pain to move the laptop and its cables and wires from one spot to another, and I'd probably find lots of excuses not to do it, so I decided to go remote instead. I purchased a wireless keyboard and mouse and resurrected a flat-screen monitor from the attic.

(I already forgot I was walking. According to the timer on the treadmill, that took nine minutes and twenty seconds.)

I bought a plain-vanilla treadmill at Play It Again Sports, which we brought home with a small trailer rented at U-Haul. A passing neighbor helped us get it in the house and we set it up next to the twin bed that serves as the emergency sleeping space for those escaping a snoring spouse.
Good help is hard to find

Then a trip to Home Depot, and we returned with a white shelf and some metal brackets. We (by which I mean Greg) attached the brackets to the shelf, which then rested on the handles of the treadmill, and we (by which I mean me) ran tie-wraps through the holes in the brackets to strap it down, inserted some shims to level it, and voilà—step one was complete.

(Just upped the speed to .6 mph without noticing any difference in ease of writing.)

Next came the monitor, which we hung on the bookcase I had purchased for practically nothing when Borders went out of business.

The last item was a book holder so if I’m not working on the computer I can walk and read.

Total cost: under $300.

If it works out, I might upgrade the monitor, and given what I paid for the treadmill, I imagine I might have to replace it at some point when it quits working. But for now, this is just fine.

(Now .7 mph.)