FORTUNE Small Business:

Walk while you work

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

Subscribe to Top Stories
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)


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

Destination bike tours go wireless
Doing business across time zones
How do you find time to exercise while running your business? Talk back here.
Photo Galleries
12 biggest tax scams to avoid There's no end to the creative ways scammers will try to steal your identity and your money. And tax time is one of their favorite times of the year. Here's how to spot a top scam and protect yourself. More
Public colleges with the best bang for your buck Graduates with bachelor's degrees from these state schools see the biggest return on their college investment, according to a report from PayScale. More
Cool cars from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show These are some of the stand-out cars and trucks on display at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. More