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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
    • I actually lift 3 days a week and do cardio 4 and have had no problems losing the weight. I use it as a cooling off period from work, putting all my frustrations into my weight training and sprints.

      More than one idea to solve a networking issue or a software issue has come from the hour after work I spend at the gym.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tgatliff ( 311583 )
      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 t
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
        That's why the day that I do the stationary bike/video game combo, I usually have a 15-20 minute warm up time, a 15-30 minutes "exercise" time, and then an additional 15-20 minute cooldown time.

        Yes yes yes, I know that's not exactly what "they" say you should do, but you know what? In 6 months, I have lost only 20 pounds on the scale, yet I have lost nearly 6 inches off my waist.

        Between my lifting, cardio, and diet, I must be doing SOMETHING right ;-)
      • This is my view too. I see a lot of people "working out" without doing any actual work, and not getting their heart rate up. You see people taking a leisurely walk on the treadmill, or "jogging" for an hour and a half. These people would get much better work out in much less time if they upped the intensity. If you're working out hard enough, your hands should be too sweaty to hold the controller properly, even if you're just pedaling your legs.
        • I think the idea isn't to replace the intense gym workout - those people are already motivated and active. This is for the desk potato that would otherwise not exercise at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SCHecklerX ( 229973 )
      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.
      • 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.

        Mid January in Northern Ontario is not the time or the place to meet cool people while mountain biking, nor is it particularly fun. And even for those who live warmer areas, weather is still a huge factor. While riding singletrack in the rain is

        • Winter is for snowboarding :)

          Ok, maybe 1-2 times a week on a trainer to keep some form of base fitness.

          But to use it as your sole form of cycling-type exercise all year round? That would make me insane. If it's nice out, go play outside. I don't think anybody who uses stationary bikes who then tried the real thing ever went back to going nowhere in their basement.
        • That's what snow shoes are for ;) The trails in the winter are actually pretty nice. This is around Denver CO, and not Ontario, but I'd think it'd be at least similar. Just carry a gun with you and watch out for brown and polar bears :P
      • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

        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.

        Come on. If I wanted to meet people, I wouldn't be training on my Murder Simulator.
    • I ride my bike to work when the weather permits. Great exercise, and once you buy a bike, it's practically free. This helps me keep in relatively good shape and it also allows me to do 2 things at once by combining working out, and traveling to work. Oh, it's also faster than the city bus. Riding a real bike is much more interesting than riding a stationary bike. Even those complex ones at the gym that simulate hills.
      • Agreed on pretty much all points (though with all the goddamn goatheads around here, tubes and patches are an annoying expense -- of course I'll take 7$ every couple of weeks over the 5$ and change every day that it costs me to commute by car. The savings in gas alone has already covered the new bike I bought last summer). Sure, it adds about an extra 45 minutes of travel time daily (and that extra time is shrinking as more people are moving into my side of town and clogging the streets), but I'm getting
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      My biggest complaint is that American businesses don't encourage people to get exercise, they just want you to sit at your desk and get work done. Getting up, moving around, stretching your legs, taking the stairs, socializing, is all prohibited or frowned upon. This might not be a big deal for people who work 7 or 8 hr days who can get to the gym in the morning, but it is brutal to hard workin guys like me who put in 12-14hrs at work.

      I have been following the exercise plan on a scaled down
    • by Jessta ( 666101 )
      I walk.
      I walk to uni.
      I walk to the shops.
      I walk around in dark places at night with friends and discuss current events.
      It's pretty good. I can't imagine walking on the spot being very interesting for very long.
      Infact it would be boring and pointless.
    • Two birds with one stone: Dance Dance Revolution.

      (I recommend Extreme 2 for PS2, or Ultramix 3 for Xbox.)

