My treadmill desk office setup

I’ve been singing the praises of my new treadmill desk setup on Twitter recently. My first full week in action, I noticed:

  • I logged 23 miles, without even thinking about it. Wow!
  • I noticed greatly improved focus and concentration.
  • I felt much more energetic, both while on the treadmill and off. No more afternoon energy slump!
  • My aching shoulder and numb left arm (due to a bulging disk and pinched nerve in my neck) virtually stopped their hurting and tingling. Pain relief was an unexpected, but much appreciated, bonus.
  • Last but not least, walk-dancing to a great song on Pandora is much more fun (and better exercise) than chair-dancing! (I’m thankful I work at home, though, as this could be majorly humiliating in a more public space.)

Coincidentally (or not? maybe it was prompted by my enthusiastic Tweets), a friend posted a link to Arthur Slade’s hilarious and inspiring post about his treadmill desk setup. Who knew there’s a whole movement out there? Thanks for uniting the Tread Heads, Arthur!

Anyway, a few of you have asked what my setup is. Not being as handy, patient, or thrifty as Arthur and others are, I splurged for the instant-up store-bought solution made by the good people at TrekDesk and put it on top of a Pro-Form 505 CST Treadmill. It was super easy to assemble and set up. Here’s a look at the result:

TrekDesk straight-ahead view

The TrekDesk comes with a sturdy metal document holder, which serves as a laptop holder in my setup (above, on right). Then, I added a Plugable USB 2.0 Docking Client and an extra monitor, rotated to portrait mode so I can see a whole manuscript page at once, or a whole web page, or whatever. I can’t image working without a dual-monitor setup, and the docking client also allows me to grab my laptop and go and come back again without dealing with tons of plugs, cables, and cords first.

TrekDesk treadmill desk side view

This all takes up quite bit of space, unfortunately, so I had to move out of my tiny guest-room/office and into the family room, which means headphones are a must now that the kids are out of school for the summer. And it means we need a new, smaller couch as the ancient behemoth no longer fits. Darn.

So, I still have a few adjustments to make to the room, but I am loving the desk itself and the new working experience that comes from it.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with or questions about treadmill desks. Does it, or would it, work for you? Why or why not?

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13 Responses to My treadmill desk office setup

  1. Ann Bedichek says:

    Wow. I’m just in awe!

    That is so inspiring.

  2. Can you actually type while walking? I LOVe this idea. It’s very appealing.

    • Typing is no problem at all, nor is using the mouse. Some illustrators have asked me if they’d be able to draw on one, and I’m not an illustrator, but I think so. You walk so slowly that there’s no bounce or anything, and the height of the TrekDesk is fully adjustable. I think it really helps me maintain better posture while I’m working and not hunch or slouch or rest my hands. You’re welcome to come over and try it out sometime, Sam!

  3. Rob McKaughan says:

    What pace do you typically walk at (or is it just free-form)?

    Seems like it’d be hard to do precision drawing with it, though writing, surfing, and the usual office apps would be fine. It would certainly cure the bad habit I have with my standing setup: leaning heavily against the desk.

  4. Thanks for posting and sharing your setup Laurie! I got my treadmill desk in mid-July. Have not had time to take any photos yet. On deadline with a revision…plus getting ready for our regional conference in a month. Plus, too busy taking photos of my garden. :) which looks much better than a desk.

  5. Ken Zeman says:

    Why dont you just go for a run like I do. I have been running 12 miles a week getting ready for ski season. Congratultions on the book.
    We had our first snow of the year today. Hope we get more soon so we can get the trails ready.

  6. Pingback: Another book deal: a how-to guide for teen changemakers! | Laurie Thompson

  7. Hi Laurie,

    Checking back to see how you’re doing with your treadmill desk. I am curious what speed you usually set it at when you’re writing. And also how long you tend to use it each day. Thanks!

    • Hi Mary,

      I haven’t been using it much for the last few months. I had thyroid surgery, and then went hypothyroid for a while, and I’m just starting to feel like I might have enough energy for life, let alone exercise. So, the treadmill has been collecting dust, but only because I’ve been physically unable to use it. With some new meds I think I’m starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m hoping to get back on soon!

      Up until the surgery, I was using it every day, usually doing about 2 miles an hour, depending on what kind of work I was doing. It seemed like I could go faster (2-3) if I was just doing email, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, critiques, etc., but for drafting or serious revisions I had to do 1 or even sometimes 0.5 mph. Between mom duties, I would typically do 2 solid hours on the treadmill, take a lunch break, then do 2 more solid hours. I might hop on for brief stints here and there at other times before or after those blocks, or not. If I did, I might just work standing up rather than doing any more walking.

      I lost a bunch of weight, which I’ve since gained back and more since the surgery. I felt great and was super productive. I’m hoping all of that comes back once I can start back up again.

      How about you? What have you found so far? Did you ever get photos of your setup posted? I’d love to see! :)

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