I have back problems. I won’t get into the details, but we’ll suffice it to say that sitting is not good for my back. (Point of fact, it’s not really good for anyone‘s back, but it causes me serious problems when I sit for long portions of my day.) This presents a special kind of hell when you happen to spend a great deal of time writing – as the first rule of writing is BUCHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.
I did a ton of research on how to mitigate the damage I’ve been doing by sitting so much. What exercises can I do? What stretches will help? The answer? None. There’s nothing I can do in half an hour or an hour a day that will undo all of the damage I inflict by sitting for 6-8 hours a day. Period.
Sucky news. However, in doing this research I came across a growing phenomenon – standing desks. Instead of trying to undo the damage, how about just not doing the damage in the first place? And when I was researching standing desks, I came across an even weirder phenomenon.
The treadmill desk.
Instead of just standing in one place and working, you walk about 1-2 miles per hour while you work. Since I know that walking is especially good for my back problems, I thought that this would be the perfect solution.
So in short order, I snatched up my parent’s unwanted treadmill and my husband and I cobbled together a table-like surface and bolted it to the treadmill arms. Viola! Treadmill desk.
I was set to go! One problem. The treadmill desk is located in our basement – a man-cave like space that is overwhelmed with… beige. And the catfood sits on the desk as well (because the fat one eats the skinny one’s food unless we put it up high enough that he can’t haul his enormous butt up that far) so it smells like catfood. It’s not exactly an inspiring space.
My desk upstairs is beautiful – etched glass with butterflies and flowers. I have a lovely picture of a butterfly hanging in front of me. I love working at my desk, and I really haven’t been a big fan of going downstairs to hang out in the cat food scented pit of despair, but I know it’s for my own good, so I challenged myself to use it every day for 2 weeks straight. In the beginning, doing the treadmill desk was hard, but it’s gotten quite a bit easier over the last week.
Because I made a habit out of it and now do it without thinking? -Nope.
Because I learned to enjoy it? -Nope.
Because I have willpower? -Nope.
Then why is it easier???
Well, I’ll tell you why. I mentioned that my cat’s food lives up on the treadmill desk, and as soon as I started using it regularly, Kiki and I got into a routine.
She eats for a while.
Then she tries to cross over my laptop and when I won’t let her, she picks her way behind the laptop to the other side
I quickly move my tea and iPad from one side to the other to avoid her spilling the tea onto all of my electronics.
She cleans herself and hangs out for… about 5 minutes.
Then she decides that maybe she’s not done after all, crosses back behind the laptop again, I quickly move my tea back over to where it was originally, and she eats a little more. When she’s done… well you get the picture. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s both annoying and adorable. But the thing is, she gets really angry with me if I haven’t done the treadmill desk yet that day and will stand next to my chair and follow me around the house meowing non-stop until I get my laptop and head downstairs.
Basically, I’m being bullied into using my treadmill desk by my cat.