  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by thbigr ( 514105 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:04AM (#19144681) Journal
    I work for an Electric company. I suppose they will want to sell the power that is generated.
  • by dreddnott ( 555950 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:05AM (#19144701) Homepage
    I'd like to know whether this USB Treadmill is bus-powered, or if I'll have to deal with the inconvenience of plugging yet another power brick into my surge suppressor...
    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by n7ytd ( 230708 )
        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
    • I'd like to know whether this USB Treadmill is bus-powered
      What kind of fuel economy would a treadmill get if powered by a bus?

      Seems like it would be noisy, smelly, and a real pain to get into your home office.
  • Riiiight... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mockylock ( 1087585 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:06AM (#19144709) Homepage
    I wonder how many people will get wrapped up in the game, bust their ass and get shot across the room after they've been "PWNED".

    "Well doctor, someone was spawn raping us and the next thing I know, I was trying to pry my head from under the sofa. I was pwned."
  • by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:06AM (#19144713) Journal
    I'd love to see them walk on a treadmill and try to send email at the same time.
    Granted, IT would get called to fix the treadmill if it broke.
  • 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 arivanov ( 12034 )
      And that is the exact reason why I use a set of studio style headphones (at least 25+db drop). Works miracles as far as concentration in an open office is concerned.
    • I built a setup like the one featured in the article over a year ago. The noise isn't that bad and I'm sensitive to noise. I use headphones to drown out cubicle noise so treadmill noise isn't a problem.

      The bigger problem is learning to type and mouse while you're moving. I had to start with the treadmill running at its lowest setting and even then it was tricky.

      A second problem is your feet hurt after standing all day. The treadmill has some give to it so it's not like standing on concrete but my shoes are
    • by Jaeph ( 710098 )
      I think it would be the reverse for me. The treadmills would be a form of "white noise" that would hopefully drown-out the little phone conversations that go on around me. Those conversations are the distracting things, to me.

  • 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...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wibald ( 725150 )
      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,
    • 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.
      • Better than that! Even slow walking burns something like 300 calories per hour.

        Your 100 calorie number could be just general metabolism from lying on the couch. Hmm, lying on the couch for 40 hours is like running a marathon... I've run a couple marathons this week already! :-)
  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:10AM (#19144765)
    Imagine moving that treadmill controller around to LAN parties. Only the most dedicated to weight-loss would attempt it, but man would it be hilarious to see the 300 pound guy sweating his ass off getting that thing through the door.
  • I was on a training trip a couple weeks ago - and ended up using the elliptical trainer in my hotel. (Didn't feel comfortable running in the neighborhood) I learned not to set my ipod nano face up in the little holder on the machine. One morning some sweat dropped on it and got into the nano under the click wheel. It didn't really work quite right until it dried out. (It was working fine later - I left it sitting upside down to dry out)

    The tv in the room had cnn on, so I read the little news ti
    • I agree, too much up and down movement. Probably the best match would be a recumbent bike with attached keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Bikes make much less noise than a treadmill also.

      If any company were to actually do this, I think it would have to have them in a separate room from the regular cubes. Then they would need a way to allow anyone who comes along use them instead of having them set up for an individual person. Maybe use remote desktop or something like that. A lot of workers would nee
  • For those that can afford it, the FPGamerunner looks like a cool idea, not for exercising (nothing beats a good solid 3-5 miles of outdoor running) but for enjoying the game itself more. Oddly, the Gamerunner [] site quotes the price as only $495 and not $1299 as quoted in the article.
  • Think of all the exercise you'll get while mowing lawns to raise the $1299 to buy it!
  • 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.
  • by pytheron ( 443963 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:14AM (#19144819) Homepage
    According to, you lose 655 pounds straight away !!
  • I've been running 2mi 2-3 times per week on my treadmill while (attempting) to play various FPS games.
    It's a blast, and it really takes my mind off the boredom of jogging far more than listening to music or watching TV does.

    I'd suggest you wear a helmet if you're going to try this, though:)
  • Why? Because the lardasses get medically excused for being, whatelse, lazy lardasses. They even get handicap stickers for being so big. We had 3 go for gastro surgery only to put 3/4s of the weight back on within 2 years.

