March 4, 2013

Healthy Computing

Treadmill Desk

Last week I went to our local running shoe store, just two blocks from my house. When I explained to the super fit, older woman working at the store, that I needed new shoes for my treadmill desk, where I planned to walk for most of every day, she wanted to know what I did for a living. The simplest answer I’ve found is to say that I’m a consultant, who works for a computer company and that I spend all day at home, in front of a computer.

As someone who spends all day in front of a computer, I’ve given a lot of thought to ergonomics. I used to have constant shoulder and neck pain after sitting all day in my expensive, carefully designed and aligned office chair. About two years ago I switched to a standing desk and immediately felt better. At the end of everyday my body felt a little tired, just like my mind, but because I was moving around all day, my shoulder pain disappeared and instead I had mild foot and hip aches.

After the first year, I bought an anti-fatigue mat at a local kitchen supply store. Standing on almost an inch of springy foam all day removed the last of the aches and pains. The standing desk system made me feel good and I noticed that even on weekends, I preferred to stand rather than sit.

Last summer one of my co-workers installed a treadmill desk in his home and had nothing but good things to say about his health and well-being after slowly walking all day. It sounded like a great fit for me. The multi-tasking nature of exercising while at work sounds perfect. I started planning how the treadmill would fit in my office, how I would arrange my workstation and what treadmill to buy.

In the end I bought a new treadmill because I wanted one that was very quiet and wouldn’t be heard when I was talking on the phone. I also wanted one that wasn’t going to break or have problems shortly after buying it. The treadmill arrived last week. It weighs 350 pounds and is enormous! With a bit of struggle we installed it in my office.

SB and I then designed a series of three bracketed shelves, one for my monitors, one for my laptops and a third one for my keyboard. The keyboard shelf is designed to be easily removable, so that SB can also use the treadmill for general exercise.

Today is my first day on the treadmill. I’ve read that I need to take it slow at the start, only walking for a few hours over the course of the day. So far I’ve learned that walking and mousing is a skill to be perfected. I’m very excited about my new desk and believe that it is a great step towards my goal of getting into better shape this year.

The photo above shows the new treadmill desk, and my constant office companion, Zoe, relaxing on her new heated cat pad. The photo below shows my previous standing desk, also featuring Zoe, where she liked to spend her days, in the middle of my desk.

Oh, and my new Mizuno running shoes are working out great so far.

Standing Desk


  1. Ever since you switched to a standing desk I’ve been thinking about moving to one too, and now you’ve taken it up to the next level. Good luck with the new arrangement!

    Comment by M. — March 5, 2013 @ 10:49 am

  2. If you do try out a standing desk, make sure it is adjusted to the right height and that you wear shoes and/or stand on a cushioned mat.

    Comment by Marijka — March 5, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  3. I can’t wait to see the stats on your mileage! Have fun!

    Comment by Arielle — March 7, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

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