About Me

This is the personal blog of Don McAllister, the host and producer of ScreenCastsOnline.

Social Networking Links
« Initial WWDC Keynote Thoughts | Main | MacHeist nanoBundle »

My New Walking Desk

Ok, So I've got a new desk. A walking treadmill desk!

This is basically a standing desk with a treadmill. It's not my permanent workplace, I still have my normal desk, but I'm hoping to build up to spending a few hours on the walking desk every day.

So why a walking desk?

I've read a lot about the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time. It doesn't make for comfortable reading, especially for some one like me, who spends seven or eight hours every day in front of my monitor.

I've also read about the benefits of a standing desk. I've tried it and I didn't really like it. There's something very fatiguing about standing in the same spot for prolonged periods of time.

The alternative is a walking desk.

First thing to state up front is the walking desk is not an exercise machine. The treadmill is purpose built for walking at slow speeds. There's no incline setting and the usual speed is between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour. The idea is to just keep moving and not break into a sweat. At this speed, it's fairly easy to type, use a trackpad and I even can use my Wacom Tablet. It's early days (it only arrived today), but I was quite happy answering emails, doing some post production stuff and various admin stuff. To break myself in gently, after the effort of setting the thing up (it's a bit of a beast), I decided to limit myself to just 45 minutes. I'll gradually build up over the coming months.

I also don't intend to do podcasts or record my ScreenCastsOnline videos whilst walking. I have a normal desk kitted out for my recording activities.

I'll do a more detailed post over the next few weeks, but to answer a few specific questions and comments on Twitter.

Which model did I get?
I went for a commercially available model rather than build my own. I just don't have the time and I wanted to get one that was specifically designed for the job. I went with the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk. Horrendously expensive and almost twice the price in the UK than in the US. At least I can claim it as a business expense and reclaim the VAT. It's not even the top of the range. However, build quality is excellent and the desk area is huge.

What mount did I get for the Monitor?
I can't remember! I got a standard VESA mount for the 27" Thunderbolt Display but I can't remember where I got the stand from.

What is the Wallpaper?
I picked up the wooden wallpaper from here

Why don't you just go out and enjoy some fresh air and walk?
After a long day seated, I tend to go for a long walk outside each evening, to try and compensate for inactivity of the day. I'm not a runner but I do enjoy my long walk. So wouldn't it be good to walk whilst doing some work during the day. Hence the walking desk. I'll still go for my evening walks, but I'll supplement that with walking during the day to remain productive and gain all the health benefits. It's not to replace my other activities, but if I have to work seven or eight hours a day indoors. why not spend some of that time walking?

Just as a bit of fun, I did a time lapse of setting up the new beast - enjoy!

Reader Comments (10)

Good idea! Very interested in this as I also spend 8+ hours a day at a Mac.
Are you sure you don't want to try the next MacBreak Weekly on it? I'm sure it would be a hit with Leo and friends.

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

Nice one Don. I have a sit/stand desk and love it – basically I work for an hour sitting then and hour stood up. The desk has a little electric motor to raise and lower. I know what you mean about feeling fatigued when standing still for prolonged periods. Which is why I switch every hour. I use a little app called BreakTime to notify me of when to change.

Quite liberating to work standing up. I read somewhere that there's 50% less pressure on your spine when you stand, as apposed to sitting. I guess with yours you'll be burning calories too, so win, win! :)

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan F

Surprised the treadmill part needs to be so long when you're only ever going to walk on the part nearest the desk. Would never fit in my home office!

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCalum

I see your mouse is on your left. Do you use a special left handed mouse, if yes what is the model?

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Knouse

White flag ... I surrender!

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Petrie

Ah, that's a Contour Shuttle for editing

June 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterDon McAllister

I can see its only going to me a matter of time before you get a third monitor so that two can be on your main desk once again, and one on the walking desk.

Watch this space...

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Isaacs

After that build job you shouldn't need exercise for some time… that made me tired just watching :-)

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMacsterguy

Don,I hate to sound negative about's generally not my style.
Perhaps you might see this,more in essence,as constructive criticism?

However...and I know we go way back, with our love of Macs and all things
Apple...this looks like another way of avoiding "real" exercise! More importantly
another trap from getting up, and away from, what I call "our ABS - Apple Bubble Syndrome."

I personally think you would get more benefit,both physically and mentally
by joining a gym and /or swimming pool. (I think i do recall you saying sometime
ago that you were a member of your local pool - perhaps that wasn't to your joy?)
Hope you are not offended by my being upfront.

Research has shown time and time again that real physical exercise, using
all the major muscle groups is not only good for us but vital in maintaining
a well balanced life.

More recently,research by Italian doctors have shown that there is
more than just a casual link between optimum longevity,overall mental acuity, and exercise.

Those billions of neurones in our magnificent 24/7,365,70+years, brains,
work more efficiently when we are trim and exercise routinely.Both upper
and lower body exercise I hasten to add...ahem! Lol!

Is it not possible to extract yourself for an hour or so from your Apple room?
Maybe you haven't yet found the exercise that you personally would enjoy and
thereby help in motivation? Perhaps a chat at your local gym or leisure centre?
Finding the right exercise can make all the difference Don.

For me,getting out and away from my Apple routines ( and sub-routines!) is a blessing.
Coming back fresh and reinvigorated helps tremendously,and usually gives me a better
perspective on work, home,and relationships.

Just my 2 cents worth.

I sincerely wish you well, and I will be popping in to see how it's going.
Best of luck.


June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC.J.

Well done Don. Although you say it's not exercise, it actually is. Especially if you spend hours on it. Sure it's not as much exercise as a 'proper' treadmill, but it will make a difference.

I've gone more traditional. I have a regular treadmill in my garage and I take my iPad out there, hang it (in a case) over the console and walk away at a decent pace while catching up on some TV programmes or even an SCO episode from time to time. On a good day I might take it up to 6km/h for a bit, but generally always manage 5km/h. Next trick will be a wall mount for the iPad so it's at a better height.

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllister

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>