    The people who need to lose the weight are the last people who will try. Let alone at work, with medical insurance as it is with government inteference either my medical bills will skyrocket as they are entitled to these machines or my medical insurance will skyrocket to support contin
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      I'm offended by that. I'm overweight (medically obese) at 260lbs (should be 180, apparently.) I don't like being fat, but I refuse to have surgery to deal with it. I have an elliptical machine in my house and a bicycle which I barely ride, but I find I don't ever have enough time. I -want- to lose the weight, but life tends to get in the way.

      Do you have any idea how hard it is to diet and keep your energy level up for work? Probably not, as you're skinny enough to call people 'lardasses'. Staying skin
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bwcarty ( 660606 )
        Let's see, you have an elliptical machine and a bicycle, but don't have enough time to use them; however, you also have a Nintendo Wii, which you do seem to have time for, and you're considering a machine that works in conjuction with video games.

        Sounds like video games are a higher priority than health for you. 30-60 minutes a day on the elliptical or bike a few times a week would be a good start. The weight won't disappear overnight, but over time, it will have some positive benefits.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          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 st
  • Not practical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sircastor ( 1051070 )
    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
  • by etully ( 158824 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:18AM (#19144899)
    Geeks arguing about exercise. Yeah - this oughta be good.
  • I burn plenty of calories in front of my PC every day...
  • 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). [] []
  • 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
    • by MrZaius ( 321037 ) []

      It's been done:
      "The PCGamerBike is a compact exercise bike that directly interacts with PC games. Your pedal motion precisely controls your character motion in the game. Pedal forward to move your character forward, pedal reverse to move your character backward. Just plug it into a USB port and it's ready to go."
      • by EnderGT ( 916132 )

        Not quite the same...

        From the published game: Your pedal motion precisely controls your character motion in the game

        in the GP, pedal motion controls available power. power is then distributed between weapons, shields, and propulsion.

        To the GP: Seems like an interesting idea, and one that might sell. Go for it!

  • Or in real money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:24AM (#19144967)
    In real money, that's 30kg. Or four stone ten.
    • In real life that is half my body weight! (even though I am 1.80m tall
    • How does this machine work? Will it cut my arms and legs off, before draining me of blood?

      Even though I'm 1.83m and well-built, it's still just a couple of kilos away from half my bodymass.
  • It's nice... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tatisimo ( 1061320 )
    I read an article a while ago about how we have overrated sitting, and so much sitting time is costing us our health. I read something about how many hours we were supposed to spend sitting, how many standing, and how many laying down. Anymore that that time limit, and we'd be stressing our bodies beyond nature. Then, yet another article on how some schools were trying to have students stand up while studying in order to prevent bad posture and promote weight-loss (standing up is already a workout).

    I alre

  • 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.
    • 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?
    • 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.

      I guess that explains the popularity of drive-throughs.

    • My BMR totally sedentary 24/7 is over 3kCal/day, so I just have to sit completely motionless for nine hours to burn off that value meal...
    • No, not entirely. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith ( 2679 )

      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.

      OK. 2 things...

      1: Don't worry about your weight, it isn't what matters. What matters is your size. Muscle is five times more dense than fat. You exercise, you physically shrink though you may well stay the same weight or even put some on.

      Use a tape measure, not scales.

      2: When you exercise, the muscle you build requires energy to run it 24/7 day. You may only expend 200 calories during the exercise itself, but if it makes your body consume 5% more calories while resting you are going to lose weight auto

    • Exercise has important health benefits and you should be doing it. But to lose weight, you need to control your food intake.

      You do not necessarily need to reduce your food intake to lose weight, though it's useful for the obese. If someone has a consistent caloric and nutritional intake, their weight will reach equilibrium. Adding exercise to the equation will cause them to lose weight -- not only does it bun calories directly, but it stimulates the metabolism and causes the body to burn additional calori

    • All the fad diets and pills are bullshit and possibly harmful as well. Eat less calories, and you will lose weight.

