Sunday, January 15, 2012

Project Walk-At-My-Desk

If you follow my Twitter account at all, then you may remember that last year I posted a few times about Project Stand-At-My-Desk.  I had stumbled across an article talking about using a treadmill desk - walking while you work.  The concept intrigued me and I searched around for more information.

If you decide to do your own searching, you'll quickly discover that desks fall into 2 general categories: 1) DIY, 2) Sell-a-kidney expensive.  I don't trust the resulting quality if I DIM, and I rather like my kidneys.  So for the most part, as quickly as I learned about the concept, I just as quickly lost interest.

For some reason, the thought wouldn't go away.  At the time, I was walking several miles a day around the neighborhood, and for the most part I enjoyed it.  Bad weather and pain or injury would reduce that enjoyment considerably, and after a while it's just boring.  The whole reason I started walking around the neighborhood in the first place is that I find stationary exercise machines just boring beyond words.  But at the end of the day, I drive a desk for a living.  I spend all day sitting.  Even the hour or so of walking I was getting just couldn't compete with that much inactivity, and I was putting on weight.  And I'm not exactly small to begin with.

Knowing that I needed to do something, I would continue to read and search about treadmill desks.  For the most part, it was pretty universal that it is rough to get started, but after a couple of weeks it gets better, and after a month or so people wouldn't go back to sitting at a desk.  And in most cases, weight loss over the course of a year or so was not-insignificant.  This sounds like the magic bullet.  I can distract myself from the boring exercise by doing work at the time.

A semi-universal theme is that people recommend that you don't go straight from sitting to walking.  A common recommendation is to stand at your desk first, and then if that holds up, go to walking.  This sounded like a good compromise, so I managed to find some storage containers and elevate my keyboard and monitor.  This was Project Stand-At-My-Desk.

Cable management becomes a really big deal when you move things ~2 more feet into the air.  The effort of getting everything rearranged was enough that I couldn't just give up after 5 minutes and go back to sitting.  It required every bit of an hour or two to get everything set up.

In the end, I lasted about 6 weeks.  I toughed it out for the first couple of weeks, armed with the knowledge that it would be hard, and you just need to get through it.  But the pain never went away.  If anything, it got worse.  I tried different shoes, I tried an anti-fatigue mat, I tried regular breaks.  By the time I finally gave up, I was hobbling around like an 80-yr-old man.  I wasn't feeling any healthier, wasn't any lighter, and just generally was miserable.  So, I admitted defeat, and mostly forgot about it.

And then this happened.

I respect Jeff, and it hits a little closer to home when someone I know is trying something I've been thinking about.  I returned to my Googling, and finally found a treadmill desk solution at a price that wasn't too ungodly expensive, and it just arrived yesterday.  I'll talk more about it in the next post.  I'm determined to make it work this time, and I've spent enough money that I'm not inclined to give up easily.

At the time I gave up standing, I felt pretty confident that the walking would actually be easier.  Even when I was mostly hurting, getting out to take my walk usually felt ok.  All I needed was the treadmill and an appropriate desk, so now I have that.  If it works, then at least in my case, standing before walking was not a good idea.  I never quite got around to blogging about standing, so I'll try to be better about updates regarding the walking.

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