The Treadmill Experiment

0711.connery.teeter.LJAs one part of Connery Beagle’s Overcoming Very Bad Luck Journey through this life, he was given steroids through his adolescence.  This wasn’t particularly good for his developing tendons and ligaments.

We shifted him to Atopica as soon as it became an option, and then he was getting prednisone on the side as necessary.  But when he was 3 ½, after the final attack by yet another dog four times his size and amidst various other trauma, he went into a cortisol crisis with many ramifications and was declared off-limits to steroids.

Fast forward to another big part of the journey when he was seven.  Skipping the details (because there are so many of them), he ended up on a doggy inhaler.  These steroid drugs were not supposed to be systemic, so were thought to be okay.

Of course, they weren’t.  So they they were reduced, which was thought to be okay but it still wasn’t, only much more subtly so.  Eventually I got him stable enough to come off those meds altogether.  But.  In the meantime he’d injured his stifles not once but twice, because steroids weaken such tissues.

He received prolotherapy each time, from an amazing genius vet ninety minutes north of us.

(Yes, there’s a reason I have a fourteen-year-old car and his name is ConneryBeagle).

So, bear with me here.  We really are talking about treadmill stuff.  Here it comes!

The most critical component of prolotherapy is the physical therapy that follows the injections.  To make this possible, we bought a cheap treadmill.  We figured it didn’t have to be anything too special to deal with the weight of one modest Beagle.

(Every once in a while, I get a reminder of Connery's outstanding structure.  Here's another one...)

(Every once in a while, I get a reminder of Connery’s outstanding structure. Here’s another one…)

Connery’s used that treadmill regularly since then–for three years now, twice a day (and sometimes it’s hard to keep him off it in between).  The humans played with it now and then to say they had, but no more.

Well, that’s changed.

I’ve always wanted a treadmill desk.  I’m a restless person, and one of the hardest parts about writing for me is the sitting still.  I’ve been using a standing desk for ages–I think I rigged the first one in ’88.  Even without the core board I stand on, I burn nearly 300 more calories a day standing than I would sitting.  (See?  Here’s a calculator.)

Thank goodness I can't see all those awful cables when I'm standing close to work at the desk!

Thank goodness I can’t see all those awful cables when I’m standing close to work at the desk!

But I really don’t write well this way.  Too restless.  For writing, I generally force myself to sit.  It doesn’t come easy.

Meanwhile, there’s all the increasing evidence that sitting around all day is just really, really bad for us.  And treading is better than standing! So a couple of weeks ago, I squinted at the cheapo doggy treadmill and said to myself, “Betcha I can do something with that.”

It didn’t take much.  A board I’ve had sitting around since we got rid of that old bookshelf–I use it and its fellow shelf boards for dog training, because I never throw that crap away.  Two old rag towels.  Some hay twine.

I love it when a plan comes together!

I love it when a plan comes together!

I wasn’t really sure how it would go.  Would I be able to think while walking?  Type while walking?  Would it tire me out?  Slow me down?  And how would my feet take it?

My feet were among the early body parts to be affected by the Lyme.  They’ve been much better since I started using barefoot shoes a couple years ago, but I don’t take them for granted.

I started at 1.5mph, which is about average for tread-desking.  The first discovery:  Yes, I could type while walking.  And then…yes, I could think well enough to write.  In fact, I could chug right along.  I pushed the speed up, bit by bit, and settled at 2mph.  My feet were doing decently–tired at the end of my pages (about ninety minutes, which gets me from 5-7 pages), but okay.

And then a strange thing happened.  Not only was I writing more efficiently, but I felt better through the day–staying more stable with my energy, and feeling more alive in these chronically problematic Lyme muscles.  I was getting up better, and I was writing earlier in the day.  I was able to return to the work more easily after interruptions, and I was looking forward to it in a way that the clutter of my days has overwhelmed for the past half-dozen years.  Shoot, I was craving it.

I mean, where’s the downside?  Getting exercise and getting pages done.  Could it be more awesome?

Sadly for me, the experiment has hit a hitch: almost all the way through the second week of treading, I took a funky step and my fussier foot exploded with pain.

I’m treating it every which way but loose, of course. With the Lyme, it classically takes months–or a year–to calm such things down.  After a couple of days off, I don’t have any sense of what will happen tomorrow when I step up to that laptop…I just know I’m gonna do it.

Anyone want to join me?

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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4 Responses to The Treadmill Experiment

  1. EMoonTX says:

    Wishing you the best of luck with it. I don’t do well writing standing up (no question the exercise of a treadmill desk might be good for me, weight-wise in particular, but my writer-brain functions best wedged into a corner sitting down. I’ve tried just standing and it seems to unhook the writing part of the function from the thinking about part. I can think about writing in almost any situation, but writing proper needs curled into a corner and letting go of the body. I think with me it’s about the communicatons aspect of writing, because if I’m walking and *talking* about the current project, I’m very likely to trip and fall (without the need for roots or rocks as an excuse.) If I’m walking and not talking to someone (to self, not a problem) then I retain enough awareness of the feet to keep walking. (Can I blame the encephalitis when I was a kid? Or being kicked in the hip by a horse?)

    • Doranna says:

      Well, that’s the thing. I don’t write well standing up, either. I’ve done it out of desperation, but I just don’t think well that way. And the sitting is a problem because of the lyme, not because of my native inclinations.

      So I had some serious concerns about writing while walking. I truly expected it to be a struggle and an acclimation…not an instant addiction!

      • Patty says:

        Fascinating. I am sitting right now and am wishing I was walking. No idea if I could walk and type and think. I know I can talk a ride a horse pretty well…

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