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Mike Riley

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Exercise While You Code

August 03, 2012

Like many developers my age, I like to keep both my mind and body as fit as possible. However, after sitting all day coding, there's not as much time as I'd like to spend on exercise. That may change with the introduction of LifeSpan's Treadmill Desk. Now you can multi-task by exercising while you code.

With standing desks becoming all the rage among start-up company developers, a stationary desk stabilized above a moving platform sounded like the next best thing. I was curious to know how well this approach worked and was fortunate to have interviewed both the president of LifeSpan Fitness, Peter Schenk, and a Treadmill Desk customer, Andrew Reese. Does that last name sound familiar? Mr. Reese is the grandson of the inventor of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Take a look at what he had to say about combining computing with personal fitness training:

How did you first hear about the Treadmill Desk?
I heard about you through a work associate who had come across it. We work in a large 13,000 employee company. He lives out west and supports the west coast. I live on the east and support the east coast. We talk once in a while on the phone. We both spend about 70% of our time working out of our home office. Funny thing, we both ended up buying one.

How long have you used yours?
It has been a little over six months now.

How do you like it so far?
I enjoy working from it. I have several computer systems and use remote desktop software from my system on the treadmill desk (a MacBook Air with a 27" screen) to reach other remote systems.

What is it like to walk and work at the same time?
You get used to it; the typing pad helps to steady your hands. When watching webinars, you can crank up the speed. I also have hands-free Bluetooth speakers that I use.

How long did it take you to adjust to it?
My legs adjusted within two days. I bought some good sneakers.

How many hours a day do you usually use it?
I actually use it most of the day everyday — I would say 4-7 hours. The only time I don't use it is when I travel.

What speed do you usually keep it at?
Normally I walk between 0.8 and 1.2-mph. When I am able to work without being on the phone, I might jump up to 1.6-mph. During webinars I might take it up to 2.6-mph. Sometimes I take a break, do some Chi-Kung, or do a few dumbbell reps at 35-pounds. I even do pushups and sit-ups from time to time.

Have you lost any weight, or has it impacted your health so far?
I was 335-lbs and am now down to 295-lbs. However, I have also changed my diet and eat more veggies. I have no real goal for weight loss; it is more of a lifestyle change for me. I spent too much time sitting at a computer; I needed to change my lifestyle. I am a Grandmaster in Martial Arts, so this is another way to keep my weight in check.

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