Eric's Homemade Stuff

An infrequent blog of stuff I make, including music.

My LaMarche Desk

I’m typing this while walking. It might seem weird to try this but I’m intrigued with the idea of a treadmill desk. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get some exercise back into my life. This seems like a nice thing to try. It didn’t cost very much, just some 1×2s and some screws.

The Desk

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When Jeff LaMarche blogged about making a treadmill desk it inspired me to give it a try. Here’s Jeff’s post, Brilliantly Simple Idea: the Treadmill Desk. I jokingly started calling it a, “LaMarche Desk” because he introduced me to the idea. It turns out that one meaning of ‘la marche’ in French is ‘walking’. This is a perfect name for a treadmill desk! I think I’ll always call it that and see if I can start a trend.

The idea is that you walk while you work on your computer. Jeff built a very strong version to hold his full desktop computer and his big monitors. He then uses his laptop at his regular desk. I went the other way around and built my LaMarche Desk for my laptop, my Apple bluetooth keyboard and my Apple Magic Trackpad. The top shelf holds my laptop and the lower shelf my keyboard and trackpad.

The construction is very simple, just 1×2 boards and some 3/8" plywood. The trick was getting the bracing right so that the desk was sturdy. The measurements would vary so much depending on the treadmill that I probably won’t put up any plans for my version. There are also commercial versions out there, check on Amazon.

Here’s another view showing the big X-brace on the back.

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Keyboard Shelf

I made the keyboard shelf the right height for a negative angle on the keyboard.

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This allows my arms to be at a very natural angle that matches the top of the keyboard. This encourages me to not bend my arms at the wrists. This was one of the tricks I learned in my 10 years of physical and occupational therapy for management of my RSI.

How does it work?

You walk while you work at a nice leisurely pace. Somewhere between 1 mph and 2 mph is the typical speed. This is slow, but you will work up to spending hours a day walking and it is just too hard to type and use your computer at anything faster than 2 mph.

I have only used the desk twice so far. During one session, I walked for an hour and went 1.5 miles. At my weight that ended up being around 210 calories. I plan on increasing the total distance walked slowly until I’m walking between 8 and 10 miles per day. I might hit a thousand calories a day at some point in the future.

The Benefit

This is a great weight-control technique, but that’s not my main motivation. I want more exercise in my life. I want my knees to stop hurting. I want to control my asthma better so I don’t ended up being totally out of breath after one flight of stairs. If I lose 10 pounds that would be great, too.

I’ll see how it goes and will probably write about my progress once in a while.