Monday, February 10, 2014

Trend Watch: Tread Desking

By Sara Rosett 

I’m not a trendy person. If something is hot…well, you can be sure I haven’t heard of it when it is at the peak of its popularity.

Downton Abbey? I didn’t watch it until the end of the second season when speculation about Anna and Bates reached a fever pitch and penetrated even my little insular bubble. Binge viewing commenced after I watched a couple of episodes.

Ereaders? I was slow on this front as well, clinging to my hardcopies and my love of holding printed pages. I reluctantly bought a Kindle…and immediately loved it. I still treasure printed books, but I adore the ability to download new books instantly, not to mention the pleasure of knowing I have twenty or thirty unread books stored on my Kindle that I can take with me anywhere.

Same thing with treadmill desks. I hadn’t heard of them until a few months ago, but Wikipedia says they’ve been around since 1996. Here is the definition from Wikipedia, “A treadmill desk, walking desk or treadmill workstation is a computer desk that is adapted so that the user walks on a treadmill while performing office tasks. Persons using a treadmill desk seek to change the sedentary lifestyle associated with being an office worker and to integrate gentle exercise into their working day.”

Walking is my type of exercise, and I loved the idea of combining it with my daily writing time, so a few weeks ago I took the plunge. After researching various options, I decided to combine a walking treadmill with a Work Fit workstation, which I can raise and lower. I wanted to be able to use my desktop computer while walking, but also wanted the option of sitting while doing tasks that combine fine motor skills and heavy mouse use, like editing.

My verdict: it’s great! I’m using it as I type this blog. So far today, I’ve walked for an hour and forty-five minutes, taken 6,556 steps, and burned 158 calories. I moved the treadmill and lowered the workstation last week as I worked through copy-edits for my newest book, Suspicious. Then, for the final read-through, I raised the work station, put the treadmill back, and walked as I listened to the whole manuscript with Text-to-Speech.

If the idea appeals to you, here’s a few things I’ve learned:

  • Most treadmill motors are calibrated for faster movement—running speeds. I wanted to start with a used treadmill, but found that most treadmill settings didn’t go low enough for slow walking (.05 to .08 miles/hour). You can certainly use your regular treadmill to see if you like writing while on the treadmill, but be aware you could burn out the motor. I decided to get a walking treadmill. Mine is from LifeSpan and I like it so far.
  • There are plenty of DIY YouTube videos with instruction on how to modify a treadmill using things as simple as a shelf from the hardware store or an IKEA desk.
  • Start slow. I walked for an hour the first day, then upped it to an hour and forty-five minutes the next day. The first week, I walked for three days. Even at the slow pace and only walking a few days, I could feel it!
  • Do tasks that don’t require lots of fine motor skills to begin with:  reading articles, watching videos, etc.
  • Good walking shoes are a must.
  • Don’t forget to stretch!

Anyone else out there treaddesking? Post a pic or a link to your treadmill desk.

Before I go, a shameless plug for my new release: Suspicious (On the Run #4), a book that I wrote because readers asked for more in the series. :) Here’s a blurb:

Zoe and Jack’s trip to Rome was supposed to be a romantic one-year anniversary celebration with a little business on the side. Jack’s fledgling security company has landed the plum assignment of providing additional security for the opening night gala of a museum exhibit featuring priceless gems.

However, the easy job turns complicated when they discover the exhibit is the next target of a cat burglar who has struck several times in recent months, snatching up a hoard of sparkling jewels. Opening night goes off without a hitch, but then the police accuse them of switching the real gems for fakes.

With the exhibit’s organizer missing and planted diamonds showing up in their belongings, Zoe and Jack are forced to delve into the shady side of the diamond trade in a search for the culprit, a journey that takes them from the fountains and piazzas of the Eternal City to the snow-capped Alps.

If you like mysteries and/or heist stories, I hope you'll check it out.

Sara writes mystery (Ellie Avery series) and suspense (On the Run series). Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, "satisfying," "well-executed," and "sparkling."

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Goodreads.


  1. Sara,
    I'm a mystery lover and a travel fan, so I know I'm going to love Suspicious! And I'm so impressed by your walking + writing :).I have a friend who swears by her treadmill desk. The two of you have me tempted now, very tempted...

    1. Thanks for checking out the new book, Marilyn. If you try tread desking, let me know. :)

  2. I'm so impressed! I fear I'd fall face first on my keyboard. Congrats on the new novel.

    1. Hi Christa! The secret is to go really, really slow. :)

  3. I read about this a while back and it seemed so cool and so multi-tasky.
    Also you are the second person to bring up Text to Speech. Can you tell me more?

    1. I do feel very multi-tasky when I'm on the treadmill, Ariella!

      As far as the Text to Speech, it's on my Mac. I can highlight text and have it read back to me in a Siri-like voice. It helps me catch so many mistakes (not all, I know!), but I do like it. It makes me slow down. I think you can also do it on Windows, too.

    2. That's great. I think hearing it would be so helpful. I got so caught up in all the tready-trend stuff I forgot to say congrats on the latest on the run novel

    3. Trends do that to us, don't they. :) Thanks, Ariella!

  4. Replies
    1. You should do it, Brenda! We could be tread desking buddies!

  5. Congratulations on your new exercise regime and the new novel! You've inspired me to go on my old-fashioned treadmill…

    1. Thanks, Barbara. May you get in many miles on your treadmill!

  6. Love mysteries! Thanks for the ref.