Walk and Work – Get Off Your Butt

May 4, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Gadgets and Good Stuff | 10 Comments
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walknwork-station-12I spend an average of 12-14 hours a day on my computer: checking and responding to email, social networking, editing articles for WOW-Women On Writing, doing analysis and editing of book manuscripts for clients, working on a TV series adaptation of my book The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, and writing the first draft of a new book project. That’s a lot of sedentary chair time.

As writers, it’s really hard to carve out time to take care of ourselves physically. I don’t know about you, but it seems that whenever I do take the time to go to the gym or out for a walk, I have so many story ideas that come to me when I have absolutely no way to write them down.

Then I saw a piece about the work and walk station on 20/20. I knew creating a treadmill computer workstation would be a great way to continue creating and drop the 30 lbs. that began padding my small frame little-by-little over the last six years. Finally, a way to get back into those Size 0 jeans! How’s that for multi-tasking.

So, I asked my handy-dandy hubby (a general contractor) to build something for me, using my HealthRider R60 SoftStrider treadmill. He suggested we repurpose a Pottery Barn ladder bookshelf to hold the computer. Hubby removed the lower shelves, then bought and cut a laminate board (from Home Depot) to fit around the treadmill console and work as a keyboard and mouse table. He secured the board to the treadmill handles by extra-strength Velcro strips (and it doesn’t budge). The height of the table is perfect for me—keeping my shoulders/elbows at a 90 degree L while I walk and type on my ergonomic split keyboard. (Yes, I’m using a Microsoft keyboard with my iMac until Apple comes up with one.) I have a wireless mouse, and also internet wi-fi throughout the house, so my work and walk station is complete with everything I need. Though I may invest in a set of external speakers, so if hubby wants to watch a DVD, he’ll be able to hear it over the sound of the moving treadmill. The best part about the way this station is constructed is that the Velcro allows the keyboard table to be removed easily, so the treadmill can be used normally.

walknwork-station-2My next foray into creating the ultimate active writing space will be to see how/if I can use a headset and Dictate, Apple’s voice-recognition software, to “write” my next book while I get into shape.

And, of course, I still have to decorate my creative space. I’m so excited! I’m considering creating a giant vision board on the entire wall around my workstation, or maybe a colorful, hand-painted craft and inspiration word cloud… Stay tuned for future posts showing my completed space—and an update about how my computer-chair butt has been transformed into a fitness magazine booty!

What are you doing to stay in shape? Do you have a fitness routine that works with your writing and computer-time schedule?

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10 Comments »

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  1. A business station at the gym would be a great idea! Although, it’s so easy to lose track of time spent on the computer. Just with putting up a blog post, responding to email, and doing a little social networking, you realize how long you’ve been on when the treadmill reaches 100 minutes and turns itself off!

  2. That is absolutely brilliant. If only they would put in a business station on the treadmills at the gym.

  3. I have a Rott/Shep and a Lab/Pit and I’ve had one of them on with me at a time–and that was challenging enough to keep from tripping. I can’t imagine trying to fit all three of us on the treadmill! But they’re like children, you can set boundaries. The computer walk/workstation is the alpha female’s (your) walking time. If they don’t like it, bark at ’em (but you’ll have to sound serious). 😉

  4. It would be perfect for someone (like a prolific blogger and social networking diva) to walk at a slow enough pace, yet still burn calories and avoid continental ass drift.

    • I love this idea and could use the exercise, but my two dogs will just not stand for it.

  5. I love this. With my knee still in recovery, the treadmill is only good for me at slow speeds due to the pounding it can take if I go faster. I always try to speed it up and I end up with a dislocated knee–but that’s because I get bored staring at the wall. Now this….is….fantastic. Can you please find me a handy dandy contractor/prince charming guy to build it for me…and stick around too see my new booty? lol

  6. Surprisingly, it’s a lot easier than you would think. Because the walking movement is something you don’t have to think about how to do (like not having to remember to breathe), it really doesn’t take any special coordination. You can have your fingers on the keyboard typing (connecting with your thoughts) and your legs are just doing their thing at the same time.

  7. Impressive! I’m not sure I’m coordinated enough to pull that off. Knowing me, I’d get so into reading something that I’d trip or go flying off of it. Very true that it’s hard to work exercise into a writing routine. I’ve yet to master that.

  8. It’s awesome. I’m on it right now. I’ve been checking and answering some emails and I’ve already walked almost a mile at 2.0 pace and 2.0 incline. =)

  9. I have wanted one of these ever since I heard about them last year. We have a treadmill & now we have wifi in the house, so it might actually be workable. Thanks for the how-to and the inspiration!


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