      Well, let me just piss you off then. When I was on the Atkins diet I lose 90 lb in 9 mo, 10 lb/mo, without exercising.

      I felt better physically than I have since childhood.

      My cholesterol count was lower than before I began the diet.

      cut out all the hydrogenated fats. Eating lard would be less harmful.

      Actually, if you run the numbers, eating lard will actually lower your cholesterol count. Un

    • I eat about 1,500-2,000 calories a day. I should be losing weight at a steady but slow pace, but instead I often find myself gaining weight? What gives?

      Simple. My body gets used to the 1,500-ish calories a day. I don't lose any weight, but I start feeling tired and stiff. On weekends or drinking nights perhaps I go up to 2,500. I still feel like shit, but I just gained 1,000 in excess calories.

      Exercise may not be particularly useful for buring calories, but it is vital in keeping your metabolism up and ensu
    • by quisph ( 746257 )
      Do you not realize that you still burn calories even when you're not exercising?
  • Geeks and exercise. Isn't that like cats and dogs. coke and pepsi. vi and emacs. You know that the combination exists in the wild, but the thought disturbs you on so many levels.
  • Did you know you could lose as much as 66 pounds by sweating on your PC?

    1 ounce - The weight of the tendon they're going to have to cut out of your carpal tunnel when you try using a keyboard and mouse whilst bouncing up and down on a treadmill.

    300 lbs (you know it's true, regadless of the 175 you put on your drivers license) - the dead weight your company will shed when they fire your ass for the low productivity you can manage whilst bouncing around on a treadmill, unable to type quickly or use the mouse with any accuracy.

    Treadmills are great things. I personally love them a

  • Hamster wheels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:48AM (#19145321) Homepage
    Odd, I heard about this on NPR this morning. But before this report was a longish report about how the "business community" of France was annoyed that they weren't getting the profits they could get if the workers weren't restricted to 35 hours of non-OT work by law. Report also mentioned that by law, all workers had to get physical checkups in order to work. The report, trying to be "balanced", mentioned that actually French workers were more productive than Americans, per hour worked.

    Then the report about the hamster wheel desk. No irony intended, I'm sure.

    Thing about the workers with the shorter work week in France that they didn't mention? They aren't really all that overweight. Thin, actually. American workers are not. I'd have to come down on the side that would say that we're fat because all we f*ing do is work. I do fifty a week at a forty job, and get warned about even three hours of OT. Thanks jeebus I ride a bike to work during the summer, or I'd have a bypass operation by now. I'm too tired to exercise -- it't no fun when you get home at eight and all you want to do is drop into a chair, not from physical, but mental exhaustion. And no, the other jobs aren't better, all the coming anecdotes from star IT workers to the contrary.

    Employer solution? Well, force me out and replace me with H1B labor, sure, or make two people do my job, which already is a composite of two people's jobs. But maybe, a Habitrail! That's the solution!

    Or we can reregulate our work world and have a 35 hour week, or in reality a 40. Nah. That's communism.

    But we are fat, dying too young of old men's diseases, overcharged by a factor of two for medical care for a crap lifestyle, have no free time, and are less productive and by survey a hell of a lot less happy than the French. And the French companies are by no means impoverished; they just want more profits. So they want to be more like us, eh? Alors, time to get the French Habitrail desk. I hope it has a nice winerack for lunch, at least. Another thing they can do is drink at lunch...
    • Oops. Bad form, but to make the fourth paragraph make sense, I meant to say: hire H1B or can me and hire someone more desperate -- lots of them now -- who won't complain and won't notice, being too young to see the changes.

