Salamandra exercises body, mind with new desk

Sydney Foreman

Senior alumni officer Harry Salamandra didn’t just change to a new office this year when the Alumni Office moved up the hill above the security kiosk, where former President Tom Hudnut used to work. He changed the very fundamentals of his workspace too, trading in his old office desk for a treadmill desk.

“For me, I think it’s a wonderful way to get work done,” Salamandra said.

After receiving a treadmill from his brother-in-law in June, Salamandra purchased the TrekDesk treadmill desk from Amazon. He likes it because “the desk is u-shaped so I am more towards the center and there is space on either side of me,” he said.

The TrekDesk website advocates its treadmill desk on the basis that it “promotes health restoration, weight loss and disease prevention; boosting mood, productivity and cognitive functions at any age.”

Although Salamandra now teaches Library and Technology at the Middle School, every day at the Upper School has also meant a day on the treadmill. Most of the time he operates it at about one to one and a half miles per hour, he said.

“I wouldn’t call it running,” he said. “It’s a slow enough speed that I feel comfortable to keep working.”

At this speed, he has been able to get work done such as talking on the phone, typing on a keyboard and jotting down notes. He said this is particularly useful for his position as senior alumni officer because it requires more time at his desk than his previous position as Head of Upper School.

“I never spend a whole lot of time sitting at my desk, but at my new position there is a lot more time I need to be on the phone or corresponding with people on the computer,” Salamandra said.

Salamandra’s not constantly on the go, though. Since the TrekDesk can be used either as treadmill or as a standing desk, he occasionally winds down and merely stands.

“After you go a few miles you need a little bit of a break,” Salamandra said. “It’s not that you get tired, you get a little dizzy.”

Because his new office could not fit his previous, bigger desk, he also purchased a small, round table so that he could still have the option to work in the classical seated position if he so desired, but so far he has not opted for the conventional route, he said.

Although Salamandra said he likes the treadmill desk right now, calling it a “wonderful way to get work done,” he’s not sure how he’ll feel a few months down the road.

“Four months from now, I might put it on Craigslist,” he said.