Sunday, February 01, 2009

Constructing the Treadmill

In the Introduction we've talked about why keeping up activity is so important for life and success - especially for Geeks. I have to explain right up front that I just put this together as a prototype. I'm going to 'do it properly' real soon now. The problem is it has worked so well for so long, it's only when I go to show the photos of what I did that I realise how 'quick and dirty' my method is. The good news? It's easy.
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Setting up a Treadmill

Slow speed operating requires a treadmill that has at least a 2 HP motor (continuous output ) or 2.5 HP peak. The treadmill should have a cushioned platform. I bought one from Rebel Sports with “D” shaped rounded arms. Flat projecting arms are also suitable for a flat desktop. Make sure the cooling fan airflow can still reach your body.

The PC can be mounted on a tilting platform taken from a mobile computer desk (Freedom Furniture used to have an ideal model). This can then be clamped to the treadmill structure. I bought the newest one from Officeworks and the box lid shows the original table. The tilting structure means that part of the platform remains level for the mouse pad, and more importantly, coffee. So how did this master craftsman attach the table? I just took out the table top and clamped it to the side bar. The red objects in the picture are really just the red clamps.
Shameful but true.

Note the dictation headset. Dictation is the perfect application for the walking worker. Skype calls, phone calls can all be done. Just don't start puffing or the other party might hang up on you.

If you are not used to being on your feet, there's another thing you should think about. good walking shoes and foot protection. Heavier walkers might need gel cushioning and arch support.

Inner soles for shoes start with low cost and lightweight pads:

These have little cushioning, but can be washed to keep shoes fresh.

Next are gel shock absorbing pads. They are very effective (provided the dog doesn’t chew through
the gel encapsulation - and yes that is experience talking).

Be aware that they come in major shoe size groups and the outer edge is trimmed by scissors to shoe size. They have the advantage of thinness and can be worn with most business shoes.

Then there is sculpted support like the Scholl Gel foot support with removable arch support. The coloured arch insert can be swapped over three degrees of hardness.
These work with most business shoes but many sports shoes have an inbuilt arch support that interferes with the correct positioning of the Scholl support. If you are having problems then get proper advice on your walking style and correct footwear early. I know the Saturday morning clip showed a woman in heels, but I have to admit to reservations, particularly if walking over most of a day. If you are not used to this - start slowly, maybe in multiple sessions before joining them into longer units of walking.

Next we look at walking with friends.

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