The Treadmill Desk

“I am writing this while walking on a treadmill. And now you know the biggest problem with working at a treadmill desk: the compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk. It’s a lot like the early days of cell-phone calls, when the simple fact that you were doing what you were doing seemed so amazing that most conversations consisted largely of exclamations about the amazingness of the call. …

“…people don’t run at treadmill desks. They walk at one or two miles per hour, which is slow enough so that it doesn’t interfere with typing or talking or reading. …”

-Susan Orlean in the May 20, v2013 issue of The New Yorker here.

What a brilliant idea. I’m looking on Craig’s List for a treadmill.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

10 Responses to The Treadmill Desk

  1. Lloyd, I don't question the need to exercise but issues brought on by technology cannot be solved by more technology, Nothings beats 100% focus on your work while doing it and then a healthy break away from the screens by going for a brisk walk outside in nature, where we were designed to be. We have to simplify our lives, not continue to make it more and more complex.

    By eliminating the walk outside, exposure to fresh air, to green spaces, meeting your neighbors, what new technology are you going to have to introduce to give you that experience? Where does the madness stop?

    This is a fad and you won't hear about it again in 6 months.

  2. Perhaps you can charge said cell phone/laptop while you work, by hooking up a generator to the thing… would that be perpetual stenography?

  3. daltxguy,
    please excuse the clichés, but lloyd's been walkin' the walk and talkin' the talk longer than practically anyone alive today and has an excellent curious mind and body much younger than his chronological years would indicate. he's the last person on earth who needs to be told to spend more time in nature and to simplify his life! it seems you haven't spent much time reading his always interesting ruminations, an activity worth the time on a treadmill or not.
    go for the treadmill (or elliptical x-trainer), lloyd. each is entitled to their own opinions, but since daltxguy has had less than 500 views on his blog in 8 yrs, i'd say more people are interested in yours than his.

  4. At daltxguy, its a ridiculously great idea. You're hitting two birds with one stone here. Being productive in the office (after getting use to it) while getting your daily exercise that we've been trying avoid after coming home from work. I've used it for a few weeks and it slowly became a good coffee replacement. There is no way I can feel tired because I'm literally walking it off.

  5. Hi Llloyd, thanks for the post.
    Have you heard of the new NextDesk Fit? It's a treadmill desk like you've talked about, but it is unique in that it is adjustable in height (the desk part.)
    I don't have one myself but I've been looking into it. See, I have a NextDesk Terra– without the treadmill part. I love this thing but lately I've been thinking about taking it a step further (literally) with a treadmill desk.
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this desk:
    Let me know!


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