Sara Gaynes's blog "My Workday On The Treadmill Desk" is part of an ongoing series where Huffington Post employees report on their time working from the TreadDesk available in our offices. Look for more on our "We Tried It" page.
I realize it was a little disingenuous to have several coworkers test the treadmill desk before I, your fearless fitness editor, hopped on the belt. But I'll be honest: I wanted to see the after-effects of spending a workday trotting away before I laced up my kicks.
And fellow-Healthy Living-ite Catherine Pearson's reaction scared me just a little. She's was not a fan. I'm always up for a challenge, but Catherine's face at 5:30 p.m. after her day on the machine made me think I'd just signed a death warrant.
Nevertheless, the next morning I bounced into work in the lightest-weight sneakers I could find, prepped for a day of walking. I did a light 30-minute recumbent bike ride that morning to loosen up my muscles, which in retrospect seems like it was a really good choice. I started the treadmill a little after 11:00 a.m. and walked (and walked, and walked) until a little after 6 p.m. -- 6 p.m. was my original deadline, but true to form, I was enjoying it so much I just had to finish on an even mileage number.
So, yes. It may be a cliché, but the fitness editor loved the TreadDesk. My legs definitely felt like they were on fire at points, but a combo of walking lunges and leg raises kept me from wincing in too much pain. And yes, working was difficult (especially because AOL's TreadDesk is in an open space that invites gawkers to gape and make small talk), but I had given myself a day purposely filled with editing instead of hardcore reporting, which was easier to do while also concentrating on not falling. I also varied my pace continually throughout the day, which kept me from getting too bored or frustrated with the monotony of the machine. This, however, was a tricky balancing act: I have a hard time with what I call "museum walking," the burning, heavy feeling I get moseying at that lazy 1.0 mph- 1.5 mph pace. My legs wanted to move much, much faster, but if I pushed my speed much above 2.0 mph, my primary activity became walking instead of working.
In the end I was pleased with my progress. I walked 7.15 miles, burning an alleged 655 calories. I left work feeling pretty good. I ran a few errands, picked up some healthy veggies for dinner and headed home. Then I sat down on my bed.
My legs started screaming. I curled up in the fetal position and climbed under the covers, barely able to drag my computer beside me to order a veggie burger and sweet potato fries from the Internet, completely eschewing the fresh groceries now sitting in my fridge. "I earned this!" I thought indignantly. "I walked seven miles today!"
In my post-sweet-potato-fry glow, I thought about what my "accomplishment" really meant in the grand scheme of athletics. People regularly run 26.2 miles in one go. Some people do that after an insane amount of biking and swimming (Ironman athletes, feel free to add specifics on my very vague knowledge of your impressive accomplishments). I walked 7.15 miles -- only slightly more than half the length of the puny isle of Manhattan on which I live. Yeah, right. I earned those fries.
So, yes I loved the Treaddesk, but I also fell victim to the trap of believing I worked harder than I did, which makes me fear it a little bit too. I'd definitely climb back on -- but maybe just for two hours this time, and hopefully afterwards I'll cook those green beans still sitting in my fridge.
Disclaimer: Best practices for using this machine is 30-60 minutes at a time. For the purposes of these fun stories, we have decided to use them for an entire day, but the recommendation is to work gradually up to that point. For more information on use visit www.treaddesk.com.