The Testbench

“Work Out” Gets A Whole New Meaning

I’m not exactly a fitness buff although I’ve been trying for the past year or two—again—to get my weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. Working out is something that I have gone on and off for years. In the past, frankly, I’ve been derailed by my own obsessive nature. I would start working out in a moderate way but before long, I’d find that the workouts were taking far longer than I could really afford. I’d burn out and go sedentary until I felt lousy enough to get moving again.

I’ve been approaching it differently this time, though. In the past, I’d work out in the evenings, but that was problematic in that it gave me too much time, thus facilitating the burn out. What I have done lately is to use my lunch hour for my workouts. This really helps me in that it effectively limits the amount of time I can spend in the gym. It’s very convenient, being that here in Manhattan the gym is a very short walk from our offices. Plus, it’s given me back my evenings for family time, working at home, or whatever may be.

You could say that in a sense, I’ve combined work and working out. But just when you thought you’d seen everything, along comes something that gives you pause. A company called TrekDesk has taken combining working and working out to a level that you have to see to believe.

Now, I’m not sure that I could make this work, but it’d be interesting to try. It seems to me that it would be rather difficult to accomplish any meaningful work while I was even walking, let alone running, on a treadmill that was attached to my desk. Once you get to any level of fitness, you have to get over a certain threshold of exertion to get your pulse rate high enough to increase or even maintain cardiovascular fitness. My doctor also advises me that I want to get my respiration rate to a point where it’s difficult to talk. That pretty much rules out phone calls or interviews. I’m generally running at a pretty brisk clip these days so it’s hard to imagine typing or writing while I’m chugging along at somewhere between 6.5 and 7 mph. Plus, when you’re running on a treadmill, it’s not exactly staying rock steady but rather bounces and moves along with your footsteps. I can picture the TrekDesk rocking and rolling some as I run.

Having said all of that, there’s not much in the way of any reference on the TrekDesk site to running at your desk. It seems that they expect users to restrict themselves to walking. The unit accommodates the incline features of your treadmill, so with a brisk enough walk and a good amount of incline, I guess I’d be able to get my pulse up enough. 

Yet, the concept remains intriguing somehow. TrekDesk basically markets a steel-framed desk that you fit around your own treadmill. It’s a pretty nice workstation-style desk, measuring 72 inches across and 34 inches deep. You’ve got cup holders (which I wish my desk had now), a manuscript holder, phone stand, and other features that lend themselves both to work and working out.

TrekDesk did not invent the treadmill desk, by the way, but they believe that they’ve refined the concept to the point that it’s truly usable for the purpose. I’d consider trying one myself someday if I had the room for one, which I don’t. If any of you have any experience with a setup like this, please let us know!

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