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Treadmill Workstation 264

coondoggie writes "Did you know you could lose as much as 66 pounds by sweating on your PC? Well using the Mayo Clinic's vertical workstation, that just might be the weight loss wave of the future. The vertical workstation is basically a desk mounted over a treadmill that lets office workers to kill two birds with one stone — send emails, check invoices and write reports and burn calories at the same time, say Professors James Levine and Jennifer Miller of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who came up with the machine/desk. There are other things you can try as well. For example, the FPGamerunner, a USB full-size treadmill that works with any first-person shooter (FPS) game, has you covered. Walking on the treadmill moves your character through the game. Handlebars and buttons at the front of the $1,299 treadmill control your direction and fire your weapons." This seems like a lot better idea than me trying to collect Pokemon on an elliptical trainer which will no doubt one day lead to a very embarrassing obituary.
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Treadmill Workstation

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  • Some more info..... (Score:4, Informative)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:20AM (#19144925)
    Some more info.....

    BBC covered this in detail, one of their reporters tried it out. She was less then enthusiastic about office work whilst using the thing "Shame my hands can't keep up, it took me almost five minutes to key in the above without a single mistake." (from the linked article below). [] []
  • Re:My workout (Score:2, Informative)

    by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:31AM (#19145065)
    You might want to think about shorting your cardio time and making it a little more intense... With proper cardio at the 85% Max HR for 20 minutes, there is no way you would want to play a video game.... You would also get a considerable better HGH release as well...

    Meaning, personally combining fitness and play are not best because both are watered down. Meaning, you get poor cardio, but also it is not the best video game either... Just spend 20 minutes on the cardio and then you can play the game for the next 40 minutes..

    Just a thought.. :-)
  • by wibald ( 725150 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:40AM (#19145209)
    The whole point of the workstation model (not the FPS) is for an office worker to walk at a very moderate pace for the entire time they are working at the PC. That is, walking instead of sitting. If you sit on your ass for 8 hours a day five days a week at work this would have you walking, albeit slowly, for those 8 hours instead. With the added bonus that you probably won't be munching on junk food while you're walking. It isn't the same as a 5 mile run but I doubt you get much work done, or get paid, on your 5 mile run.
  • Re:My workout (Score:5, Informative)

    by FST777 ( 913657 ) <frans-jan.van-steenbeek@net> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:45AM (#19145275) Homepage
    Partly. When seriously working out on a bike, you use your arms for strength (pulling your arms while pushing with the legs). Steering on a bike is indeed done with the arms at low speeds, but less so at high speeds. You then use your arms for strength and stability and use weight displacing to steer.

    When you apply any serious force on a bike you need your arms to prevent yourself from sliding backwards out the sadle. Gaming can then become... interesting.
  • by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:50AM (#19145349) Journal
    100 calories per hour * 8 hours per day = 800 per day. 5 days a week = 4000 calories per week. That's like running a marathon. Just over 40 hours instead of 3 or 4.
  • Notes from a talk (Score:4, Informative)

    by espressojim ( 224775 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:53AM (#19145403)
    I saw the guy who is organizing the research on this (NEAT), who gave a 90 minute talk at my institution last year (we study the genetics of diabetes.) I figured this might be an interesting place to share my notes. The notes are slightly raw, but might be of interest (and there's nothing that's under NDA in them.)


    Non-exercise activity thermogenesis.

    Uses 2x-3x the calories of exercise.

    Varies by up to 2000 calories between individuals

    Note: most people of the world don't exercise

    Neat explains why an active person can burn 2000 calories more than an inactive person of the same size.

    Occupational NEAT:
    chair bound:300
    seated work: 700
    standing: 1000
    active: 1400
    agricultural: 2300

    Women work a heck of a lot more than men. (peak 500 minutes/day women vs. 320/day men)

    A test that overfed people by 1000 calories a day:
    Some people didn't gain weight, they just increased their NEAT.
    Some central mechanisms may be regulating NEAT.

    There are chemical ways to induce neat (Central Orexin)

    Spontaneous physical activity may not be spontaneous!

    People who fail to increase NEAT: maybe they have a NEAT defect?

    They built sensors integrated into clothing to see what body postures were like.

