Project: Treadmill Desk, Day One


Today was my first day of walking while working.  I have to say, it was kind of anticlimactic, but the results were awesome.  

I had a goal of walking for 4 hours today at a sedate pace of ~2.5 MPH.  Mission accomplished!  Without calculating my current walk, I've logged 9 miles in 3.4 hours.  This walk will take me over my 4 hour mark.

According to my FitBit (pictured above), I completely crushed it today.  Over 30,000 steps, 14 miles and 4,000 calories.  For a dude that has had to work to get 10,000 steps in, that's nothing short of freaking amazing.  

I'm also tracking my daily diet, and I struggled to get in 1,700 calories.  If I keep up with this deficit, I'll be losing ~4 lbs/week.  Though, I expect that in a day or so, my body is going to make known its need for calories.

Which brings me to my motivation for doing all of this.  Besides the fun of exploring something and the pride of building it, I'm doing this to lose weight.  I'm sitting at a solid 220 lbs right now and I'm 5'11".  That's after I spent the first 3 months doing P90X 3!  

220 would be cool if I was 6'4", but I'm not (sadly!  I would even love to claim 6', but alas, God or nature or both denied me that last inch).  I haven't felt really good about my size in at least 3 years, and even then, it was grudging.  I was 180 when I married my lovely wife, and, let's be honest, I felt like a complete stud back then.  I mean, I was 23 and I had just married this really awesome girl, so maybe one would expect me to feel like a stud, but I'd love to see the comparison of 180 at 23 and 180 at 36.

Now, there are other benefits.  I'm cutting my risk of heart disease, diabetes and a host of other diseases significantly.  The daily recommendation is 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  I logged 228 minutes today.  I'm checking that box.  Just being healthier would be huge.  But hitting 180 for our trip to Hawaii in July would be pretty awesome, too.  Perhaps I'm shallow, but I've found my motivation, and it's extreme...  Just like I like it to be!

Now, how is it walking while you work?  Did I get stuff done?  Was I productive?  Was I distracted?

In fact, I found walking and working to be better for productivity and focus than sitting.  When I encounter a problem, I really like when you get to that place where you become so consumed with the problem and its possible solutions that the rest of the world fades away.  The problem becomes everything.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I log that day as a good day.  It happened twice today!  I also knocked out half of my weekly todo list.

I'm not having any difficulty adjusting to typing while walking, and while I'm having a bit of a problem with the trackpad (getting the cursor exactly where I want it is a bit tough), I don't expect that to last.  Most blogs and articles I've read have said that it takes a few days to get adjusted, so I should be just fine.

At any rate, a mile went by while I was telling you all this, and I really didn't notice.  Tomorrow may tell a different tale, though, as it's possible I overdid it a bit today.  If so, I'll tone it back some.  But I have thoroughly enjoyed day one of my experiment.  Let's see what day two brings!

Let the Fury (Flurry?) Unleash! Project: Treadmill Desk

Today marked the first day of Project: Treadmill Desk.  I acquired a treadmill today, a Pro-Form DL of some unknown year.  It has rudimentary controls, but it will tell me my time, speed, distance and calories burned.

The treadmill is situated to the left of my sitting desk (I really have to make that distinction now, don't I?).  I have installed an 18" shelf to hold my laptop and I intend on installing another one above it to hold a 24" monitor.  I still need to figure out how best to run power to the computing equipment, so there may be another shelf installed as an intermediary between the floor and everything else.

So far, I've walked for roughly 40 minutes at a pace of ~2.5 MPH, gaining me 1.69 miles walked.  I have a board set up on the arm rests to hold my keyboard and trackpad.  I quickly realized that resting my hands on this negated my step count on my FitBit, so I will probably begin putting it in my pocket when I'm on the treadmill desk.

Of all the distance I've walked, about half of it has been at max incline.  This is sweaty-making business.  I can see that if I really want to continue this, I'm going to need to get some good workout clothing.  I will also likely need to invest in some good shoes, but for tonight I'm walking barefoot.

