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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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  • My workout (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:04AM (#19144675) Homepage
    I lift 4 days a week and do cardio 3 days a week. One of those cardio sessions every week is actually done on a stationary bike while playing video games.

    It works fantastically...I find that I will stay on that bike for a MUCH longer time (roughly 30 minutes longer) if I am actively engaged with something other than my legs moving
  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:07AM (#19144725)
    Workout machines make noise, which would add to the normal office noise levels.

    Some of us need a reasonable level of quiet to be able to concentrate and work effectively.
  • by thousandinone ( 918319 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:09AM (#19144753) Journal
    I dunno how effective it would be for me. I have to get up to a pretty decent run to get my heart rate to a point where its any real benefit, and I doubt I could type well at a run. As for FPS, most of them already reduce your accuracy when your toon is moving; compound that with the physical movement of your body and you probably won't be hitting much; this problem could be mitigated by just having pixel perfect aim in the game and letting the actual movement be the cause of inaccuracy, but I can see that being abused...
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:12AM (#19144811) Journal
    I find it is hard for me to keep my eyes focused when I watch TV while using a treadmill. I'd think it would be even more difficult to try to focus on text on a monitor and use a keyboard/mouse too. There is the issue of sweat getting on the keyboard and mouse. A stationary bike might work though.
  • Not practical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sircastor ( 1051070 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:18AM (#19144883)
    I seriously doubt this with sell well. Not only is it expensive, but if you've ever tried to do anything on a laptop while moving from one room to another you know that the human body doesn't stabilize itself between bottom and top. If the bottom is moving, the top is too, and trying to do things that require some degree of non-movement, like typing for instance, would be difficult. Additionally, who's going to use this desk? Does it get moved around the office all day to whoever wants a go? Do you expect someone to use it all day? Even the most fit people aren't going to be interested in standing up all day for a desk job. As it goes, it's just impractical. They've got the right box, but they're thinking too far outside it. Personally, I would encourage activity at the office through things like frisbee during a break.
  • And another (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dreddnott ( 555950 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:19AM (#19144909) Homepage
    I posted the above as kind of a joke, but I became curious and visited the official Gamerunner website [].

    Apparently the treadmill actually will sell for $495 plus S&H, once they get their store going.

    And from looking at the actual manual for the thing (warning: PDF! []) it looks like it uses two USB connectors (one for keyboard, one for mouse) and the display panel is powered by two AA batteries. You'd think there would be enough bus power in two connectors to power a low-end LCD display.
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:23AM (#19144955)
    But I'm not a good enough geek to put it together. *sigh* You start off with one of the recumbant exercise bikes, the ones where you're sitting in a seat with the pedals out in front of you. The flatscreen monitor swings down to be right in your face. You replace the regular handgrips with joysticks with enough buttons to run the game.

    So, what's the game? Has to be a racing game. :) Ok, maybe you might compromise and go with some hybrid type that mixes FPS and a vehicle like Descent. The peddling rate won't determine your max speed but max reactor output. You get to balance your power between speed, laser bank, and shield charge.

    The kind of game I have in mind is like Twisted Metal, cars going fast. Some parts would have proper racetracks to run around on, other parts would be like city streets. The goal is to blow up the other exercisers you're playing against in the gym.

    If the combat angle isn't as fun, then you can just settle for a more conventional racing game where the pedaling rate directly translates to your in-game speed. I'd love to see a pedal-power flight sim with the kind of graphics we can push these days. That'll get people in the gym!
  • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:31AM (#19145081) Journal
    Do the math. Brisk walking burns 7 calories a minute. A McDonalds value meal has 1170 calories. You have to walk briskly for 167.14 minutes to burn off those calories. That's 2 hours 47 minutes. Of walking. Briskly.

    Exercise has important health benefits and you should be doing it. But to lose weight, you need
    to control your food intake. All the fad diets and pills are bullshit and possibly harmful as well. Eat less calories, and you will lose weight. And while you are at it, cut out all the hydrogenated fats. Eating lard would be less harmful. If you are addicted to nicotine, get your fix thru a method other than smoking or chewing.