    Looks like lean people stand up more, and obese subjects sit a lot more.

    Overfeed underweight people, underfeed overweight people ->
            Starting obese people still sit more, Starting lean people tend to stand more.

    Perhaps fat people just have 'poor NEAT adaptation'

    Think about this: there's no inherent reason why we ought to be sitting all the time.

    Are there ways to get us all out of our chairs?
    1) Persuade them to stand (behavior modification)
    2) Get rid of the chair (environmental change)

    Targeted goals help people change behavior.
    Select->Target goals->Reward->identify bariers->Plan->Evaluate->Sustain->Target Goals
    Lady starts at 3 5 second walks a day.
    She's working up to 5 5 minute walks over time.

    Barrier: if you decide to walk your dog in the rain,the rain is the barrier. If you're massivly fat, tying shoes might be the barrier.

    Planning is representative of prioritization.


    The way you change the environment - do a walk and talk meeting program (at least you get something out of it!) "Walk and talk tag - you are not to be interrupted"
    Make this competitive so that the more times you have meetings that are walk and talk, the more you are 'winning'. Yet, the number of meetings will decline.


    They now have a small unit that can measure your posture, etc and measures NEAT every 10 seconds.
    Allows complex phenotyping of people moving, etc.

    Ipod earpiece that detects activity level of the user - for each mile they walk, they get a free download. Kids get into the competition to get free downloads.

    Imagine computers that are on treadmills (or exercise bikes), so you can stand and walk all day instead of sitting, People pick 1 mile an hour to work out, and burn 100 calories an hour.

    If you design a school so kids can stand, they will move around a lot.

    Now, there are Soda machines that say "Thirsty" - this is a cue to your brain to make you think about it, then purchase -also snack machines that say "hungry"
  • I built my own... (Score:5, Informative)

    by HenryLollins ( 1102997 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @11:47AM (#19146333)
    I'm seeing a lot of BS flying around about the idea of a walking desk, and having built my own, I thought I should de-FUD the conversation a bit.

    You're not running, or even walking quickly. James Levine, the guy spearheading all this NEAT stuff, recommends .7 mph, which is crazy slow. Slow enough, in fact, that its almost hard to walk at that speed. The point is to just move and burn a steady trickle of calories over a long period of time, not "work out". If you're sweating or even breathing hard at all, you're doing it wrong. I can talk on the phone and the other party has no idea that I'm on a treadmill. I personally vary my speed between 1.2 and 2.0 mph. Basically, the speed is inversely proportional to the amount of concentration required by the current task. If I'm just reading, I can do 2.0 with no problem. If I'm writing code or doing any real amount of typing, I'll usually keep it around 1.4 - 1.6.

    Which brings me to an important point: typing speed is nearly unaffected. My error rate is probably a little higher when on the treadmill, but not enough to be an issue at all. I can still out-type nearly everyone on IM, so if the walking slows me down at all, it's a moot point anyway.

    It took me a couple days to really adapt to it, but once you're used to walking and working simultaneously, it's pretty mindless. Your legs basically go on autopilot while your mind does what it needs to do. I would compare it to [car analogy alert!] driving a manual transmission in heavy city traffic. It sucks at first, but eventually it's all muscle memory and you don't have to think about it at all. You just do it.

    Here are some (old, crappy) pics of the treadmill set up in my old office: ve8.jpg [] jr6.jpg [] r5.jpg [] rk7.jpg [] wt9.jpg []

    It looks somewhat assy, but it works really, really well. The keyboard/mouse platform is ultra-stable and does not move at all or even vibrate at the speeds I walk. With the monitors positioned the way they are, my eyes never have trouble following even small text, and I'm older with very bad vision. If anyone is considering doing this, don't even bother with a treadmill that retails for less than about $1500. You need a high quality treadmill to achieve the necessary silence and stability for office use.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @12:11PM (#19146761) hour+in+watts&btnG=Search []

    You, sir, are an athletic God (hint, that's 2.4 horsepower). []

    Armstrong can ride up the mountains in France generating about 500 watts of power for 20 minutes, something a typical 25-year-old could do for only 30 seconds. A professional hockey player might last three minutes - and then throw up....

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.