Yesterday, I completed my first month with a Treadmill Desk. There is not that much to them, a pretty bare bones standing desk and a treadmill that runs quietly. Yet one month in I can say its the second greatest technology I have worked with in my career. It is total yin yang balance. A stress inducing device (computer) on top of a stress releasing device. My world is in harmony.
Neal Stephenson's book Some Remarks has an excellent chapter on the desks, by the time I finished it and chased a few links I was in. Stephenson calls sitting on your ass all day the asbestos of the information age resulting in weight gain, bad habits, diabetes, and cancer Its pretty hard to disagree with that.
James Levine's Health Chair Reform notes that we are solving the knock on effects of having to work in chairs but instead why not address the root of the problem?:
the physical, mental, societal, and environmental sequelae of the modern Chair Sentence have broad-based implications. There are solutions to chair-associated ill health that range from population-wide gym attendance, pharmacological administration, or genetic manipulation. Alternatively, people could get up.
Both from a physical side and the energy level side, I have found that a steady slow pace is remarkably better than sitting motionless all day. As far as productivity and what can be accomplished, so far I have found not showstoppers. Somethings are harder, some easier. But have managed to write programs, review code, write docs, calls and do all the normal things. I do not see any output disruption.
During my search, a number of helpful folks weighed in on Twitter, I do not have enough info to do a full product comparison and if you are good with tools you can likely pull together one yourself. My only advice is simple is better, wrist guard matters, good enough shoes and friction free gear matter, the treadmill should be as quiet as possible for calls. I wonder if this mode of working will inspire some new innovations in mobile technology which is quite well suited to this working style.
In the first month I logged 96 miles while getting all my normal deliverables done. Let's all hear it for the Mayo Clinic's James Levine for his pioneering work in Health Chair Reform.