Rob Horton is a Senior Consultant and the Sustainment Practice Lead at ThreeWill. His experience includes over 20 years leading software architecture, design and development focusing on support tools, automation and e-commerce for large corporations and his own small businesses.
An Unfortunate Conclusion
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that my career at ThreeWill as a Senior Consultant is slowly killing me. You’ve seen the headlines, “Sitting Increases Chronic Disease Risks by up to 20%” and “Sitting Too Long Can Kill You”. It’s too bad that these headlines are actually legitimate. In a recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers conclude sitting more than eight hours a day increases the risk of premature death by 10-20%.
Scary stuff, especially for someone who sits for a living and may or may not have added a few pounds over the past couple of years. I have decided I’m not going down without a fight; I’m joining the walking desk team. I believe this is my best option, as it will give me the opportunity to take frequent breaks from sitting, increase my physical activity throughout the day, and continue completing my work obligations. I am fortunate that ThreeWill provides me the flexibility to frequently work from home, so setting up a walking desk is even an option.
Fortunately, other consultants at ThreeWill already have standing desks and one, Kirk Liemohn, already has a walking desk set up, so my research consisted of asking around and then reading some reviews. I settled on the following gear:
- Standing Desk: I purchased the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 – Business Edition Black XL Top + Black Frame. It has dual motors, adjusts quickly, has 4 presets and is wide enough to have space for walking or sitting. It does require assembly, but I found the instructions well written and was able to complete the task in a little over an hour. If you’d like to save a few bucks, you can use my referral code.
- Treadmill: I purchased the LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill. It is designed for walking, so the motor is engineered for slower speeds and longer durations. Additionally, it has no upright structure and fits nicely under a desk. The control panel is tethered and can be placed on top of your desk. Finally, it is sufficiently quiet and can be used while on conference calls. Note: I do use a dedicated Jabra headset for calls and its microphone does a superb job of eliminating background sounds.
Walking Desk Follow Up – One Month Later
I’ve had my walking desk setup for about a month and feel like I’ve become accustomed to walking while working. I usually keep a 2.5 mph pace when actively using my laptop and slightly faster for conference calls. I’ve found it easy to stay balanced with my hands on my keyboard and actively typing (for example, I wrote this blog while walking). For activities that require fine mouse skills, I’ve had to slow down and even stop walking at times to keep the mouse from jumping around. Overall, I feel I am just as productive while walking.
From an activity perspective, I can report that my average daily steps have tripled, and I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I also find myself making excuses to walk (both at my walking desk and otherwise) and enjoy the personal challenge to increase my activity and steps. It has truly been transformative. I will post an update in the coming months to report on how the gear is holding up and how my personal activity has changed.