In my book The Happiness Project, I describe how and why I bought my sister Elizabeth a treadmill desk, to use in her office where she works as a writer and producer in Hollywood.
Along with getting my husband a subscription to Sports Illustrated, this is the most successful gift I’ve ever given.
I had to ask her permission, of course: you can’t just spring a treadmill desk on someone. They’re enormous.
But after some thought, she did accept it, and it makes me so happy that she’s used a treadmill desk ever since.
In fact, as soon as she announced that she was getting a treadmill desk, her writing partner Sarah Fain got one, too! They have two treadmill desks side by side in their office on the Disney lot, and use the treadmill desks while they work. I often hear it softly whirring in the background when I’m talking to Elizabeth on the phone.
There’s even a segment on their podcast Happier in Hollywood called "From the Treadmill Desks of..." when they talk about what’s most pressing in their work psyches that week.
Because we often mention the treadmill desk, many people become intrigued by the idea of getting one themselves – with the hope of getting more activity into their work day, without having to make a special time or trip for exercise.
If you wonder what Elizabeth uses, she has a LifeSpan 1200 DT. It goes up to four miles per hour, no incline.
I must confess that when I bought that model for her, I didn’t do much research on which one to buy. I’d read a lot about the value of treadmill desks, and when I read Susan Orleans’s article in The New Yorker, "The Walking Alive: Don’t Stop Moving" about Orleans’s great experience with her treadmill desk, I looked up the model she’d bought, thought it looked good, and bought that one.
To answer some questions that I’ve received about about treadmill desks: you walk very slowly, so you don’t sweat; the machine is quiet (quieter than a window air-conditioner) so it is possible to talk on the phone while on the machine; it is possible to type, answer emails, etc. while on the machine, though Elizabeth does sit down if she’s doing a lengthy piece of writing.
I would love to have a treadmill desk myself, but my strange little home office is too small to fit one.
Do you have a treadmill desk – or are you intrigued by the possibility of having one? Does your office provide them? I’ve noticed that in many offices, there are treadmill desk stations where people can go work, if they choose.