Write-Walking: Notes from my Treadmill Desk

December 25, 2022
typing while walking on treadmill

This new Water Cooler post comes courtesy of Nancy Herkness, a New Jersey-based romance author and walking writer. Nancy kindly sent us an account of her first trip on a treadmill desk – read on for her findings. If you’d like to see more from Nancy, drop by her personal website.

I took my maiden voyage on my DIY treadmill desk last night and thought you might want a report on whether it worked or not.


Time: 78 minutes

Distance: 1.9 miles

Speed: 1.2 – 1.5 mph

Words written: 1,063

Calories burned: 235


I got so lost in the story, I forgot I was walking until about 55 minutes had passed, at which point I realized I was actually tired. So I took a short break to watch a snippet of “Mad Men” with Handsome Husband. Then I got back on the treadmill to finish writing the scene.

I started at 1.2 mph, got used to it, decided it was too slow, and upped my pace to 1.5 mph. I hear most folks top out at 2.0 mph, so that’s my goal. (Update: My fitness guru watched me walk and told me to stick to 1.4 mph in order to avoid back problems. At faster speeds, I hold myself too stiffly in order to keep typing. So take it slow!)

Typing while walking was no problem at all. Mouse-ing was more of a challenge. First, the mouse tends to waltz off the keyboard tray when I start typing. So I have to move it up to the desk when I’m not using it. Second, the cursor requires precise positioning on the screen which is not so easy when you’re in full stride. When I finished typing for the night, I admit to turning the treadmill off so I could do all my document saving procedures from a stationary position. However, I am sure I’ll perfect mobile mouse-ing with practice. (Update: I added a pad below the mouse so it stays put. And my mouse-ing skills have developed to the point that I can walk and save with no problem.)

I drank a lot of water while write-walking. Good thing I have a refrigerator in the basement!

My productivity was high while walking. Of course, I was in the middle of a very hot scene between my hero and heroine in THE PLACE I BELONG, so that may have sharpened my focus. Walking has always helped me think though, so I figure the motion itself contributes to brain activity.

The Preliminary Verdict:

The Treadmill Desk looks like it will be good for me both on the exercise and productivity fronts. It’s nice to have another place set up to work too, just for variety’s sake. I use Dropbox to save my documents so it’s easy to pick up where I left off, no matter which computer I’m working on. The wonders of modern technology!

Now if it helps me lose weight, I will be totally in love with it.

Are you proud of a new distance record? Have you been working on an extra-slick DIY setup? Do you just really, really want to talk about your treadmill desk?

If so, you may be a good fit here at the Water Cooler. Send in an account of your desking experiences and see it posted on the WorkWhileWalking blog. Visit our contact page to learn how to get in touch with us.

If you want to get a personal feel for using a treadmill to make sure it will work for you, you should read our article on guidance to see how you can test one out for yourself.

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