One year of using a treadmill desk

I rotate through shoes each day. So far, they've lasted a long time. Walk, walk, walk.

I rotate through shoes each day. So far, they’ve lasted a long time. Walk, walk, walk.

Here’s the fact I like most about the past 12 months of walking 50 to 70 miles a week while working: One hospitalization.

Yep. In years past, that number would be two or three hospital stays in a 12-month period. And the only reason for the last visit in November was because I caught the virus from hell.

Luck? Perhaps. But isn’t luck something we make ourselves?

There’s no doubt my conditioning is much better. I don’t get tired when we’re out and I walk a long distance. I can stand while others with normal health sit. I can stand all day now.

(Knock on wood to all of this, as life has a way of punishing me when I write good things here. I’ll risk it.)

So, in the last 12+ months, I estimate I’ve walked across the country – 2,500 miles or more. I average 10 to 14 miles a day, and 50 to 60 a week. Sometimes more than 70. My record for one day is 18 miles.

Total steps in the last year: I’m in the millions. I wish that total was in dollars.

I do my treatments while I walk. I eat M&Ms Minis while I walk. I eat and spill yogurt while I walk. I’m writing this post while I’m walking. And so far I’ve done all of these without wiping out, though I’ve had close calls.

The one downside created by the miles is planter fasciitis. The reality: my feet hurt. It’s hard to walk barefooted now. But it’s been worth the benefits to my lungs and the endurance I’ve gained in my legs.

I’ve lost about 10 pounds, a lot of it around my gut. And I’ve done it without eating less.

I’m grateful I read the New Yorker article a year ago and learned about walking on a treadmill while working. It had never occurred to me that there was an alternative to sitting all day at a computer. Lucky me, I say. Lucky me.

 

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Treadmill Desk: 3-month Update

Three months down, a lifetime to go. Here are my observations:

My fingernails and toenails grow faster. I know that sounds odd, like I’m Howard Hughes holed up in Mexico watching Ice Station Zebra, but I swear I cut them more often, especially my fingernails.

I can put my pants on without falling over. That makes me sound like a drunk or something, but I have incredible stability now. It doesn’t mean I can stand in front a of moving train and stop it, but I can give flamingos a run for their money.

I’ve tripled my weekly distance. I went back and looked at my first blog posts. I started with weekly mileage in the 20s. Not I’m walking between 55 and 70 miles a week. My daily record is 16 miles.

I walk faster. My minimum speed now is 1.3 MPH, but I can type at up to 2.7 MPH, though the more concentration I need, the slower I go.

The detritus of cystic fibrosis pollutes any desk.

The detritus of cystic fibrosis pollutes any desk.

My conditioning has improved. At a work dinner this week in Manhattan Beach, I dreaded walking up the hills to the van after a dinner of raw clams, scallops, french fries, and three scoops of ice cream, including a maple-bacon flavor that made cry it was so good. Surprise, I made it and didn’t feel completely winded. And, I kept talking while I walked. Miracle.

My work pants fit better. I’ve lost about five pounds, and most of it seems to be from around my waist. I still eat too many Mini M&M’s.

Treadmill desks get just as messy as regular desks. I need to move my Denver Broncos trash can closer.

Last thought: I wish I’d started walking while working years ago. I’d be in much better shape today.

Treadmill desk update – background tasking at its best

[Written with British words to make it easier for my two mentally challenged British readers to understand. You know who you are.]

After three weeks of using a treadmill desk, my arse is so ripped you could shoot it with a gun and the bullet would bounce off. I have a rear-end Superman would be jealous of.

Go ahead, shoot me in the rear. Nothing's gonna happen. It's like rock. I look just like this now, but without the curly cement hair. © PRILL Mediendesign - Fotolia.com

Go ahead, shoot me in the rear. Nothing’s gonna happen. It’s like rock. I look just like this now, but without the curly cement hair, which looks a lot like a brain popping out of his head. © PRILL Mediendesign – Fotolia.com

Actually, I’m not writing this post while walking. I’m too tired because I walked 12 miles yesterday in just over six hours, and 10.5 miles today.

Five minutes ago, I was stretching on the floor and it was hard to get up. It feels like the first week again, but only because I’ve upped the speed to 2.0 mph, and sometimes 2.5 mph.

And I’m feeling every mph of the increase and wishing I could rip the cap off of bottle of Motrin and take it all, pills falling out of my mouth like broken teeth. All because I’m a madman and want to see how far I can push myself.

