Introducing The Treadmill Desk - A Work From Home Necessity

I have had a Fitbit for maybe about a year now.

 It sits very subtley on the edge of my pants pocket almost every day, minus a few days here and there where I have forgotten it on its charger. If you don't know about it, it's a fancy schmancy pedometer, but more than that. It also has a calories burned feature, a stair counter (mine is frequently at zero because I have no stairs in my house), it syncs wirelessly to your computer OR your phone, and has a sleep function to track how much sleep you're getting and how efficient your sleep is, based on your frequent movements. I've found that it's not completely accurate on that though.

Last night for instance, I recorded 7 hours of sleep, but I woke up 17 times and it is telling me my sleep efficiency is 91%. Really? I woke up exhausted and miserable and I would have put my efficiency more at 19%. Slight flaw...but interesting to see how restless I am, so if I didn't think I had moved around a lot in the night, this would validate why I'm a wretched, cranky monster.

It gives me fun little encouraging comments on its little reader board when I pick it up, like "Way to go K-Dizzle." Or "Faster K-Dizzle!" Or "Woot! K-Dizzle!" Or my favorite: "Hold Me K-Dizzle." I really like the size of it-it's very discrete and it's not clunky on my arm like some of the trackers are these days. You can't cheat with it either. If I swing it around, it magically recognizes I'm not moving.

sidenote: I don't usually go by that name, but I got a new computer and I wanted to test the setup and see immediately if it would sync up and the name change felt like it was the easiest way to do now I am k-dizzle.

Ideally, we should all be getting 10,000 steps a day to be healthy. That's about 4.5 miles. When you work on a computer all day and work 12hrs at a time, it's really hard to find time to walk 10,000 steps. And when you do that 10 hour shift from home, it's actually sometimes hard to walk 3000 steps. It's a wee bit embarrassing, but it's really easy to walk so little when you MUST GET your work done to meet a very tight deadline (or the entire world will explode).

Here are my last two weeks - note that I forgot to wear it a few days. Note the first 7 bars on the graph and see how low they are? Sad. Sad, sad fitbit.

I have been struggling lately to feel healthy and don't feel like I have time to invest in being healthy. but this is my job and it's not going to change and so I needed to find something to make both my health and my work come together like unicorns and rainbows.

Enter the Treadmill Desk.

The last two days was a total success. I got to sit on the couch in the morning while working and calling into a few meetings. After lunch each day, I walked for an hour. WHILE working!! It actually was very easy to do and the first day, I walked again before dinner-while working!! And for the first time in a long time, I was able to make my 10000 steps goal. I almost made it again today, but my foster girl showed up early and it just wasn't possible to be on the treadmill tonight. It's literally 5 feet from where she sleeps and it might sound a bit like a pack of rhinos when I walk on it.

Regardless - I think I have found a new way to live life right!

Here is how I created my desk. It took A LONG TIME (at least 2 minutes) and was A TON OF WORK (not in the least).

The biggest thing is safety, of course. It couldn't be in the way of my body in it's natural walking state - and by natural, I mean the only possible way you can walk while having your fingers attached to a keyboard.
The second biggest thing (unless you are my employer, in which case it's the first) is the safety of the laptop.

I happen to have bought a shelf last year that turned out to be a perfect length to lay across my treadmill cross bars. I hadn't opened the shelf, so although it's a glossy type of faux wood, it's still wrapped in plastic, still has the cardboard pieces over the ends. I think the cardboard and the plastic might be critical to this working as they don't allow any slipping around. The cardboard may even act as a bit of a shock to help absorb any of the movement from the treadmill (there definitely is movement).

Originally, I just had the one shelf, but I found that the laptop was low and it was killing my weak wrists to type that way. So I knew I needed to raise it up and went to the garage to look for a box which I could use to raise it up a good 2 inches or so. I somehow forgot I had ANOTHER shelf, just a bit shorter, still wrapped in plastic with its cardboard edges...and it worked PERFECT!!! The plastic stops any slipping around and the cardboard helps buffer (maybe) AND it raised it up the exact perfect amount to make my keyboard in a great spot ergonomically. And because the shelf is short, it leaves room on the side to allow my mouse on one side and my phone on the other. My treadmill has cup holders, but to put anything in there would require me to have to reach across the shelves/laptop and that ruins my safety factor.

The laptop fits perfectly on the shelf, barely hanging over in front and back. It doesn't have any kind of slip to it-it's pretty snug on bottom. And if I were to bump it, it would fall against the front of the treadmill, which has a very nice incline for holding books and whatnot and I think given the speed I'm going, I probably wouldn't knock over both shelves, in which case the laptop would trap itself between the shelf and the treadmill front-shelf-readerboard-thing.

Here's a couple really horribly-taken photos of my setup:


The trick here - you can't walk fast. Just a bit slower than your normal walking pace, as you have to be able to work while moving. I've read from other bloggers who type and walk that 1.5mph is the fastest you should go-and I found that to be a nice pace. I didn't feel like I was going too slow that it was awkward, but I felt like I could very easily type and read my screen.

Hopefully, I can stay motivated to continue - otherwise working at home is going to cause more harm than good.

*note that I have tried this once before and didn't have the much needed height to it, and wasn't very committed to walking slowly while on my laptop so I dismissed the idea. However, after barely moving the last month while working such long hours, I've definitely become fond of the idea. Even walking at such a slow pace is a gazillion times better for you than sitting on a couch bent over a laptop all day and night.


  1. I have started getting up and walking in place at work. The guys think I am weird but I wasn't aware how stationary I was until I got my fitbit. I am still only getting about 5000 steps a day but that is my goal for Jan. Feb is going to be 6000 :)


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