OK, here’s the deal. Those of you that know me know I struggle with migraines. Like, really really struggle with them. Well, I’m on a new cocktail of prescription drugs that seems to be working at keeping migraines at bay — but one of the side effects is that I am gaining weight. And boobs. I suspect the two are closely related. 🙂
Anyway, while my life certainly hasn’t gotten any less busy, it’s still true that for the majority of my day, I sit in a chair and type on a computer. I figured it would be awesome if I could transform my work desk into a standing treadmill desk. It would help me lose weight, make me healthier in general, promote a healthy mindset at school, and not take any MORE time out of my already crazy life. I say that’s win-win. (Well, actually win win win win, but who’s counting)
One of the first problems with building a treadmill desk is that such endeavors can be quite expensive. Since we just bought a house (yes insurance covered some, but we ended paying upwards of 80K, so needless to say, money is tight) I figured I had about a $10 budget. 🙂 Thankfully, my mother in law said I could use her treadmill, which was collecting dust in the shed of the last person that borrowed it. That was the first big expense, and it cost me $0. Well within budget.
The next hurdle was to get my desk, well, on the treadmill. Or in front of it, or something like that. This treadmill is on the small side, so I guesstimated it would fit under the desk, and I could just raise my desk up to accommodate the height of me standing on the treadmill. I guessed on how high it would have to go, and went to the lumber yard. I bought 12 cinder blocks. (Bricks, the kind you build houses with.) They were just over a buck a piece, so while I went over my $10 budget, it wasn’t by much. So here are the materials I had to work with:
Hauling bricks is hard work. I just want to put that out in the universe. Go hug a bricklayer or something, those folks work hard for a living. Anyway, I never really measured, but I sorta figured raising the desk by 3 blocks would allow the treadmill to fit underneath it. I had no idea if that would make the desk too high — and quite honestly, when I stacked the bricks, I was a little nervous.
As it turns out, I had to rearrange this really nice brick layout, because my electrical outlet is behind one of the bricks on the right. After asking Donna (my wife) to help me lift the desk, it was time to hook stuff back up and get the treadmill in place. Why did I ask Donna to help me? Because if it was a colossal failure, I knew she’d be kind. 🙂 Here is the finished treadmill desk:
How does it work? Well, I only walked on it for about two hours today, since I put it in place during my lunch hour. In those few hours though, I learned a few things.
- Converse All-Stars, while the most amazing and awesome shoe ever created, are not good for walking on a treadmill. I will be wearing my walking shoes to work from now on.
- Treadmills are rather loud. Probably not all of them, but this one is kinda noisy. For the price, I’m not complaining, and Donna says she can’t hear it out in the library, so I’ll live with the noise. It’s something to consider if your situation calls for more hush hush though.
- There are very few things that can’t be done while walking on the treadmill. Really. I’m surprised and amazed at how well I can manipulate my keyboard, mouse, etc. I can even drink coffee without spilling.
- I need a fan. Even walking slowly, it gets hot quickly. My office is always uncomfortably hot anyway, and walking doesn’t help. Since the treadmill is noisy anyway, I don’t think a fan will be too bad.
- So far, I’ve gotten many more compliments than rolled eyes. I suspected people would think I was crazy, or just playing in my office — but both students and adults alike thought it was a great idea. In fact, our phys-ed instructor was REALLY impressed with the idea.
- Oddly enough, I get a feeling of accomplishment when I work while walking on the treadmill. It’s not as if I’m doing anything differently, but while my “never get everything done” sort of job is often frustrating, the fact that I walked a few miles really makes the day seem more productive. It’s quite nice.
If you’ve been considering building a treadmill desk, or even just a standing desk, I’d recommend doing it similar to how I did. Try to be cheap. I have no idea if I’ll stick with this for a long time (I really hope I do), but since it cost me about $12 total — I’m not going to feel bad if I fail miserably. However, since Donna immediately claimed my awesome desk chair, if I do give up the treadmill, I don’t think I’ll get back my comfy chair… 🙂