Working on the treadmill is better than I ever thought it would be, as I don’t have a lot of other ways to move during the day. And I’d never go outside and walk 12 miles all at once. Bor-ing. But doing it in the background as I work, which I have to do, well, it’s awesome for someone like me. And I feel like it’s helping my conditioning.

There are only two downsides that I can see so far:

  1. I drink a lot of water and thus visit the loo more often.
  2. Now that I’ve upped the speed, I sweat more and get hot and have to strip down to my boxers and running shoes, which made my wife turn her head today. She noticed the man musk too. If I didn’t have to work, an Axe commercial might have played out in my office. I’m irresistible in black and blue labrador boxers and orange/gray running shoes.

My weight is still the same, but it could be because I eat a lot of crunchy Cheetos or M&Ms mixed with gummy bears while walking. Or it’s the steroids I just finished. I’m trying to cut down on the snacks. 

That’s it for tonight. I plan on sleeping like a baby – A BABY WHO JUST WALKED 10.5 MILES! Oh, yeah, I’m awesome like a possum.

Treadmill Desk: my first EOW report

Totals for the five-day work week:

This is 7 a.m., morning hair and breathing treatments. Yes, @seanset, those are my new whale boxers.  The good part about my wife discovering the blog is that she can pictures.  However, I thought I looked like a cool, hip dude while I was multitasking. This picture proves I'm more like that guy at Venice Beach who plays the harmonica, guitar and knee cymbals all at one time. How depressing.

This is 7 a.m., morning hair and breathing treatments. Yes, @seanset, those are my new whale boxers.
The good part about my wife discovering the blog is that she can take pictures. However, I thought I looked like a cool, hip dude while I was multitasking. This picture proves I’m more like that guy at Venice Beach who plays the harmonica, guitar and knee cymbals all at one time. How depressing.

Time Walking: 24.77 hours

Steps taken: 71,050

Miles walked: 21.26

Calories burned: 3,951

Mini M&M’s eaten: 3,951

Body weight: Forgot to check this morning

Thoughts for the week:

If you’re considering a treadmill desk and are not an Olympian, or have not exercised enough in the past 12 months, listen to me closely, please. Do not overdo it during your first week.

After five straight days of walking, I can’t walk anymore. Everything from my waist down hurts, is tight, is sore. And if I were to sit down on the couch right now, I would Rip Van Winkle it and wake up on Monday.

TGIF carries new meaning as I try to find a comfortable position while sitting. I’m 14 again with growing pains. Motrin, if I could take it, would help. I’m considering half a pain pill.

Now, despite my whining and crying, and fighting through the aches and pains this week with my OCD running wild, I am so glad I bought this LifeSpan treadmill. I really enjoy walking while working. That’s it. I like it better than sitting. And once I get conditioned, I’m sure I’ll like it even more.

The big surprise of the week: how much I enjoy walking after dinner. I didn’t expect that would happen.

And, best of all, I’m getting better at harder tasks, such as concentrating on conference calls and eating M&M’s, while walking. It was more difficult earlier in the week.

At times during my stressful week, the treadmill really helped. I can’t explain it. The rhythm? Exercise? Concentration on walking and not the stress? Who knows, but this week came with crazy, “why do I work for a corporation,” stress, and I still managed to overdo it and log good steps and miles.

So, a giant “thank you” and writer’s hug to Susan Orlean and her article about treadmill desks. The universe led me to it and I followed its lead. Luck rains down on me once again.

Treadmill Desk: Day Three

Day-Three Results

(Sung to the Nancy Sinatra version) These boots were made for walking, and that's just what they do, all day, while I work.  Okay, it kind of sucks, but I'm tired.

(Sung to the Nancy Sinatra version) “These boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, all day, while I work.”
Okay, it kind of sucks, but I’m tired from walking in those boots all day.

Time Walking: 6 hours, 1 minute

Steps taken: 17,340

Miles walked: 5.12

Calories burned: 945

Body weight: Who cares after three days

Thoughts:

My calves are broken. I don’t think they work anymore. It’s like I’m wearing ski boots, but not.

After stretching on the floor this afternoon, I couldn’t get up and had to crawl to the chair for support to stand up again.

Late this afternoon, I sat down on the couch next to my daughter. Then I was asleep. Bang, just like that, lights out, until my wife woke me for dinner.

Holy mother of god, this walking stuff is almost like exercise. Who knew sitting all day wasn’t a sport.