I have a good set of noise-canceling headphones, so I don't notice the whine of the treadmill much, but it's not quiet.  I'm not sure this is appropriate for an office environment.  Since I work at home, this is not a big deal, though I may crank the A/C down and freeze the rest of the house...

I've been writing this blog post and doing some light iOS development work for the past hour or so.  Keeping accurate on my keyboard isn't too much of a challenge.  Keeping track of my laptop, though, is another matter.  My head is bobbing back and forth enough that it makes focusing a bit difficult.  Of course, the time (11:30 pm) and the few beers I have had may be contributing.  We'll see tomorrow.

I'm going to be keeping a log of each day, which I may share soon.  I'd like to flesh it out before I make it public.

All in all, I'm quite excited about what this may entail for my health.  My goal is to get down to 180 lbs, which is a drop of ~40 from the ~220 lbs I am right now.  I figure that walking at least 5 miles a day will help with this.

I'll check back in soon.  In the meantime, you all have a good night.

Signing off at 50 minutes, 2.18 miles walked.

Wearables: What the Future Holds

Allow me to dream.  About the future, about our never-ending quest, as a human species, for health, and where we stand in that quest.

You step out in the morning for your daily run.  Perhaps it's spring in the Southeast, the mornings are cool, the pollen is thick in the air.  A bay is miles off, but its influence on your weather is unmistakable: temperate winters with evenly hot summers.

As always happens, your central unit is cataloging your every move.  Your shoes provide data, your light pants provide data, your shirt provides data, your watch provides data.  As you begin your 6 mile trek, your central unit processes not only your movement in terms of kinetics, but also in terms of absolute position upon the earth.  Your every stride is cataloged in terms of energy spent.

Your new eye contacts display the distance run, the time it's taken, your average pace.  You notice that you're a few seconds off your best, so you start pushing it.  Pretty quickly, your drenched in sweat, but your personal HUD tells you that you're on pace for a new personal record.  It's going to be a great day.

You dial up that latest music you've been listening to, or perhaps your favorite podcast (though, really, none of the kids now-a-days call them podcasts.  What an anachronistic term!).  All of this with a few quick flicks of your eyes in concert with your teeth and jaws.

And quickly, over the next hour, you bang out a personal best.  It feels good to be greeted to the sights and sounds of victory as you end your run.  It's pretty amazing to reflect on where technology has come from.

You leave your run and head in for breakfast.  As you eat, the implants in your teeth catalog your caloric intake, updating your daily nutritional log.  You check it quickly to see how you're doing at maintaining your weight, and you see you're doing well.  So long as you keep up the daily activity, you should be fine.

Once again, as you move through the house getting ready for work, the various sensors take stock of your movement, and what it means in terms of your daily health.  Even the small things are cataloged, not a movement is wasted.  You know, within 10 kilocalories, how much energy you've expended.

After you eat, the nano-network you have floating in your bloodstream goes to work checking that things are working well.  While each individual nanocite is pretty dumb, as a network, they can measure an almost perfect picture of your blood health.  They can catalog your insulin levels, your blood sugar levels, the number of lipids in your blood stream, so many things.

A few weeks ago, you were warned about a possible cold you had contracted.  Your doctor's office, the same place that all of your data is daily uploaded to on a regular basis, contacted you with a prescription for heading it off at the pass.  Luckily, you didn't have to suffer through it.

Of course, nano-networks need updating as new bugs are found and old bugs are retired, so you have to visit your doc every quarter or so for a new rendition.  Luckily, the rendition is taken via pill format, so not too bad.  They've been getting pretty good in the past few years, but there is still a long way to go.

As you head off to work, you reflect on what you know about yourself from technology at the age of 90.  Your able to monitor and assess your daily health with the input of the vast array of sensors that now adorn your body.  Your every caloric intake and energy expenditure is kept in balance.  You have an early warning system within your blood that can detect an incredible array of sicknesses.

You are the healthiest you've ever been.