Photo of Vanessa Blaylock's treadmill desk , showing large monitor in front of a drafting table with keyboard and mouse

Treadmill Desks I – The Problem

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Happy 2015 Everyone!!

I’ve been using a treadmill desk for 3 years now. I’m walking an easy 3km/h as I type this. I’m very happy with my treadmill desk, and I’d love to make 2015 the year I help anyone else interested in setting one up. They can be easy and low cost to set up and I’m convinced they can help you live a longer life.

I don’t want to be a proselytizer. I’m not interested in pushing my opinions on anyone who didn’t ask for them. But maybe a cheerleader. I’d love to share the value of something I believe in with anyone who’d like some info.

I thought I’d break this into two posts: 1 January seems like a great day to launch something, so today I’ll talk about “The Problem.” And next week I’ll show you some of the solutions: from store bought, to home made, from high to medium to low cost.

Your Chair Is Killing You #

I’ve never met Earnesto Ramirez, but I can honestly say that in 5 minutes he changed my life. Here’s his Ignite San Diego talk Your Chair is Killing You. After watching it I decided to start using a treadmill desk.

I did a little web surfing after seeing Ramirez’ video. What I’ve realized is that while Treadmill Desks haven’t yet hit mainstream consciousness, plenty of peeps are talking about them. There’s lots of blogs, photos, and videos. Popular TV Morning shows have done pieces on them.

Sherry Pagoto #

photo of Sherry Pagoto working at her treadmill desk
Sherry Pagoto at her Trek Desk

Dr. Sherry Pagoto is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her expertise is in health, nutrition, fitness, weight management, depression, stress, cancer prevention, and type 2 diabetes. She’s written a couple of nice blog posts about her own experiences with Treadmill Desks:

On your Feet Australia! #

The On Your Feet Australia! campaign is really cool! But I’m not so sure about standing desks. I actually like standing a lot. But I find it fatiguing. After about an hour of standing I’m a little tired. But walking, somehow that’s easier! I can walk on the treadmill desk pretty much all day. A standing desk, or these cool sit-stand desks might work for you, but I’ve heard of people trying standing desks and not liking them and not using them after a while.

It’s important to note that a treadmill desk isn’t, a “workout” desk! I’m not talking about running. I only walk at 3km/h. At that slow speed you won’t sweat, you can wear business attire. You won’t be out of breath, you can talk on the phone. It’s an easy pace. Slower even than you might walk if you paced around the office talking on a cell phone. I actually started at 2km/h, but after a while that was a little slow for me, so I’m pretty happy with 3 now. Occasionally I might watch a longer video and actually crank it up to jog, but that’s mostly not the point. It’s just about getting a little bit of circulation in an otherwise sedentary work-educate-entertain-play online day.

Jill Weisenberger #

Jill Weisenberger is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator with a master’s of science degree in food science and human nutrition.

BJ Fogg, PhD #

My expertise is creating systems to change human behavior. I call this “Behavior Design.” I devote about 50% of my time to Stanford and 50% to industry innovation. At my Stanford lab, the Persuasive Technology Lab, we focus on methods for creating habits, showing what causes behavior, automating behavior change, and persuading people via mobile phones. Over the years, improving health has become a theme. This includes my work in directing a series of conferences at Stanford on Mobile Health. Our last Stanford event was “Design for Dance.”

Dr. Cecilia Valdez’ Lifespan Treadmill Desk #

Good Morning America #

Fast Company #

My Treadmill Desk #

Me, walking on a VR Treadmill Desk, as displayed on an RL Treadmill Desk
Me, walking on a VR Treadmill Desk, as displayed on an RL Treadmill Desk

Earnesto Ramirez’ Ignite San Diego talk Your Chair is Killing You went online in Feb ’11 when I was putting together a new computer workstation. I decided that in addition to an expensive 3D Graphics card, I’d also buy an inexpensive treadmill to stick under my drafting table and a 116cm monitor to put in front of it.

Today, 3-1/2 years later, the expensive nVidia GeForce card has burned out and I’ve bought another expensive GeForce card, but the inexpensive treadmill is still working just fine. I’ve blogged about that desk and a couple of other walking activities:

Your Treadmill Desk #

What do you think? Any interest? Any questions? If it’s not for you, no worries. But if you’re interested, it’s not too hard to setup a treadmill desk for home or office. Ask any questions you might have in the comments below, and next Thursday I’ll post Treadmill Desks II – The Solution, with suggestions for setting up your own Treadmill Desk: from ridiculously expensive Steelcase Desks (that your office might pay for) to the ridiculously inexpensive Surf Shelf, that you could buy with a week’s worth of Starbucks money.

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 is off to a great start!

Vanessa Blaylock's signature

About Vanessa Blaylock

I was the Choreographer at Vanessa Blaylock Dancers and the Artistic Director at Vanessa Blaylock Company. Today my work focuses on Public Art projects. I’m interested in the mediation of perception and mixed reality performance works. I’m passionate about community and civil rights in cyberspace.

One thought on “Treadmill Desks I – The Problem

  1. New study from British Journal of Sports Medicine: The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company.

    The recommend that “desk based workers” immediately start working standing at least 2 hours / day and work up to 4 hours / day:

    See “Box 1 – Core Recommendations”
    http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/04/23/bjsports-2015-094618.full

Comments are closed.