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A treadputer is a workstation which includes a treadmill for walking or running, and a computer which is set up to be used while working on on the treadmill. Treadputers are designed to address concerns about physical fitness among people who work extensively on computers, allowing them to exercise while working. For people who spend long hours behind the computer every day, a treadputer can be a more workable solution than an entirely separate fitness schedule.
Potentially, a treadputer could also be set up with exercise machines other than treadmills, such as stationary bicycles. In addition to being used for fitness, a stationary bicycle could also be used to power the workstation and part of the office, assuming that the user wanted to take the time to hook the treadmill up to an electricity generation and storage system.
The treadputer reflects a growing trend which emerged in the late 1990s. Prior to the 1990s, office environments tended to be very inflexible, without notable innovations or repurposing to fit unique needs. With the rise of the technology industry, however, offices began to be reimagined, with businesses beginning to think outside the box to increase employee efficiency and comfort. One of the most radical changes of the 1990s came in the form of individual workspace innovations, with businesses recognizing that the old fashioned desk and cubicle weren't always ideal.
For people in the tech industry, extremely long days in front of the computer are very common, and prolonged computer work clearly has a number of physical disadvantages which create strain on the body. In addition to creating physical discomfort and associated health problems, computer work also promotes a highly sedentary lifestyle; after a 10 hour day working on code, for example, tech industry workers do not generally want to work out, even if they care about physical fitness.
Rising concerns about physical fitness and comfort led to the development of the treadputer by several enterprising tech industry workers, and the concept spread among the tech community through social networking sites and tech industry news sites. So far, no manufacturer has produced a treadmill specifically designed for treadputer use; instead, people modify existing treadmills and workspaces.
In case you're curious, treadputer users report that it is possible to use the computer while walking and running, although a trackball is recommended, as opposed to a mouse. Some people also take advantage of voice recognition software to manage their computers while they run or walk, and many treadputers include a space for phones so that users can make calls while working out.
This sounds like something that's better on paper than in actual practice. I spend a lot of time on my computer at home, and I also have a treadmill for exercise. While it sounds logical to prop up my laptop on top of the treadmill and jog, the reality is that I'm usually sweating bullets and out of breath at the end of a half-hour programmed treadmill routine. The last thing I want to do is look at a computer screen or fiddle around with a mouse.
I can understand the appeal of a treadputer if the user sets the speed at a comfortable walking speed and uses the computer at the same time. If he or she runs out
of breath, they can turn off the treadmill and stand in place until they recover. I can see where that would be helpful to avoid the pitfalls of a sedentary work life, but I have to wonder if it's practical for more than an hour or so. I also wonder if trying to do both at the same time doesn't defeat the purpose of either activity.
If I'm wanting to get a good workout on a treadmill, I usually need to get away from stressors like a work computer. If I want to buckle down and get some work done, the distraction of running on a treadmill might be too much.
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