Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Look at me, Look at him, Look at me, I'm on a . . . Treadmill?

I love that Old Spice commercial with the line, "Look at me - I'm on a horse." I keep thinking of that as I walk on my treadmill while playing on my laptop. "Look at me - I'm on Facebook . . . and I'm exercising."

For a person whose day job, hobbies and career pursuits all involve parking my ass -- sorry, posterior -- in a comfortably padded computer chair, the padding has inevitably, um, spread. I find it nearly impossible to read while walking on the treadmill, but I've often joked that if only I had the nerve to duct tape my laptop to my treadmill, I might actually drop a few pounds.

Imagine my surprise when my good friend Hope recently told me she'd seen a product that would let me do just that, minus the need for duct tape. I did a Google search and discovered the product was called a SurfShelf. At roughly forty bucks, it was a lot of money for a piece of plastic with a Velcro strap, but my husband and I felt it would be worth every penny if we actually used it.

That was the key. We had one treadmill that spent most of its life with clothes hanging on it. We've had this fancier version for awhile and although we do use it, we don't use it nearly as often as we should. So we forked over the money and a few days later the SurfShelf arrived. Despite the missing Tool Guy gene in our family, it wasn't all that tricky to install. (In other words, no drills were thrown in the process.)

Then it was ready for the test. The reviews we read mentioned the importance of a slow, steady pace. REALLY slow, like .5 to 1.0 mph. My son, who runs marathons, would raise his eyebrows, for sure. But we weren't sure we could navigate the keyboard even at that speed. Now that I've been using it for a few days, I find 1.5 to 2.0 is a more comfortable pace for me.

All in all, we've been pleasantly surprised. My husband did two miles the first time he used it without even realizing it. Yesterday I did three miles while answering emails, moderating at B&N and visiting my favorite blogs. I did two miles today with no effort at all. Most importantly, we're both using it, and using it every day.

Okay, I've been known to slack off on occasion. There's no guarantee I'll be faithful to my new friend. But, honestly, this is kind of fun. I'm intrigued by the multitasking possibilities - last night I even watched a taped episode of Castle while working AND walking. The mind boggles!

Of course, there are doubters. I'm known as something of a klutz in my family. When I shared the news of my move toward non-couch-potato status, my brother (who rides his bike on 100 mile treks for fun) said this: 

Bec - Looking forward to your emails from the hospital as you're recovering from falling off the stupid thing! 

Let's see, we've got drinking and driving, texting and driving, and now what, writing and walking? 

But, officer, I was only typing 32 words a minute. 

But, ma'am, it's a 25 word a minute speed zone. 

What do you mean I was typing while walking 4 miles per hour? I couldn't have been walking that fast - the treadmill only goes to 3.5 miles per hour! 

Well, ma'am, when was the last time you had that thing in the shop? The speedometers on those things are notoriously out of whack . . . 

Be careful out there. 

BTW, Bec, what does "wlork" mean exactly? In the meantime, I'll continue to sit while typing and walk only while outside! 

Easy for him to say - he's never been overweight in his life! My sister also put in her two cents' worth:

You're  kidding! I tried holding weights while walking a few years ago . . . fell and hit my head on the treadmill and got all cut up . . . looked like I was in a bad accident. Computer on the treadmill? I THINK NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

So, as you can see, not everyone is confident my new experiment with fitness training is a good (or smart) (or safe) thing. But I'm kind of happy about the blisters I've developed this week. My jeans are a tiny bit loose.

This might just work. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!