FORTUNE Small Business:

Walk while you work

I've shed weight and stress by running my trading firm from a treadmill.

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Elderwood, CA -- I bought the building where I base my trading business, Access Futures & Options Trading, two years ago. It's a converted country store in Elderwood, a tiny town in central California, about 50 miles southeast of Fresno. I co-founded the company with my wife, Carmen, and most of our clients are individual investors. We employ one trader. Our 2006 revenues were about $250,000.

I'm a futures broker, so my work is pretty sedentary, and gaining weight bothered me. Making matters worse, a knee injury keeps me from being more physically active. It's difficult to get motivated for a bike ride or walk at the end of the workday, and with a population of about 100, Elderwood doesn't have a gym. I was looking for a way to integrate exercise into my daily routine.

Last spring I read about a doctor at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic who works at a desk fixed to the top of his treadmill, so he walks slowly all day long. It seemed like a way to exercise without even realizing it. I already had a treadmill I didn't use. So, with about $25 worth of lumber, I built a stand for my desk that would raise it high enough off the floor to fit over the treadmill, a HealthRider SoftStrider ($1,499).

I rested the hard drives of my two PCs between two pieces of lumber on either side of the treadmill, and placed my desk, which I bought at Staples about seven years ago, on top of the wood. The desk is simple - wood laminate with four metal legs and no drawers. It weighs about 40 pounds. Elevated, my desk measures 50c inches from floor to surface. I positioned the whole thing against a wall to keep it stable.

My desk holds a Dell 20-inch flat-screen monitor and keyboard ($1,199) and a Norstar Meridian six-line phone system ($801) with a Plantronics headset ($130).

I walk 1.1 to two miles per hour. It's about the speed you would walk through an office. I don't want to sound winded during phone calls. To stay cool, I have a six-inch fan from Lakewood on the desk ($17).

I work from about 6:30 to 1:30 p.m., when the S&P closes, and I'm on the treadmill about five hours a day. I can do almost everything I need to do while walking, but to make trades I step off for a few minutes to use my quote machine, which sits on another desk nearby. Working like this, the first thing I noticed was that my posture improved. When I started, I weighed 278; now I'm down to 250. (My goal is 180.) I'm more clear-headed and in a better mood. Now, even when I have a loss, I feel okay. And I really believe I make better decisions.

- As told to Eilene Zimmerman To top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.