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Active Computing

A recent article in the local paper discussed the benefits of standing while doing work that would normally be done sitting down. Apparently, many people have turned to standing at their desks, and this sparked debate among laymen and professionals alike about the benefits of standing at a desk. Some advocated standing over sitting, some believed the opposite. Ultimately, the only agreement that seemed to be reached was that constantly sitting can cause problems. A device called the Geek Desk (see below) was the catalyst for the sitting or standing debate. The Geek Desk is an adjustable height office desk, designed to be used in either position.

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One of the images in the article showed a gentleman walking on a treadmill, while working on his computer. This brings me to the reason for this tip, if you can call this a tip. For a few years now, I’ve had my laptop connected to a remote keyboard and mouse that rest on a board mounted on the handlebars of a bicycle. The bike is in turn mounted on a trainer. The laptop sits on a file cabinet that just happens to be the right height for viewing from the bike seat. This is an old bike with wide flat handlebars, on which a book reader supports a board wide enough for the keyboard and mouse. It isn’t rocket science and it isn’t pretty, but it’s very functional (and cheap).

I frequently ride this monstrosity while working on the computer at home. This isn’t done to increase fitness, as much as it is to reduce boredom. If there is a health benefit (and the way I ride, that’s not very likely), it’s just icing on the cake. The only real problem with this setup is that the computer screen is a little too far away. This problem is relieved to some degree by increasing the size of objects and text on the screen, using a technique described in a tip you can find here.

Whatever reason for doing it or method chosen, it seems that finding a way to add some physical activity to an otherwise sedentary pursuit, is probably not a bad idea. I’m certainly not recommending my way, but it’s one example of a way to be more active (and less bored) while working on your computer. And since it’s almost a given that your hands need to be free for computer work, moving your legs seems the easiest way to stay active.

A little searching revealed many other devices to increase activity while computing. None were as cheap as my setup, but all were much more attractive. Several of them can be seen below. However, all I could find were treadmill devices. I wasn’t able to find anything for riding a bicycle while computing. Imagine that.

The Signature 9000 Treadmill Desk [1]

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Treadmill Desk UK [2]

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The Sit-to-Walk Station

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The Trekdesk and the Walkstation [3]

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If you’re interested in becoming a little more active while working on your computer, you may want to give one of these a try. For more information on this subject, you can watch a video on treadmill desks here

~Kevin