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Summary:

by Susan Heid Sure, you’re getting things done. But for some of us, being able to drink a mug of something hot while Skyping, emailing and messaging isn’t enough. We want to burn calories too. That’s why, when I read about the workstation treadmills introduced by […]

workstation treadmillby Susan Heid

Sure, you’re getting things done. But for some of us, being able to drink a mug of something hot while Skyping, emailing and messaging isn’t enough. We want to burn calories too.

That’s why, when I read about the workstation treadmills introduced by Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic, I knew I had to have one. But I didn’t want to spend $1,600 to get it.

Here’s how I created my own workstation treadmill for a grand total of $55.

  1. Obtain a 1994 Sears 8.0 Exp “Lifestyler” from little brother, who is only to glad to get it out of his house. Cost: $0
  2. Have a metalworker friend cut down the 36-inch upright posts and reweld them so that they stand about 16 inches. Cost: $0 (if you don’t count a weekend of kitty-sitting)
  3. Build a worktable that stands about 50 inches high such that it straddles the newly shortened treadmill. Cost: $55 for 48-inch countertop, two sawhorse brackets and 16 feet of 2×4.

Now, while I work, I also walk about a mile an hour. That’s slow enough for me to type this article, read email and blogs, perform other mundane web work and drink my tea. If Levine’s calculations hold, I’m burning about 100 calories an hour. Since I typically walk three to six miles a day, I figure I’ve put in enough mileage to get from my home office in Nevada City, California to the post office in Wichita, Kansas.

But the set-up isn’t perfect.

  • There’s the derision we walking web workers face from online naysayers.
  • I can’t do phone interviews while I’m walking. I get too breathy at times (particularly when I accidentally increase my incline) and the electronics of the treadmill interfere with my recording devices.
  • I’ve faced serious injury when my cat has leapt up onto my desk and then into my arms before I’ve had a chance to straddle the foot rails for stability.
  • The crumbs dropped from my lunch always end up ground into the carpet at the end of my walking belt.
  • Although on a cold day, my walking warms me up, on a hot day, like today, when I’m done with work, I smell like I’ve just left the gym.

Want to learn more about staying healthy while staring at a display? Check out these Web Worker Daily posts.

What’s your approach for working out while hyperconnecting?

  1. I use nylon twine to secure my laptop to the reading tray of my treadmill.

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  2. DiSchaffhauser Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Even cheaper!

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  3. Can you actually jog and surf at the same time. Hrm, maybe geeks are more coordinated than was previously thought.

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  4. Dian Schaffhauser Wednesday, August 1, 2007

    Who said I was a geek?! If I were, I’d probably be earning more… :-)

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  5. Id like to try similar but using a modified exercise bike – that way I could sit down and generate electricity to power the laptop at the same time.

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  6. flurppflogger Friday, August 3, 2007

    Nice! Now all you need to do is direct the energy generated from your footsteps to a battery that powers the laptop. I’d call that a nearly perfect system. You should post this on the http://makezine.com/ forums. Somebody over there should be able to figure out how to make this thing power itself.

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  7. I agree with Steve. A bike would be awesome.

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  8. [...] for time to squeeze in your runs? You can always try making a workstation treadmill as described by Susan Heid over at Web Worker Daily. However, training is my escape from the work [...]

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  9. Honestly, that looks like the most ridiculous setup I’ve ever seen. I still think if you can’t separate your workout and online time – your online too much.

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  10. Very cool idea.. Would save me a lot of time going back and forth to the gym.. but what of the sweat getting into my nice new MacBookPro? It’s already a problem when my Ipod gets drenched at the gym?

    Still, have to give the guy credit!!!

    Adios
    CCW

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