Software Quality

February 13, 2012

Update from a Treadmill Desk User

Filed under: Health and Exercise — David Allen @ 5:28 pm

I have been using my LifeSpan treadmill desk for almost 2 months now. I’ve been very pleased with it. I am currently spending an average of two hours per day walking on the treadmill while using my computer. If you think about that, the difference in activity level is substantial. I would otherwise be sitting down for those two hours. I might be reading my e-mail or answering it, I might be browsing the web, or I might be reading an e-book.

Those of you who read my original diary  https://codecontracts.info/2012/01/16/diary-of-a-treadmill-desk-user/  will recall that I initially experienced some discomfort in my knees. That discomfort is a distant memory. I no longer have pain in my knees. However, I do get stiff after a while. I still think it is important to take a break from the computer periodically. My problem now is not that I’m sedentary. The problem is that walking on the treadmill is a somewhat unnatural motion. It is good to get off of it from time to time, stretch, and walk around in a normal way. Taking a break is also good for my arms, my back, and my eyes.

If you use the treadmill often during the day as I have recently, you may find yourself hopping on and off it several times – to get a drink of water, to grab a pen, or pick up your phone. During the brief interruptions, I just leave the belt running. I hop off of it while it is in motion, and I hop back onto it while it is in motion. If you hang out with the device long enough you get very comfortable with this.  But hopping on and off of a moving treadmill at different angles is a little bit like walking on a ship in the ocean. For the first several weeks of this behavior, I felt as if I was getting seasick.  I never experienced this if I just use it normally. It only happens if I play around like a kid and jump on and off and turnaround and move sideways etc. So just be warned, that after using it for a while you will get very comfortable with it and you may play around. I’m extremely sensitive to motion sickness and the fact that I can tolerate this playing around means that most of you probably won’t even notice what I’m talking about. If you are sensitive to motion as I am, simply get on and off it in a carefully controlled way and you should be fine.

When I started this experiment I had no idea what the outcome would be. But at this point, it feels very strange when I travel to a new city and I sit down for several hours to read a book. I feel as if I should be moving during that time. I miss the activity. Fortunately, when I go home to visit my mother, she happens to have a treadmill in the guest bedroom. Guess who walks on the treadmill while he reads his book? (grin)

If you have any specific questions about the experience, feel free to post them.

10 Comments »

  1. Hi David, very interesting. Did you buy this walking workstation or did your new employer provide it? Are you in an office setting or a home office?

    Comment by Kathy Shea — February 19, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    • I bought this walking workstation for my home with my own money.

      Comment by David Allen — February 19, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  2. Hi David, I too am a programmer and at times spend as much as 12 hours in front of the computer in a day. I was using a homemade treadmill desk for a while back in 2010, but the treadmill malfunctioned, and I fell down and hurt myself badly. So I never used it again. I recently came across the LifeSpan treadmill desk and it looks affordable and promising. One problem I faced with my homemade desk was difficulty typing code or using the mouse with high accuracy even at speed as as 1mph. I reckon this was because the height of my desk wasn’t adjustable, I couldn’t lean on it either, neither did it have a pad for resting my elbows/forearms like LifeSpan’s desk does. Do you find it difficult to type or use the mouse too on your treadmill desk? If so, then I might decide against buy it.

    Looking forward to your reply/advice. Thanks!

    Comment by Abhi — July 31, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    • I am typing this reply to you while walking on the treadmill at 0.4 miles per hour. I used the mouse to bring up this message. I get to rest my wrists on my keyboard which helps to stabilize my hands while I type. Otherwise, I probably could not type easily. After all, when I walk at slow speeds, my body sways from side to side. Likewise, I use the palm rest for my mouse too, to stabilize my hand while I use the mouse. The desk component is very sturdy and does not wobble at all. I usually operate it at 0.4 MPH. But I turned it up to 1.0 MPH to see what that is like. It is harder to type but I am doing it. But don’t take my word for it. Find a local distributor and ask them to setup a demo model for you to try. I was lucky to have a local distributor called 2nd Wind Fitness Equipment who had one on display.

      Comment by David Allen — July 31, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

      • Hey David, thanks for replying. I’m glad to know you’re still using your treadmill desk!

        Really good advice on using a mouse pad to stabilize the hand. Also, I wasn’t using a keyboard with a palm rest when I was working from my treadmill desk. I believe that is why I found it difficult to type, despite resting my palms on the desk. It was also a very awkward position for my hands and my palms would hurt after a while, so would my forearms, since my desk did not have a resting pad to rest my forearms on, like the LifeSpan desk does on the front.

        There’s only one distributor in my country that sells this desk. Fortunately, they have an office in my city. So I’ll see if I can get them to setup a demo desk for me. I reckon it’d be best to work on it for an hour or two without any breaks, to see if this desk is for me.

        Thanks a lot again for your advice!

        Comment by Abhi — August 1, 2012 @ 2:47 am

  3. will you post a picture of you on the mill?

    Comment by YvesHanoulle — September 5, 2012 @ 3:49 am

  4. Hi! I see that you are very sensitive to motion sickness. So am I. I am not concerned about getting on and off the treadmill. I’m concerned about getting sick while on it. Are you able to read in a car without getting sick? I need to find someone who cannot read in the car, and who has used a treadmill desk to see if they had problems.

    Comment by Sarah Thee Campagna — November 19, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    • I am so sensitive that I cannot read in a car without getting sick. But I do not have that reaction to walking on the treadmill and working and reading. I also get sick when I watch videos that move around in a jerky fashion. Like one of those later “Bourne” movies. I had to get up and leave the theater. But it does not seem like that on the treadmill, reading normal stuff like news or watching training videos. However, if you are that sensitive, I would urge you to find a local dealer like the one I found. I brought my laptop in to my local 2nd Wind store and they let me just hang out and walk on it for an hour. I was just strolling along at between 0.5 and 0.9 MPH. And it was no big deal. You know what, i just got an idea. You could go to a local gym. And bring a book or magazine and read while walking on the treadmill at low speeds. If that works for you, then you know you would be good. And it’s easy to find a gym with a treadmill.

      Comment by David Allen — November 19, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    • oh, and one more thing. I even eat sometimes while I’m on the treadmill. I sometimes check my email or read news while having breakfast or dinner. If I ever get a partner, some of those habits may change .

      Comment by David Allen — November 19, 2012 @ 12:23 pm


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