Normally the first week of January is when people hit the gym to make good on their New Year’s resolution. Not this year. This is the kind of winter that makes you think about
leaving Chicago forever how nice it would be to work out at home. Or, perhaps, you could work out while you work—at a treadmill desk.
I’m sure you’ve read about how we’re all killing ourselves slowly by sitting all day (if you haven’t, I’m truly sorry to make your day worse), which makes the idea of a treadmill desk pretty appealing.
I tested out one of these numbers, made by Lifespan Fitness, at NeoCon this past summer (remember that season?). I had been intrigued after reading Susan Orlean’s story in The New Yorker about her treadmill desk. After walking and simultaneously typing for a couple minutes at about 1.5 miles per hour on the demo, I was pretty convinced it was doable—but I wasn’t sure. So I reached out to a couple Chicagoans who use a treadmill desk regularly.
First up, intellectual propery litigation attorney Bill Frankel, who has a LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 (about $1,500 on Amazon) in his corner office on the 35th floor of the NBC Tower: He switches back and forth between his sit-down desk, where he finds it easier to read papers and books, and his treadmill desk, where he prefers to field phone calls and attend to tasks on the computer. He has a Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, which he moves from his sit-down desk to his treadmill desk, where he has a second monitor. One average, he walks about three hours a day. “It may sound crazy, but I simply enjoy walking and working at the same time,” he says, though he admits that taking notes and drinking coffee while in motion is challenging.
Josh Golden uses the same model at his web development firm Table XI. He got it last January, and not long after he started using it, lost seven pounds without doing anything different, besides walking while working. “I take almost all conference calls at two miles per hour,” he says. Doesn't that have a nice ring to it? I'm sold. Sort of.
I work from home, and while I love the idea of burning calories while working, I am a design editor. And this thing is not so attractive. Could a carpenter build you a simple, Parsons-esque tall desk, perhaps with steel legs and a nice reclaimed wood top?
Local designer Paul Schulman had another suggestion—to build a nice wood frame around the treadmill part, too. And that got me thinking—you could also paint, upholster, or wallpaper this frame. So what do you think, design/fitness junkies? Are you with me?