      Another cool thing about making us more "productive" is that it generates a large pool of former workers who are willing to work for McDonald's wages if they can just have a chance, eventually, of getting medical coverage -- in three months after starting the job. Oh, forgot about the mi
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )

      Another thing they can do is drink at lunch

      Ture, I work for the fr gov, and there's wine available at the office restaurant. But in the 4 months I've been here, no one has touched the stuff. I've seen people grab a bottle when there are suits (read vendors) around, or maybe the rare celebration. But bring an american in there and he'll be drunk on the spot. Liberty is the liberty to choose, not to abuse.

      Anyway, back on topic, I think biking to work is the best all around solution to the work/exercise. An

    • If you don't want to be part of that world, then don't be.

      I work freelance. I set my own hours, I invoice $100/hr, and I work about three billable hours per day (average), plus another hour or so for administrative tasks and paperwork. That makes me a tidy/satisfactory income and leaves me plenty of time to spend on staying in shape and doing non-earning and hobby work, or just studying to stay up on the latest tech. And I have no commute; even though I live in Los Angeles I almost never wait in traffic.
  • 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."
    Call me when it has a boxing glove attached that will punch you in the face everytime your character gets shot. THAT is the level of realism I'm looking for in my FPS experience.
  • How about a balance seat (same idea as a wobble board or ball) which requires the person sitting to maintain balance. It'd keep the legs, back and stomach active all day.

  • 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"
    • 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.

      This would be great for me. I do about 30 miles a day on my bike commuting to/from work. Hell, I'd make out like a bandit at just one download per 10 miles.
      Somebody get cracking on the giving me free stuff!
  • Up 'til now, no animal breeder has developed a calf that will walk into an enclosed pen of its own free will, tenderize itself while eating rich foods, then demand that it and its mates be slaughtered in the name of the free market.

    We are a special breed, we American workers.
  • What I'd really be interested in is a recumbent bike generator, something that I can pedal at while slouched at my desk (and is ergonomically designed to support my slouch), gives me on-screen feedback for motivation, and turns my pedalling into power.
  • by Temujin_12 ( 832986 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @11:32AM (#19146049)
    I'm cucreantly oon a traedmill worksttatioan and I mu8tgst say that6y I lovwe it. It makeeks lossigsn weight so easty. Ittsw a littlwe buumpy but I dootn' think anyoeonq2 nottices.
  • 100 calories (kilocalories, really, as food "calories" are really kilocalories of actual energy) an hour is 116.22222 watts []. Average retail electricity price in 2/2007 was $0.0874:KWh []. An hour burning 100KCal is worth about $0.01 in electric costs.

    If the treadmill could power my PC, I'd be more interested. Because though the actual cost savings are small, the motivation from saving the electricity might actually overbalance the idea that I'm the first generation of humans powering the Matrix.
    • at 160 lbs, my run works to about 600 cal/hour according to the thing on the treadmill. That's more than enough to power a computer. However, I'm not moving the treadmill. Believe me, all 600 of those calories go towards moving just me.

      The stationary bike I use shows how many watts is being generated at the current time, as you have to power the bike. I can get it to about 225W, but not for longer than 5 or 6 minutes. Lance Armstrong has been "clocked at 500W" according to Google, but probably not for long.
      • All of those systems have resistance that consume the power you generate. Since you are not moving (much) on a treadmill, it's moving the treadmill. Most of these exercise systems include artificial, even user-variable, resistance. That resistance is turned to heat or rotating inefficient gear systems. Instead, engineering for transduction efficiency could transfer that power to a battery, possibly up to about 500-600(K)cal:h in your case.

        The article mentions a USB treadmill for some lame game. I wonder how
  • 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.
  • I know people who claim they instantly get headaches trying to read in cars while I've spent decades reading everything from Descartes to my mail on a commuter bus. But put me on a stationary bike and even watching TV is severely annoying. Believe me, you wouldn't want me as an employee in that setup.

    Nonetheless, it's an appealing concept. I always thought Hemingway was on to something.
    • I was about to say the same thing. Halfway through my run, don't expect me to say much intelligent. I could walk and do it, but walking on a treadmill is just boring.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.