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Industry Insight

Treadmill to Oblivion

By Richard Romano
Published: June 29, 2012

In my old...er age, I have become a bit of a fitness buff: I do CrossFit, work out with a personal trainer, and participate in every 5K or higher run I can find. The car is my enemy, and if I can’t walk somewhere, I question that it’s a worthwhile destination. (Well, okay, not really, but I wish I could!) Whilst I am an avid runner, I often find that treadmills are the most convenient and practical way to run, as running “out and about” inevitably leads to problems of traffic, bicycles, poorly maintained (or abruptly ending) sidewalks, and, especially here in the Northeast, not-always-favorable weather. So I was bemused to read about the “treadmill desk.” Sure, was my initial thought, my job is almost 100% sedentary (except for the part that involves running through airports), so why not add some kind of practical fitness to a desk job? Wouldn’t it help with the so-called “obesity epidemic”?
The TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk was designed around how you work. It includes a sturdy work surface measuring 46.5" wide and 31" deep to easily support your laptop, printer, computer display and other electronics devices. The treadmill console is conveniently located in the front of the desk so it doesn't take space away from the working surface.
Speaking solely for myself, I can see two main problems. The first is that I usually run rather than walk, which makes getting actual work done difficult. (I have tried texting while on the treadmill and it ends up being unintentionally amusing for the recipient, largely thanks to Autocorrect.) The other issue I have is that I sweat like a lawn sprinkler—even when walking—and could easily envision myself blowing up the computer (it’s been done before, only with coffee). But I suppose the biggest problem I have with the idea of a treadmill desk is that it seems like...well, torture, in a way. As healthy as working out on a treadmill may be, I don’t know that it is emotionally healthy to be so tied to work. The hour or so a day I spent at the gym is important downtime that lets me take my mind off the stresses of the day, unwind a little, socialize with people who have nothing to do with the printing industry, and then return to the office refreshed and reenergized (if not a little achier) for the aggravations of the afternoon. Also, too, it kind of reminds of those old Victorian workhouses, where the poor or criminals would be forced to walk on treadmills that powered corn mills or whatever. Mother Nature Network takes one for a spin.

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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