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Treadmill walking while working
Thread poster: Emma Goldsmith

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Mar 19, 2010

I’d like to share with everyone my latest work set-up of walking on a treadmill while working.

I reckon I spend anything from 8 to 12 hours at my computer every day. To compensate a bit I go out for a run some mornings, but it still seems to be an awful lot of hours to be sitting still.

So I investigated power-plates and got some interesting suggestions, including using a treadmill while translating. So I went for it, and got myself a second-hand treadmill and set my keyboard on top of the treadmill arms. Then I put my monitors up on the top shelf of my desk and switched on the treadmill to 1 km/hr. The idea is to walk gently - no racing heart beat or breaking out in a sweat.

The news one month on is that I’m really enjoying it. It was absolutely exhausting for the first week, but I now do stints of about 60-90 minutes at a time and then sit down for 10-15 minutes before getting up to walk again. I can type and walk without a problem, although handwriting is almost impossible. Work productivity is better, if anything (more blood getting to the brain?)

This is what my set-up looks like:
http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/5290913/1/Treadmill%20Album?h=dab2d3

Are there any other “treadmill translators” out there?
Why not give it a try?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:43
Dutch to English
+ ...
You don't know how much I needed to read something like this ... Mar 19, 2010

... with my 40th birthday around the corner, I've been getting a little down lately about the fact I don't get much time to exercise.

Thanks so much for sharing this Emma, I'm definitely going to look into it!



[Edited at 2010-03-19 18:30 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Wow Mar 19, 2010

Indeed my sister has had a treadmill for quite some time and she enjoys it a lot. I don't know about actually translating while I walk, but I will certainly consider a treadmill just to be able to exercise while keeping an eye on the kids.

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Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:43
English to German
+ ...
Walk across America Mar 19, 2010

I like your idea a lot and I have the same problem. Sitting way too much at my computer. I try to walk 1 hour everyday but there are days when it just doesn't happen.

I googled your idea and found a site that actually promotes this approach. http://www.treadmill-desk.com/

I especially like the idea to keep track how far you are on your way across America without leaving your desk. Might add some motivation when you know you are almost in Chicago


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Mirelluk  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Great fun! Mar 19, 2010

I wonder whether I would trip. I get so absorbed by my work that I am not sure I would be able to look at the screen, read, write, think (that's optional and walk at the same time.

Good for you.

Mirella


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:43
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Speech recognition Mar 20, 2010

Have you ever thought of trying speech recognition to dictate your translations such as Dragon Naturally Speaking?

I'm not sure when looking at your setup whether you might not put extra strain on your wrists. But even if not, you might enjoy your "walk" even more without the necessity to type!


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Ingrid Kolbu
Denmark
Local time: 17:43
Danish to Norwegian
+ ...
great idea Mar 20, 2010

Looks really interesting! Where do you stop the treadmill? (Stop-button)

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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Blank

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:43
German to English
+ ...
fascinating Mar 20, 2010

What an interesting idea! But why does it remind me of Cesar Millan's method of putting dogs on treadmills?

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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not really "over-hang" Mar 20, 2010

Hi Carruthers, looking again at my photo it certainly does look as if I am hanging over the keyboard, but this was because I was looking back over my shoulder for the photo - not a good idea. The treadmill has just the opposite effect in fact. I’ve really been thinking about my posture (as you say I don’t want to regret this in a few years time) and I am definitely in a natural walking position.
There are many websites that discuss the benefits of treadmill walking and working as Hildegard pointed out in her reply. Here is an interesting one related to back pain

And not wanting to contradict you entirely, I would agree that there is little chance of this improving my IQ (I think I’m stuck on my present one for life!) but I cannot agree that my mood will not “change by one iota”. In fact I notice a vast difference after lunch when I return to my workstation. I now feel really alert and don’t get that terrible low period that is normal after a meal.

@ Flexo: the stop button is right in front of me, on the treadmill control panel.
@Heilke: Yes, I have tried Dragon (and given up on it when it made silly mistakes that I found hard to pick up on). But in actual fact since taking the photo, I have raised the height of my keyboard a bit, and typing is as comfortable walking as it was when sitting.
@Tomás: I would say that a treadmill is incompatible with looking after kids. Little ones can get their fingers pinched, and bigger ones (i.e. my 14 yr-old) try to do circus tricks and come to grief.


Edit note: Just seen that Carruthers' post was removed by a moderator. Her message was a bit fierce but I certainly don't feel that it was offensive in any way. In fact it helped to balance the positive feedback from everyone else!

[Edited at 2010-03-20 16:59 GMT]


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Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:43
English to Czech
+ ...
Head tilted? May 13, 2010

I was also thinking about trying this. Thank you for posting your picture. I have two questions:

1. Your head seems to be tilted/bowed down while you walk. I estimate that you need to tilt your head a whole 45 degrees down to read the monitor while walking. Ergonomic recommendation is placing your monitor to see it without tilting your head. In other words, when you look normally (horizontally), the monitor should be in your line of sight. So, is your head really tilted 45 degrees down? Do you feel any neck pain yet? Any neck fatigue?

2. Assuming that this head tilting really happens and that the ideal position is to look straight ahead and also to have your elbows bent at 90 degrees, both your monitor AND your keyboard should be set 50 cm higher while you walk. Do you agree with this based on your experience?


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
head angle May 13, 2010

Hi Milos,
I've put my monitors up about 8 cm since the photo was taken, not because of neck problems, but just because several people made the same comment as you!
I also raised the keyboard about 2 cm, making typing while walking more comfortable, and to find a happy medium to be able to sit and type without changing my set-up. As you say, there is a bit of a difference between sitting and standing heights.
You may find this interesting:
http://www.ergospec.com/flash/computer_standing/index.html
I enjoy walking and working and feel fitter as a result. Only when I'm very stressed (email interruptions/phone calls/children) do I sit down, because although I'm good at multi-tasking, there is a limit!
regards
Emma


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Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:43
English to Czech
+ ...
What about noise? May 19, 2010

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
I've put my monitors up about 8 cm since the photo was taken, not because of neck problems,
Emma


Thank you for your reply. May I ask another question? Many people working long hours with a computer crave quiet environment. They often invest in quiet PCs. Noisy PCs mean that if you want to listen to music you need to ramp up the volume. If you dislike listening to music while working, you still have the computer fan noise.

Does using treadmill involve noise? Possibly more noise than computer fan noise? Has this been a concern for you?

Assuming that noise is not a concern for you but it is for others on this forum, how does it feel if you simply stand while translating, without any walking? Does standing get uncomfortable sooner than walking?


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
noise May 20, 2010

Hi Milos, yes, there is some noise and yes, it's definitely louder than my pc fan. Treadmills are particularly noisy when they are running at a fast speed (not the case) and when your feet are thumping along (not the case either). But anyone who is sensitive to any sort of white noise would find this an issue when working.
I wouldn't recommend standing. Personally, my legs get really tired, and I know that other people have had problems with swollen ankles/feet. So standing and not walking is not an alternative for me at least.
Hope that helps.


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Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:43
English to Czech
+ ...
thanks May 20, 2010

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
So standing and not walking is not an alternative for me at least.
Hope that helps.


Yes, this is very useful and helps me reach a decision. Thank you.


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