On Day 3 of my long-coveted trial of a treadmill desk, I sat down.
Day 1 had been all about showing off.
Yes, you can type while walking, I chirped to my fellow reporters.
No, you can’t fall off at the machine’s top speed of two miles per hour, I assured the ergonomics safety squad.
On Day 2, while strolling in my newsroom cubicle, I had written emails, made phone calls, read material for a story I am researching, bragged to my friends on instant message and scrolled triumphantly through my “tread desk” folder, where I had filed such articles from my own newspaper as “Get Up. Get Out. Don’t Sit,” “Stand Up While You Read This!,” “How Walking May Lower Breast Cancer Risk” and “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?”
- Soon You Could Get Plastic Currency Notes: Find Out More
- Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor Starrer Befikre Gets A Thumbs Up
- Supreme Court Seeks Centre’s Response Over Various Issues Regarding Demonetisation
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Writes To West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
- Bigg Boss 10 December 8 Review: Swami Om Feels Cheated, lashes Out At Gaurav For Jail Punishment
- South Korean President Park Geun-Hye Impeached Over Corruption Scandal
- Former Air Chief SP Tyagi Arrested In VVIP Chopper Scam
- After Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya’s Twitter Account Hacked
- Find Out What PM Narendra Modi Told Cabinet Over Demonetisation Decision
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh Assures Safety Of All Tourists Stranded On Havelock Island
- Government To Waive Service Tax On Debit, Credit Card Transactions Of Up To Rs 2,000
- President Pranab Mukherjee Criticises Parliament Disruptions Over Demonetisation
- Pakistan International Airlines Flight Carrying Over 40 Passenger On Board Crashes
- Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
- US-President Elect Donald Trump Named TIME’s Person Of The Year 2016
By lunchtime on Day 3, at a slow-but-steady one mile per hour, I had burned about 300 calories without noticing. When I finished a long phone interview, I was thirsty, a little sweaty and downright cheery, feeling the slight mood elevation that comes from a walk through the park.
But when an editor asked for the top of my story, I spent half an hour straining to form a sentence. Slowing down didn’t help.
“You know I need all of your energy,” my brain seemed to be saying, “if you want this to be good.”
First commercialised in 2007, treadmill desks, which consist of an adjustable-height desk surface atop a treadmill optimized for use at slow speeds, were clearly gaining ground.
It took just a few minutes to remove my regular desk to make room for the $4,500 loaner from Steelcase. (LifeSpan, Ergotron, TreadDesk and others also make popular models, starting around $1,000). Other than it moving under my feet, it’s just your basic desk with a console that displays my distance, time and calories burned.
After a few false starts, I began to learn to adjust my speed to the task at hand. Sometimes I was walking too fast to concentrate, but sometimes a slow pace seemed to be a drag on my work. So when I felt my body getting in the way of my brain, I just pushed the treadmill’s up or down buttons.
When it comes to synthesising a lot of information into a coherent article, the hardest part of my job, I still have the powerful urge to sit. And I pause when editors come by to talk, because it seems rude to burn calories while they stand still. But ideal email-writing speeds range from half a mile to 1.5 miles per hour, and the perfect balance for phone interviews is closer to two miles per hour.
As my second week drew to a close, I was logging five-mile days. It seemed clear that I was reaping some of the health benefits of the treadmill desk.
But as I started to write this – sitting down – I wondered whether I had missed out on something almost as important that it might offer.
Could walking while writing actually improve my stories, as well as my health? Could those punchy but profound endings that I invariably conceive when I’m out exercising but can’t remember when I’m in front of the screen be channeled by the tread desk?
I might just have to keep it for a while to find out.