    Yes I am ranting. But I hate to see people oblivious to the fact that they are
    ruining their health and quality of life by ingesting obscenely excessive amounts of harmful "food" products and nicotine delivery systems. Know why all the old people you see on the street are thin like birds? Because most of the fat people died when they were 50 years old, and the rest of them are confined in a nursing home waiting to die.
  • Re:My workout (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:32AM (#19145083)
    I'd comment that running and biking use the arms differently. Moving your arms is proper form for running while it is not for biking. I'd suspect that on a bike you'd be able to concentrate using your arms better (after all they're supposed to be available for steering).
  • Re:My workout (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:33AM (#19145099) Homepage
    Get a mountain bike and find a good local trail. That's much more fun, and you'll also meet some cool people. Road bike is fine too, and you'll meet even more people on that. But if you want something more like a video game, offroad is definitely the way to go.
  • Somewhat true. But we don't all exercise alike. I'm currently 235 lbs. In the winter I take a cyclist-specific 2 hour spin class once a week. I've burned almost 3000 calories in 2 hours in those sessions.

    I've used the hacker's diet (which adheres basically to what you state). But I've found I do much better just consciously eating less, and exercising a lot more. It's now cycling season, and I have for the most part recovered from the surgeries that were keeping me from exercising over the winter months, and the lbs are melting away without me having to suffer through a strict calorie-counting diet.

    Granted, I'm not a typical case. Most people certainly would not do a few days a week on the bikes (a couple of days of singletrack, and a few on the road), and certainly wouldn't go through 50ish miles at a time with a lot of climbing.

    But to state that exercise has little to do with weight loss depends on the type of exercise that you do. It certainly does feel a lot better to exercise more than it does to eat less. And at the intensity levels that I personally exercise at, it certainly does have a large impact. Of course, eating less is also part of the equation, but if you put the emphasis on that part, you will be miserable, at least for awhile. And who wants to be stuck in calorie-counting mode all their lives in order to control their weight?
  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @12:03PM (#19146607)
    Actually, no, I don't have much time for the Wii, either. I've played it maybe 5 hours in the last month.

    But you act like entertainment is not a necessary part of life. Like you can just give up on having fun and just exercise and work, and that'll be fine. Some of us need a little de-stressing time from work, and exercise doesn't do that for me, no matter what it does for other people. Everyone's always saying how the endorphins will make you feel better, etc, etc. Doesn't work for me. I'm just as stressed afterwards as before. I need a good book or video game to de-stress. While it's marginally possible to watch TV while on exercise equipment, it's nearly impossible for gaming or reading.

    So don't be so quick to lump the entire human race together as if we're all identical. We each have different needs.
  • Re:And another (Score:2, Interesting)

    by n7ytd ( 230708 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @12:46PM (#19147313)
    It looks like their display is an off the shelf product. There are a few Chinese companies that make displays that other companies can just bolt onto their exercise product. Low-end products or companies that have welders and painters but no electronics guys do it that way. Maybe their final product will be bus-powered.
    $495 seems steep for a non-powered treadmill, but you're paying for the controller anyway. Probably $15 worth of parts in the controller. The thing that makes me raise an eyebrow is that their "press release" dated Oct. 2006 states they are accepting preorders immediately, with shipping an estimated 10-12 months away. They want $300+ up front, for an estimated ship date a year away? I'm guessing they've built 3 of them, and need the cash to finish development and get it ready to produce.
    They also state they have patents pending on this thing, but all I see is prior art.
    On the bright side, at least their controller is emulating a keyboard and mouse, which means it should be able to control any game, rather than some of the hard-wired controllers I've seen on this sort of thing before. You should be able to navigate web pages as well. Too bad about replacing the mouse with buttons, though; aiming with the speed of the mouse works much better for me. It would be handy to have some software to run that allows you to configure the keymap on the controller, maybe on a per-game basis.
  • Re:I built my own... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ericpeeg ( 1103075 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @01:36PM (#19148051)

    Like you, I built something similar (though without the wall-mounted shelf).

    I don't do this at work, but the concept of playing video games on a treadmill is one that I've also personally put into practice, and it seems to work pretty well for me. I've lost about 50 pounds since I started, though of course, I've also altered diet significantly at the same time. Everyone's mileage varies, of course. Try it, don't try it, what do I care?

    My set up is a treadmill with a shelf over the handlebars, similar to the pictures seen several comments up. I've got several straps that hold my laptop to the shelf, and then I've got a wireless mouse. I play World of Warcraft, so I'm not generally needing twitch-sensitive decision making, and I've found that I can't really do instances (as a healer) while walking - too much concentration required. However, I can grind quite easily, fish, gather herbs, farm, etc - I set the treadmill to about 2.7 mph, walk for an hour, and I've done my exercise. I find the time flies - I don't notice the walking, and I don't notice the exercise either. I can keep up with chatting - typing while walking isn't that hard once you practice it, and WoW chat can hardly be described as error-free in any case.

    I'd echo getting a good treadmill - cheap ones break - or get a good service plan. I've already worn out one walking platform.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright