Last week I was having dinner with my mother when she mentioned that her friend Terry was chairing a health expo at her temple, B’Nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim. It was going to be a blood drive as well as offering other services free to the community at large. The Council for Jewish Elderly (CJE), a wonderful organization that offers an amazing set of services for the elderly (both Jewish and non-Jews alike) was in attendance giving free screens for diabetes, and there were going to be other chiropractors, doctors, and other health care professionals there to supply free information about their particular health specialty. So when I contacted Terry and told her that I would like to bring a treadmill desk and not only educate people about the dangers of a stationary existence, but also allow people to try the treadmill desk out, she thought it would be a great fit. So I secured the last spot they had for the health fair and proceeded to make plans on moving my treadmill desk set up from my office in Chicago, to the suburb of Deerfield where the temple is.

It was my first time having to move our installed treadmill desk, and I was really hoping that the physical move would not be too much of a challenge. I personally use a treadmill desk setup from Lifespan fitness called the Lifespan Fitness TR1200-DT7 and I figured was going to need a truck and some muscle to help move a standing desk and treadmill base, so I called my friend Gary to see about borrowing one of his trucks since the desk and treadmill were going to need to be moved by flat bed.

treadmill-gary-1

treadmill truck

Gary loads up the Lifespan TR1200-DT7 onto his flatbed early Sunday morning

Gary went from “good friend” to “amazing friend” when he agreed not only to help with his truck, but also to actually show up and help me load it and drive me to the temple. Now mind you this was being done on a SUNDAY morning and we needed to meet around 7am to get there on time. Big shout out of thanks to Gary!!

We loaded up Gary’s flatbed and got to BJBE with no problem. We were at the temple and set up by 9am and almost immediately people started walking up to my “booth” which was really just my treadmill desk with me walking on it. However, the desk is so spacious that it allowed me to have flyers on the front for people to read and take. I had one article on the dangers of sitting, as well as some printed out versions of a blog I recently wrote on the 6 misconceptions of using a treadmill desk. By the end of the day, I needed more copies of both!

mike on treadmill

Mike using the Lifespan TR1200-DT7 at the BJBE health fair

I was right between the group from CJE and Dr. Jeff Alexander from the Weil Foot and Ankle institute. Dr. Alexander was there giving advice to some of the attendees around the care and protection of their feet and ankles. (Of course).

Many people stopped by while waiting for their diabetes test to start, or after speaking with Dr. Alexander. I started to get many questions as well as hear some reactions to the walking treadmill desk. Most of the reaction was extremely positive.

BJBE fair

CJE team gets ready to give diabetes screenings

tredmill BJBE guys

The team from Weil foot and Ankle institute educate attendee on good ankle support

Top Questions and reactions I received about my treadmill desk

As people were walking around, I could see the surprise in their eyes as they would see me walking as I type this blog. Some of them approach to find out “just what are you doing over here?” My answer is “I am showing how walking while you work is easily done”

Some of the top questions/comments I have received were:

I think I would get dizzy or lose my balance while working and walking on a treadmill desk. Do you find yourself ever losing your balance?

My answer to this one is a simple NO. While I of course can’t guarantee that any one person may not have such a problem while using a walking desk, I can say that I have had many people try the device and I have yet to have anyone fall off or even misstep. The reason for this is that when you are walking on a treadmill desk you are walking at a very slow speed so it is very easy to get used to. Most people get used to it almost immediately, others it might take one or two walks to get used to the movement, but so far we have not experienced anyone that could not get used to typing or talking on the phone while using the treadmill desk and quickly at that. For those that still did not seem convinced, I invited them up to give it a try. Most people thought the treadmill would be moving at a pretty fast pace. When they discovered that the entire time I was walking it was at a 1.3MPH pace, and they actually tried walking at that pace. The immediately saw how silly it was to think that balance would become an issue.

byron treadmill

BJBE health fair attendee finds the Lifespan TR1200-DT7 easy to use

How much does one of these desks costs?

The answer to this is of course, they vary, but the unit that I was demonstration on which is the Lifespan TR1200-DT7 is $1,999, and that includes both the treadmill as well as the desk with 1-button control to move the desk up and down. Most people’s reaction to this was extremely positive. I was actually a little surprised. Everyone thought that was completely reasonable for the quality of the desk as well as the treadmill. I explained that other lifespan bundles with the treadmill were $1,499 such as the TR1200-DT5. On this unit you save $500, but the desk needs to be adjusted manually instead of automatically. This is a nice savings if you will be the only one using the unit, but if you need to move it for any other user, it is manual and a two person job. (Not due to weight, but just physical construction of the unit).

I explained that some people like to purchase a nicer finished auto adjustable desk separately and then purchase the Lifespan treadmill base by itself. We carry a few models from a company called iMovR. The best seller we have in fact is the iMovR 83 inch Thermodesk Elite Now, while this desk is a bit more pricey at $1,499 (with no treadmill base, $2,499 with one), it is also a very high quality auto adjusting desk, and one that allows you to choose your own finish type/color. It also is 83 inches wide which takes care of another question I got over and over again:

Can you use the desk to walk AND sit?

On the iMovR 83 inch Elite, you have enough room for both the treadmill as well as a chair. So all you need to do to sit for a while is adjust the height of the treadmill desk. If you plan on using your treadmill desk for over 4 hours a day, chances are you might want to consider this because if it is our only desk, you might want to be able to sit and walk. The Lifespan TR1200 model that I use does not have the space for both. If I wanted to use the same desk to sit, I would have to angle the treadmill on its wheels and physically move it. Of course I could use it as a standing desk by just turning off the treadmill and standing on the base without walking. So the answer to the price question was we carry a range from about $1499-$2,500, and most people thought (and I agree) that the desk quality was there to easily justify that price range.

Are you selling these to companies like 50 at a time?

This question was kind of a surprise. Not that I got it, but just how many times I got it. The answer to the question is generally no, not yet. We have sold some into companies, including Google, but most organizations are purchasing 1 or 2 units to put into a shared area. We have had a few reorders for more within the company as adoption takes place, but we have yet to sell 50 units at a time as of yet. We do feel that there is this potential in the future, and I think the fact that so many people asked this shows that it makes sense and perhaps this is a wave we will see in the future.

After having many attendees actually try out the walking treadmill desk, and answering just a bunch of questions about the health hazards of sitting at a desk all day, it was finally time for Gary to come back to help me pack up and being my Lifespan TR1200 treadmill desk back to Black Diamond Solutions, my technology consulting company in the Chicago. We packed up the unit like we did in the morning just 5 hours ago, and headed back to the city.

The BJBE health fair was a great event. It was great for many in the community to be able to learn about such a wide range of health issues as well as donate blood and get some screenings done. The treadmill desk is no more Jewish than it was before, but the event was a smashing success. I hope we can do it again next year!

Blog Post Script.

So somehow on the trip back to Chicago, (and I am truly not sure how) a data port that connects the treadmill to the console that gives you feedback such as time, distance, speed, calories, and steps got damaged and actually made the unit not usable. This is because that console also controls the speed of the unit so with no connectivity, you can’t get the treadmill to move. Well once realized this was the case, I went online and entered my TR1200 serial number at the support site at Lifespan and within 2 hours got a call from a tech that is now sending me the part I need. So while I am not happy about a mysterious break down on my treadmill, I was happy to see that the manufacture does stand behind its product and my treadmill desk will be up and running again very soon.