Web Workout: Make a Workstation out of a Treadmill

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?

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