I find it easier to walk 6 hours over the course of the day than to exercise on a treadmill for 30 minutes watching the clock. Time on the hamster wheel moves unlike any other form of time. (Thanks to @seanset for calling me a hamster, indirectly.)

If I could still take Motrin, I’d down one of those 800mg tablets like I was drinking the finest wine ever made. I may dream of Motrin tonight.

When I take a break from work now, I sit down.

Treadmill Desk: Day Two

The good news for today is that I start the TOBI Podhaler tonight for the first time. However, I'd like to speak to Novartis about the design of the packaging. It's a little bit feminine. Can they create a more masculine design and color scheme? Camouflage with dead bacteria piled up would work for me.

The good news for today is that I start the TOBI Podhaler tonight for the first time. However, I’d like to speak to Novartis about the design of the packaging. It’s a little bit feminine. Can they create a more masculine design and color scheme? Camouflage with drawings of bloody, dead bacteria heaped in open graves would work for me.

[I’m behind on replying to your comments. My apologies.]

Day Two Results

Time Walking: 4 hours, 37 minutes

Steps taken: 10,850

Miles walked: 2.93

Calories burned: 652

Body weight: Didn’t check. It’s only been one day.

Thoughts:

I overdid it yesterday and the CF gods punished me for my hubris.

I didn’t feel so hot when I woke up this morning, and I had some mild hemoptysis (lungs opening up yesterday? Desatting?).

My lower back is sore and my ass hurts. And my calves feel like someone whacked them with a cricket bat (that’s for all the Brits who read my blog while sitting on the can).

My wife wasn’t surprised when I told her my results yesterday and how I was hurting today. “You always overdo it, don’t you?” she said, or something close to that. Yes, I do. And I completely ignored the advice everyone gives about starting out slowly on your treadmill desk, which you’ll ignore too when you get yours. (You know who your are.)

So, overall, I was in pretty bad shape today and had to walk at a snail’s pace throughout the day. Yet, even slowly, I put some miles behind me. And I got my work done.

After dinner, my wife was amazed, yes, amazed, when I got back on the treadmill to work and didn’t sit down. Wasn’t I tired? Yes, I was, but that’s exactly it: the treadmill improves energy, the chair doesn’t. I’ve had it backwards all of these years.

Key lessons learned:

For the second day: the more the complicated the work, the slower I have to walk. It takes concentration to walk on a treadmill and keep your balance. Reaching for a pen or nebulizer while on a moving belt is like that moment where you slip on a wet floor but catch yourself just in time. Whew, that was close. Now I know why the treadmill I have has a speed limit of 4 mph.

You can’t pace back and forth on a treadmill, but you can dance. I did spend time pacing back and forth a lot today, but not on the treadmill. Rather, in my house, as work was a stressful, solid 11-hour day.

Here’s today’s work joke: How many [insert your job title in plural] does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, and nine managers, GMs, and VPs to tell him/her nine different ways it should be done and take credit for it when it’s finished. 

Ah, corporate life and decision-making by committee. Delightful.

Keep on trucking.

Treadmill Desk: Day One

Day one results:

Time walking: 4.0 hours

4 hours on the nose. Now I just have to do this for the rest of my life, or the rest of the work days in my life.

4 hours on the nose. Now I just have to do this for the rest of my life, or the rest of the work days in my life.

Steps taken: 15,130

Miles walked: 5.18

Calories burned: 757

Body weight: 213.5

Day 1 lessons learned:

  • I can read and type an email response and control the mouse at up to 2.5 mph. No problem. If I need to concentrate, I have to reduce the speed.
  • Treadmills generate heat. And in my small office it can be hot in the summertime. Our AC bill is going to go up.
  • My hip is killing me. Not sure why. When I walk the dogs, it never bothers me. Something about my stride on the treadmill isn’t right. I hope this won’t be a deal breaker, but I am concerned. Hopefully, my legs and surrounding muscles will continue to strengthen and the pain will go away.
  • My posture is much better on the treadmill than sitting. When I sat down today, I was surprised by how upright I was.
  • “Treadmill fail” videos are funny. Type it into youtube and prepare to laugh. I almost wiped out a couple of times today.
  • My friend Dr. Nanos would enjoy something like this. Or I think she would.
  • Wearing the Vest and doing breathing treatments while walking takes some coordination, though it seemed like my doses of hypertonic saline went fast. I need to time them on and off the treadmill.
  • Life is good.