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April 11, 2008

We get email: From Anne Hills, who appears to have drunk the treadmill workspace Kool-Aid (and then ate the glass it was served in)


Following is her March 30, 2008 email, which was accompanied by the photo above.

Not one word has been omitted.

Nor has the picture been Photoshopped.

Not that it could be, considering the technical capabilities of my crack photography team.

But I digress.

Without further ado, then, let's meet Ms. Hills.

    My New Treadmill Desk

    Hello. I suppose your name is Joe? So, hello Joe.

    I'm Anne Hills, a currently very fat and inactive, formerly pretty fit and outdoorsy, girl from Maine. I've been getting more and more ticked off at my ever expanding flabbiness (I'm 5'10" and weigh 270 lbs) and deteriorating condition and all of the unfortunate side effects that go along with being seriously out of shape. Problem is that like you, my life involves spending a lot of personal time on the computer and as it happens my professional life involves exactly the same thing since I'm a database developer.

    Then last Tuesday I read an interview with James Levine in CSPI's Nutrition Action (if you're unfamiliar with it — it's a wonderful little newsletter, often enlightening and regularly humorous). There was a drawing of Steelcase's walkstation and all I could think was why in hell didn't I think of it myself... But, not for work — for home.

    I ran out at 9pm that night and bought the simplest treadmill they had, ripped the wiring out of the arm, unscrewed the computer from the console and screwed it into a holder on my wall. I put the treadmill under my work table, which is my all-purpose desk, and raised my table up 16 inches using speakers, a fire safe and a pail of joint compound plus some wood blocks I sawed up for the purpose.

    WOW! I walked two miles without noticing it while watching videos online. Too easy — I cranked up the speed a bit, ahhhh — that's better.

    I have the treadmill under the table enough so that I can get very close to my laptop if need be and reach across the table without stepping on the front cover of the treadmill, yet can ride back on it to stretch out or dance a bit to my music.

    I desperately need an anti-static desk mat, and will need better sneakers with more cushioning because I'm now on my feet all the time while home. No problem. This thing is bliss. I kid you not — it's the answer to the eternal problem of "no time to take a run or hike/go to the gym/do a workout." I'm walking 2.5 mph now on the thing all the time and love it. I'm walking miles every day and I feel better already.

    This isn't a diet that I'll lose interest in or a gym membership that I'll rarely use — this is something that fits perfectly into my existing lifestyle! How rare is that? Something healthy and energizing and motivating and strengthening all while fitting neatly into my regular routine! The only thing I'm ticked about is that I didn't think of it or stumble across your site or Levine's long ago.

    I googled this today and found you and Steelcase. $6500? Good grief. But, I have to say that even the quietest treadmill would be disaster at my office because, like so many, we have an open space and it wouldn't be the sound of the motor — the problem would be the sound of shoes hitting the treadmill.

    Seriously: whap, whap, whap, slide, whap, whap. No way that's going to fly in any open office that's not already very loud, and you'd need a change of shoes for business meetings, etc, etc. However, at Steelcase prices, nobody is going to purchase their gadget who doesn't have a closed door office.

    Ahhhhhh, but I love my home contraption! Bliss. Had to share....

    Very best to you,



Back at ya, Anne.

April 11, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Why can't she just take off her shoes for the treadmill at work?

Posted by: k | May 6, 2008 11:42:52 AM

Hi Joe
What do you think the optimum position height is for a work station/treadmill ? The two positions in height using the belly button, also the optimum incline for a shorter durations.
It's funny but my family Dr since '72 was at a continuing education classes at Mayo and had the presentation done by the cardiologist (?) who promotes "Book of Joe" theory and execution of that work station. It was surprising how impressed he was; (maybe because a family Dr requires a lot of time at the desk after seeing 40-60 patients a day and the dictation and reading required by a hard working compassionate general practitioner just might run out of enthusiasm and time? That workstation is a great product whose time has come !
Any Ideas that would make it better would be appreciated.

Posted by: wistrade | Apr 12, 2008 4:48:06 PM

But she's going to have to get off the treadmill if she ever hopes to paint the wall where a shelf used to be.

Posted by: Al Christensen | Apr 11, 2008 5:32:25 PM

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