Archive for May, 2012

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Dr. Jay Parkinson reminds me of my behavioural Medicine professor this summer. My prof is the picture of health, muscular, lean, and enthusiastic about preventative health care. His classes really challenge me to think creatively about our nation’s health care system. I am currently working on a presentation about the problems associated with health care costs. As I am researching the existing literature, I cam across Dr. Jay, who is all about prevention and helping improve people’s health from a biopsychosocial perspective and blogs are The Future Well.

Check out Dr. Jay’s blog post, “Most health solutions aren’t medical, they’re social,” here. I love his message and it echos research I’ve read about the effects of your social circle on your health. If your friends are sedentary, pizza-eating gamers, you will likely eat a fair share of pizza, game and not move much. If you start hanging out with those that are more active and eat healthier, teach you to cook or a new hobby like hiking or human origami (I just made that one up but it sounds fun doesn’t it!), you are more likely to adopt healthier behaviors. And if you inspire your pizza eating friends to try a hacky sack game or two with you on a regular basis, you may be able to keep your friends and improve your health.

Who is Dr. Jay?

Dr. Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH

(From his blog site)

Instead of pills and scalpels, Dr. Jay Parkinson uses creative design to improve health. He’s been called “The Doctor of the Future” and one of the “Top Ten Most Creative People in Healthcare” by Fast Company. Esquire Magazine included him in 2009’s “Best and Brightest: Radicals and Rebels Who Are Changing the World” issue.

Jay is a pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist with a masters in public health from Johns Hopkins. After completing residency, he started a practice for his neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in September 2007. People would visit his website; see his Google calendar; choose a time and input their symptoms; his iPhone would alert him; he’d make a house call; they’d pay him via Paypal; and he’d follow up by email, IM, videochat, or in person. This concept led to Jay co-founding Hello Health, a novel way of experiencing healthcare via a Facebook-like platform that uses technology — including email, instant messaging, and video chat — to restore the traditional doctor-patient relationship but updated for today’s lifestyle.

He’s been called “The Doctor of the Future” and one of the “Top Ten Most Creative People in Healthcare” by Fast Company. Esquire Magazine included him in 2009′s “Best and Brightest: Radicals and Rebels Who Are Changing the World” issue. He’s been featured in GOOD Magazine, CNN, Newsweek, and Health Affairs. The leading trade publication for hospital and system executives, Hospitals and Health Networks, dedicated a cover article to Jay entitled, Your Future Chief of Staff? Jay also appears in Seth Godin’s new book, Linchpin.

Selected Writings of Dr. Jay

BusinessWeek: How to Redesign Healthcare

Design Observer: Road to Wellville. How to redesign a broken healthcare system.

GOOD Magazine: Fixing What Ails the Sickness Industry.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

For those that know me, I am a big fan of treadmill desks. However, up until recently the main treadmill desk available was the Walkstation, for $4400-$4900, from Steelcase. And that may be too hefty of a price tag for small offices and the self-employed. Now more options are lower prices have become available! I am posting some of the best user reviews and options I found to date.

 LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk from LifeSpan Fitness

LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

Here are some of the more specific Amazon reviews on the LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

Eclectic Teacher says this about the  LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk:

I type this as I walk at 2mph on the treadmill in my home office. The desk is a fairly solid, almost stupidly-simple to assemble, unit in five easy pieces (not counting nut’n’bolts). It’s not too hard to adjust to get it to the right height, though changing it regularly for multiple users would be a real pain. The controls at the front of the desk are fairly unobtrusive, quite intuitive, and quite literally easy enough for my five-year-old to use (he thinks it cool, and keeps asking to use it before school for five or ten minutes – he hops on, starts it up with me nearby, walks and trots for a little while, stops it, and says “thanks, dad.”)

The treadmill part comes totally preassembled, and you just have to unpack it and roll it into place. It seems to work just as you’d expect, and feels solid under my feet. It plugs into the desk with a really simple, only-one-possible-way to plug it together plug to connect it to the desk controls. The wires run almost entirely interior to the desk leg, an elegant solution. While in use, it’s very quiet.

My biggest annoyance is that it doesn’t plug into your computer via a USB or something to track your long-term progress, and if you pull the dead-man stop it resets all your mileage / time, etc.

Personally, I think 2.5 mph is great for just surfing the net. Two mph works for most typing. 1.5 mph is for drinking coffee and more serious typing, and about 1 mph for eating breakfast with a plate under it while surfing the web before the coffee kicks in.

Shelly.Daniels says “I was surprised how quickly you pick up the “feel” of walking while using the desk. When I first started I was walking at 1-1.4 mph and felt comfortable typing while walking. Now, 1.6 is comfortable for me…What has surprised me is how often this is now being used. This was bought just for me to be used in the office but we have found many other uses…I use it at night now on occasion to do my Facebook updates, recently it was where a good bit of my Christmas shopping was completed! ”

Shelley goes on to talk about the desk itself: The work surface allows me to comfortably stores my laptop, phone, folders, mouse and water bottle. The console was very smartly designed where it does not slide under the desk or sit on top of the desk like the others I looked at. One of my favorite parts is the built-in step counter…it is fun and VERY motivating to watch the steps add while you work or play. As mentioned earlier the treadmill is very quiet and have asked people while on speakerphone if they could hear the treadmill and they could not! The treadmill has 4 levelers to ensure that the desk is level and the desk is very solid and stable. I get no movement and vibration on the desk and assume that is because the treadmill and desk are not attached.

WorknMan “worknman”  brings up some issues about typing versus mousing on the Treadmill desk: From the very beginning, typing seemed very easy for me while walking on this thing. Unfortunately, mouse precision took a pretty serious hit. This probably won’t be a problem if you’re a typical office worker and/or spend most of your day typing. But if you do a lot of mousing (like me), this could be a problem. In my case, using the mouse while on the treadmill is getting easier over time as I get more used to it, plus it is forcing me to use shortcut keys more to save time, so I guess that can only be a good thing 🙂 When I first got the treadmill, I couldn’t go any faster than 0.5mph before I could no longer control the mouse. Now I’m up to 1.0, and I can go as fast as 1.5, depending on what I’m doing.

To order yours for about $1300, click here.

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

Another option is the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk by Trek, for about $480. However, Amazon reviewer say this desk is not adjustable, rattles and shakes and is of such poor quality it’s not worth it. Check out the desk and reviews here.



Another option is to simply add a treadmill, without handlebars to your existing desk set up. This may require you to add monitor risers to raise your monitor high enough to see it comfortable while standing. The TreadDesk is currently on back order, but at $840, this would be my first pick to retrofit an existing desk to a treadmill. The TreadDesk control panel sits on top of the desk and is attached to the Tread with a six-foot long wire. The control panel keeps track of distance, time, speed, calories burned and comes with an emergency shut off cord which should always be worn when using the TreadDesk. A rubber treadmill mat is also included with the purchase of each TreadDesk. If you want to read detailed user comments about the TreadDesk, click here.

Build Your Own Treadmill Desk

A cheaper option but far more labor intensive one is to build a treadmill desk yourself.  Jay Buster, an options trader, created a blog called Treadmill Desk. (Today, while walking on his Treadmill Desk, Jay manages a private investment fund which is involved in option and structured product arbitrage.) He writes this post, The $39 Treadmill Desk, to tell you how to build your own treadmill desk for $39 (minus the cost of the treadmill, natch!).

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