Treadmill Desk Extending Beyond the Office

JuliaPfeifferHike
Saturday hike – Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Monday Hike – Wilder Ranch State Park

While in no way does my 1.2mph treadmill walking compare with these hikes in terms of speed or elevation, I feel the simple act of walking for similar duration has contributed to my ability to take on these hikes.  The simple change in mindset from “I should get in a workout” to “I need to move nearly all day” is starting to trickle into my daily life.  I look forward to the day when I am no longer conscience of the effort but becomes an effortless part of my being.

As of May 22nd…

May Steps
May Steps
Since starting PT and learning just how injured my body has become, I’m making changes.  While I’ve been working on ramping up the consistency I’ve had to keep PT corrections in mind.  As you can see, I’m still doing high / low days, but am working towards increasing frequency each week.

April Steps – Recap

April Steps
April Steps

After a couple of weeks’ rest and no call about my referral, I got frustrated and did what I felt like doing.  Even though the cramping continued, changes to my diet seemed to be helping.  After all, what I hope to accomplish is losing the weight all the sitting has contributed to and diet is a huge component of course.  On April 1, I embarked on a #Whole30 challenge and was really pleased with the outcomes.

What Day Is It?

It’s been nearly six weeks since my last post and not because I haven’t been walking.  Quite the opposite, I’ve ramped up the activity quite a bit.  But, I’ve been splitting “real” walking as opposed to “work” walking because of the calf pain I’ve been experiencing since December.

Speaking of calf pain…I finally got that Physical Therapy referral and have seen a PT twice.  The diagnosis:  too much sitting in an improper manner.  For anyone who has started on either a #standing desk or a #walking desk endeavor this should not come as a surprise.

For those like me with ergonomic desks, chairs, keyboard trays and mice, it’s a hard pill to swallow.  Yes, we sit too much.  That goes without saying.  But to say we sit “incorrectly”, that just seems counterintuitive.  My main challenge is that I am short and most chairs force a short person to point their toes to reach the floor.  Or I find myself forced to sit on one leg or another and allow the opposite one to dangle.  Years of doing this will stretch your ligaments (at least in my case).  And everything is so stretchy, the mechanics change to compensate, etc., low and behold, I’ve acquired giant calf muscles that cramp to the point of uselessness because they are so overworked.

Long story short, they’re having to teach me how to walk “properly” again.  Do you still think sitting disease is untrue?  I don’t.  I’m living it.   I’m fighting it.

Day 11 – Results

Day 11 Results
Day 11 Results

I returned to the treadmill a bit yesterday but was telling myself not to do too much.  Ironically, I more than hit the goal.  Either I’m acclimating to the pain or it’s getting easier.  I’m going with getting easier.  Time to raise the goal?

What have I addressed so far this week?  Foot pain!!  I tweaked my treadmill speed a bit this week; bumped it up to 1.2mph.  I made this decision after reading about excessive standing and the complications it can cause when researching my foot pain; here’s a link to reporter Gwynn Guilford’s experience in doing a static stand desk and it’s effects; positive and negative.  With this change, so far this week, I have not experienced the foot fatigue I did last week.  I’ve kept the shoes the same, my approach similar (mixing sitting with walking) and the amount of time comparable.  So, either the 20% bump in speed makes a difference, or I’m just acclimating.  In this case, I don’t care which… less pain is less pain!!

Day 10 – A Slightly Different Approach to the Day

Day 10 Results
Day 10 Results

With the very sore calf situation and an attempt to rest them, I opted to sit / stand at my desk and walk around the house during meetings as opposed to “treadmill” my workday.  My additional walking for the day was a trip to the grocery store.  Amazingly, I more than met my goal with those simple approaches.

Since I spent most of Days 9 and 10 sitting, I did find my lower and middle back (between the shoulder blades) to be more sore these past couple of days than the days I walk while working.  I also find myself needing to correct my posture more.  I find myself “hunching” towards the monitor.  So, even though I  still hit the “steps per day”, sitting for the majority of the day made for a noticeable impact on back / posture.

Now, I have to find the balance between calf discomfort and back discomfort.

Days 7 & 8 — Oh My Aching Calves — Day 9

Day 9 Results
Day 9 Results
Day 8 Results
Day 8 Results
Day 7 Results
Day 7 Results

As you can see, I had to rest on Friday (Day 9).  Unrelated to this endeavor, I managed to cause some sort of injury / strain to both of my calves around Christmas.  They were (are still sometimes) so tight, I cannot walk around the house without pain, let alone, any considerable time or distance.

I walked a good bit over the weekend and endured very painful massages from my husband to help loosen them, so I’m spending Monday sitting as well; trying to rest them.  Very frustrating.  But, onwards tomorrow!

Day Six – Paid a bit for Day Five

Day Six Results
Day Six Results

Yesterday was the day of aching feet…but I managed to get my low 6,000 target steps in before sitting down for the day.

I did also notice a dramatic difference in energy yesterday.  While walking I felt great.  The moment I stopped, I just wanted a nap.  Lack of sleep catching up with me or maybe a delayed response to Daylight Savings Time?  Not sure.

Interesting note about my spine… as things are loosening up, I find that my spine will pop or move, just tiny little adjustments, just as I move through the day.  I see this as a good thing; feels strange when it happens though.

Day Five Results – Heart Improvements Already?

Day Five Results
Day Five Results

I’m not sure how this happened…but I’m happy about it!  Okay, seriously, I didn’t set out to completely annihilate my daily goal.  I did make it a point to start walking much sooner in the day, which obviously helped, but I also didn’t notice any foot fatigue (until walking the dogs later) which typically drives me to sit down.  Woohoo!  Here’s hoping things are starting to adjust.

Here are some other interesting graphs the FitBit tools provide which show some interesting data trends.

The first is Calories… quite the difference between sitting / work-walking / walking-walking.  For work, I have the treadmill set at 1mph; a speed I can type, talk and work at without thinking about my feet at all.  I think for the dog walk, with stops for sniffs and to enjoy the views, we average around 3mph; not exactly a breakneck speed.  Interestingly though, not 3X the calorie burn.

Calories Burned
Calories Burned

The second is effect on my heart after just one week.

The detailed graph scale for the two days is slightly different because of the dog walk yesterday; no exercise last Monday.  In general my heart seems to be more consistent than the previous week while work-walking, even though I don’t feel like my heart is working at all while walking so slowly.  Perhaps more telling, the Resting Heart Rate has trended downward as well (when fit, this number was near 60 for me).  Continuing to see improvement in these numbers most interests me.

Heart Rate - Tuesday March 3rd
Heart Rate – Tuesday March 3rd
Heart Rate - Monday March 9th
Heart Rate – Monday March 9th
Resting Heart Rate as of March 9th
Resting Heart Rate