Wednesday, April 28, 2010
A few days ago I wrote about elevated desks, the kind one can use standing or seated, and asked whether any readers had used them, and if so, how they'd found them. As a result of some responses, I found that there are things called 'treadmill desks', which combine a treadmill for exercise with a shelf or desk top on which one can put a computer monitor and keyboard. The idea is that one can walk gently (at about 1 mph - nothing too strenuous) while typing.
This sounded like a very useful idea, one that would both give me exercise and allow me to work without long hours in a chair, which creates a higher risk for deep vein thrombosis and other health problems. A Google search on 'treadmill desk' revealed a number of Web sites about them, and a number that are offered for sale.
However, most of the latter seem extraordinarily expensive, and their advertising is very short on details about the strength, longevity, etc. of the treadmills concerned.
I found two sites, Treadmill Doctor and The Treadmill Sensei, that provide excellent reviews and advice about treadmills. They seem to agree that the cheaper treadmills - the sort sold at supermarkets - simply aren't strong enough to stand up to prolonged usage of the sort I'll be doing. They reckon that buying a cheap treadmill simply isn't worth it. On the other hand, I'm on a disability pension - I can't afford a commercial-strength treadmill, no matter how much I might want one!
That leads me to ask for your input, readers. Who among you owns and/or uses a treadmill on a regular basis? Based on your experience, what treadmill make(s) and/or model(s) would be suitable for use as the foundation for a 'treadmill desk'? They wouldn't be worked overly hard (I'd set the treadmill to about 1 mph, on a slight upward incline), but they'd have to function for three to four hours a day, seven days a week, for a long time. I simply can't afford to buy something that'll burn out after only a few months of such use. Apart from which brand(s) and model(s) might be suitable, what else should I watch out for? The less maintenance involved, the better (apart from routine lubrication, etc.).
Also, any suggestions as to where I should look to buy one? I've found many offered on Craigslist, for example, but on investigation most turn out to be the cheap supermarket variety - the sort that won't stand up to long-term heavy usage. There are some that claim to be reconditioned commercial units, but these either require a dedicated 220V. circuit (which I don't have in my present lodgings), or use some esoteric brand name that I can't find reviewed in any online source. In the absence of an impartial review that'll give me some idea of their quality, I'm reluctant to invest several hundred dollars in one of them.
(As to the desk part, that's relatively simple. I can put a bookcase up in front of the treadmill, and mount the monitor on a shelf. The only things that'll have to go on the treadmill's 'handle-bars' are the keyboard and mouse, and to make a shelf fitting over the treadmill control panel to hold those two items is no trouble at all. I'm not going to spend a lot of money on a custom-built treadmill desk when a DIY solution is so much cheaper.)
I'd be very grateful for your advice and input, readers. Thanks in advance.