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Game While you Work Out

I play way too many computer games with the problem being that I do not get enough exercise. I’ve found running with a hand-held game system rather dangerous in that you tend to run into things and have a higher probability of something running into you (sarcastically). I understand a lot of folks are having similar problems trying to run or walk while using a smart phone as well.

What I wanted was something that allowed me to game for hours, do some work if I needed to, and lose weight. I ran into a piece on a Mayo clinic research report which said working, or playing, using a treadmill could do wonderful things for your health and fitness.

This led me to the Steelcase Treadmill Desk which I eventually ordered and have now been using for nearly a month.

Me on the SteelCase treadmill workstationWhat is the Walkstation?

The Steelcase Walkstation is a blending of a custom treadmill and a desk. This treadmill is set to go up to 2 miles per hour (which is plenty fast if you are trying to work at the same time). The desk raises and lowers like a power window using an electronic switch. It has digital monitors for calories burned and weight lost, but you have to set it each time you use it for it to accurately measure your burned calories.

It is very quiet for a treadmill and comes in custom colors and shapes; one is wide enough so that, if you got tired, you could have a desk chair next to the treadmill to sit in after your legs stopped working. (More on that in a minute).

Very few people have one of these and it is a real focal point for any room. In other words everyone that comes over seems to want to see the darned thing.

Experience Using It

When I game I get really focused on the game. I was a little worried I might stop walking and do a face plant off the end of the treadmill but that never happened. What did happen was on the first Saturday I had the Walkstation I gamed for nearly 6 hours. The Walkstation was downstairs; my legs didn’t have the strength to go upstairs when I was done. This made for anything but a really high speed climb to the floor where the food was after my wife called me for dinner.

You need a cup holder, it is way too easy to knock a beverage over while you are walking and gaming. While I didn’t actually make a mess, there were a number of close calls suggesting a cup holder would be money well spent.

My wife likes using it to do email however, two people can’t use it at the same time. This is one of those things you can use for hours and if you have a significant other, they may tie the Walkstation up themselves. Others have been reporting good success with this concept as well.

Price and Alternatives

This product is industrial grade which explains both the list price and the fact it is marketed by Steelcase. With a list price around $6,500 it pops up into nosebleed territory, but realize that this list price is set artificially high so that a reseller can provide a steep discount (in other words if you want one you don’t have to pay list price). You can option it up a lot too with monitor mounts; PC mounts, wiring management, and other accessories. It is almost like buying a car, and, come to think of it, cost me more than several cars I’ve owned over the years.

I went with the Walkstation because I just wanted the product to work and didn’t want to try to build one myself. But others have built their own for a lot less money and, because of the popularity of the Walkstation, competitors are starting to hit the market. One, the afc Industries JW Treadmill Desk allows you to add your own treadmill and it supports a massive number of flat panel monitors (you can make it look like you are running through the country. Tradeoff though, in using a regular treadmill, is how you deal with the treadmill’s control panel which sits right in your face. A few folks have built these things from scratch starting with just a treadmill.

Wrapping Up: It Works

Like this guy I found that when I use the desk regularly I sleep better, seem to be less tired, have more endurance (though I still can hardly make it up the stairs after 6 or more hours on this thing), my concentration appears better, and my posture seems better (or at least my back seems much stronger).

So, no matter how you get there, if you are like me and spend too much time on the computer and not enough time exorcising you may want to try out a Treadmill Desk or Steelcase Walkstation. In my own case, because heart trouble runs in my family, this could actually save my life . Let’s just see how long I use it before it turns into a coat rack.

Editors' Recommendations

Rob Enderle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rob is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, a forward-looking emerging technology advisory firm. Before…
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