Walk and Work

Do you spend most of your day sitting at your desk? Have you ever wished your work required you to move around more, instead of sitting all day? Sometimes that sedentary feeling just makes you feel lethargic, right? Well, that was me until I decided I’d had enough of it.

treadmill and desk

Treadmill and (temporary) desk setup with laptop, monitor, and external mouse

My typical work day consists of emails, reading resources online and offline, phone calls, and conference calls, all of which can be done at my desk. Thankfully, I have a wonderful home office for my work at Heinemann Publishing. So my home office has all the things you would expect… a desk, white board, filing cabinet, and such (yes, lots of papers and books and such). And now it has a treadmill, too, which I have discovered is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of office equipment. In fact, I think treadmills ought to be standard office equipment. Here’s why:

  • I just feel better at any moment in the day. Life before treadmill used to mean lots of stretch breaks. If I ignored my body’s need to stretch and move during the day, I was exhausted and felt like a lump at the end of the day.
  • I am sure I stretch much more throughout the day. I usually turn on the treadmill within the first hour of getting to my desk. If email catch up is my first task of the day, I will keep the speed low because I type better and faster (especially before the coffee kicks in). Gradually, I will increase the speed during the day and vary the speed according to the task. Since I’m in a standing/walking position for most of the day, my knees frequently ask me to give them a break. I sometimes exaggerate my walk for a few minutes in order to bend lower and take a longer stride. Or I might simply place my feet on the treadmill frames on the side and bend my legs. I will pause the treadmill now and then, in order to take a few very long stretches. And I might just get off it altogether and walk around the room for my eyes to see something else in front of me.
  • I am getting much more exercise, rivaling my exercise at the fitness club. I have more consistently done plank exercises each day. When I got my treadmill, I also started doing planks in order to strengthen my core. The combination of walking and planks has helped me feel my body is moving much more every day, while still keeping my mental focus. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mental focus is better now. There’s some research about that.
  • I get to wear my Newton watermelon shoes every day. Cool footwear, don’t you think? I bought them from the folks at Runners Alley in Portsmouth.

    shoes

    Newton running shoes, great for my Rebel treadmill

Have I convinced you to consider a treadmill? Have you been trying to figure out the brand name on that photo above? After reading lots of other articles about treadmill desks and definitely waffling between a low cost do it yourself approach (around $200) and the high end desk-treadmill combos (add another zero), I settled on a fairly new brand which seemed to offer the best of both worlds for my needs.

Rebel Desk offers standing desks, treadmills, and accessories. The price was manageable (when I decided to forego that brand new Mac which is still on my wish list) and the features fit my needs and interests. It’s quiet, has a low profile, and has a max speed of 2 mph which is fine for me. I never intended it to replace my workouts at the nearby fitness center. It arrived pretty quickly (within 2 weeks) and was easy to setup.

treadmill case

Small crack in the case

Although it arrived with a slight imperfection, which I’m sure was due to the packing and shipping process (small crack in the plastic case near the motor end), it has worked beautifully. I don’t really notice the cracks, nor does it matter in terms of equipment functioning. (I barely managed to get this blog post written, let alone take the time to contact them to get a replacement part!)

That was a few months ago, and I’ve been delighted to use it every day for anywhere between 2 to 5 hours of a typical day. As you can see from the top photo, my standing desk is temporary. My next purchase? A proper desk to match.

Walking at work is great! Now, if I could just get the scenery around me to look like a walk in the park …

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2 Responses to Walk and Work

  1. thinkict says:

    Yes, I’m familiar with his work, but I hadn’t thought of my own work flow as reflective of that. So thanks for sharing your ideas about that and for reading and commenting on my blog. Your own blog and music is inspiring!

  2. This is a great idea! It reminded me of the psychological “flow” concept as described in the positive psychology work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced CHEEK-sent-mə-HYE-ee). You may be familiar with the idea of “peak experiences” from Abraham Maslow? “Flow” is an extension of that concept – as when athletes speak of getting into “the zone”, or when a writer is so immersed in their work the time flies by. Csikszentmihalyi has developed programs that enhance our ability to experience flow. His ideas have also found their way into architecture and design, for example designing classrooms and workplaces so that people move around more instead of performing repetitive tasks in one sitting position all the time. Your workspace utilizes the same idea.

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