Better to Consume than Create Content While On Your Treadmill Desk
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During the first couple of days with a treadmill desk, new users may be tempted to plough through an entire day’s work on their feet. While it’s an admirable goal, there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to intense typing while walking.
The Treadmill Desk Learning Curve
The most immediate effect new treadmill deskers may notice is a diminished ability to multitask. While everyone can accomplish a variety of light tasks on the move like talking on the phone or responding to emails, first and second timers tend to find multitasking more difficult when they get to the meatier parts of their work. We suggest leaving those intensive writing tasks to your sitting or standing time and saving emails, phone calls, online articles, and videos for your walking sessions.
As you gain experience on the treadmill, you can slowly integrate more heavy work into your walking. As users become more confident on their feet, they find that walking on a treadmill improves their focus, making them more productive. Just keep in mind that when you do dive into intensely focused work, you will more readily lose track of time, so set a timer for a stretch break every 30 minutes.
The Ergonomics of Typing While Walking
From a biomechanical engineering standpoint, any time you constrain a usually unattached segment (in this case, the arms and hands tethered to your work surface), the joints between the two points of attachment are subject to more “excursion”—which may eventually lead to cumulative trauma. Wrist pain is a common enough malady for office workers, and treadmill desking can exacerbate those strains. This is why it’s imperative that your typing position is as ergonomic as possible. Keyboard trays can provide some relief, and desks with built-in SteadyType keyboard trays like those from iMovR, for example, provides the ideal wrist setting for treadmill deskers.
When we walk normally, our arms and body are usually swaying in a completely subconscious rhythm in order to keep our bodies balanced and minimize strain on our leg and lower back muscles. When walking on a treadmill desk and tethering to either the keyboard or mouse, we place undue strain on those muscles, hence the importance of optimal ergonomic settings and taking frequent stretch breaks.
When consuming content, you often don’t need to touch the keyboard. All you really need is mouse control. One very clever way to do this without having to physically tether yourself to the desktop is by using a hand-held trackball mouse or ring mouse device. When you’re walking, you simply hold the mouse in your hand so you can swing your arms back and forth and eliminate the strain on your walking muscles as well as your wrist, arm, and shoulder muscles and joints. Best of all, you can still use these same devices in lieu of a traditional mouse at all other times.
If you want to get a personal feel to make sure a treadmill will work for you, you should read our article on guidance to see how you can test one out for yourself.