Treadmill Desks – The Ultimate Guide

 Why Get A Treadmill Desk?

Many of us have felt the odd sensation of being exhausted from sitting down all day. The neck muscles get stiff, arms tired, legs cramping, and a strange lethargy seem to emanate from every part of the body causing a general feel of sleepiness. If you work in an office environment, a suggestion to take a brisk walk or climb a few stairs may help with some of the symptoms, but as soon as you sit back down in your chair, the sluggishness seem to return.

treadmill desk
Treadmill Desk

Walking 10,000 steps – the equivalent of 5 miles – per day is recommended by the Surgeon General.  So how many fine Americans follow the orders of the General?  Not many.  In fact the average American walks less than half of the 5 miles which is one of the chief causes of a number of health problems brought on by obesity and inactivity.  By using a treadmill desk you can reach the daily recommended 5 miles in as little as 3 hours.  So along with getting the virtual high-five from the General, you can also count on the fact that your body is happier and healthier all while you work.  Want to know what treadmill desk to get?  Make sure to check out this article on treadmill desk reviews.

The idea of walking while working might seem intimidating at first, but with careful planning and thorough implementation you can make the change effortlessly. The key is to keep your walking time at a level you can comfortably handle and to adapt a work routine that gradually allows more and more time spent walking at your desk. It is imperative that you refrain from overdoing your exercise during the first weeks of walking while working. Even if you are a fit, active, accomplished jogger, you are not used to multitasking in this specific way. Always start out slow on your treadmill desk until you find your balance and the right speed for each of the tasks you wish to accomplish. For instance, typing on a keyboard requires a much lower speed than talking on a phone while walking.

Woman working at a treadmill desk.
Treadmill Desks are a great way to workout while at work.

Similarly, taking notes during a remote access meeting requires a lot more balance than simply reading a report. Therefore, the most important rules of switching over to a treadmill desk are safety, gradual increase of walking sessions, and realistic expectations when considering your own limits and abilities. As always, make sure you clear your plans of switching over to a walking while working lifestyle with your physician before you start.

You should also keep in mind that walking while working requires you to re-adjust your monitors, keyboards, document holders and all other office equipment you use on a regular basis in order to avoid any accidents and muscle damage. Just because you are working on a treadmill desk, you still need to keep ergonomics in mind, if not even more so. Because you are walking, you might not realize that you neck has been in the same position for over an hour, or your wrists have not been moving since you started typing a report. Do not forget to take breaks from working and being in front of your computer in the same way you would stand up and walk around if you were sitting at a desk. Your neck and shoulders, your wrists and fingers as well as your mind needs a few minutes to relax before you can hop back on your treadmill and start working again.

Types of Treadmill Desks

There are plenty of options to choose from but treadmill desks fall into three categories: desk built for a treadmill, treadmill built for a standing desk, and a complete desk made by a manufacturer.  The prices vary greatly from do-it-yourself modifications for $20 to full scale mega-desk on steroids that cost thousands.  Here is a round-up of each general type.

DIY – Building a treadmill desk

DIY Treadmill Desk
DIY Treadmill Desk

If you like the idea of walking while working, but you are not sure if it really is for you, a good way to try the concept out fairly inexpensively is to build your own treadmill desk by using an old treadmill. For an example, check out this article on a DIY Ikea Treadmill Desk. The simplest setup can be done for as little as $20, if you already have a treadmill on hand. Making use of the treadmill’s handles you can simply buy a shelf to lay across the rails for a work surface. You will need to attach the shelf securely to the handles so that it does not move around on you or you do not knock it over accidently while walking. You can do this by using Velcro and tape, eyelet screws and cords, or by drilling holes into the rails. If you want to raise the work platform into a position that is comfortable for typing, you can use four shelf mounting brackets. Make sure to measure out the exact height you need for your comfort and buy the brackets accordingly. Afterwards, you can screw the brackets into the side of the handrails as well as onto the bottom of the shelf. For this solution, you will have to drill through the metal handrails so make sure you have all the tools and safety clothing before you begin your work. Once you have a raised platform to work on, you can either place a laptop, notebooks, paper holders, or your keyboards on it. If you decide to use a monitor with this setup, you will either have to place it on a different stand right in front of the head of the treadmill or mount it on the wall with a swing arm. Also, make sure you do not block your access to the treadmill’s control panel and especially not to the safety stop button. If you do not have a treadmill on hand, you can always buy an inexpensive used model at your local thrift store. In this case, make sure you select one that will fit your desktop design.

TrekDesk – A new desk for your old treadmill

If you wish to install something more permanent with a larger surface, TrekDesk might be the right choice for you. It fits most treadmills as it goes over your machine straddling it on either side. Your height has to be between five feet four inches and six feet four inches to make this unit work for you well, and you can


adjust the height of the work surface on the sides. Make sure you calculate the height of your treadmill into your measurements before you place an order for this unit. Your TrekDesk comes with a generously sized work surface that is seventy two by thirty four inches. It also includes a manuscript holder, a three tier file folder shelf, a telephone stand and two cup holders that can also work for pens and pencils. As it can hold up to 55 pounds, you can use the TrekDesk with two monitors and a laptop with room to spare for a few books or files. It is important you remember to leave access to your treadmill’s monitor when setting up your work surface. The TrekDesk does not come with a treadmill, so you will have to supply one. For this reason, you may wish to consider getting a model that has its controls on the side, in order to make sure that you have sufficient access to all the buttons. Also, when setting up your work equipment, keep in mind the low speed you will be using with the desk. If you are in doubt, start out at 0.8 or one mile per hour rate on a flat setting. The TrekDesk does not come assembled, so you will need to put the unit together yourself. This process can take anywhere between twenty five minutes to an hour. The unit weighs 58 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty.

Exerpuetic – A desktop station with a treadmill

Exerpeutic Treadmill Desk
Exerpeuetic Treadmill Desk

If you wish to invest in a treadmill that comes with its own desk attached, the Exerpeutic can be the solution for you. This is not a height adjustable model, so be sure the four feet distance between the desktop and the walking surface fits your height well from all ergonomic standpoints. That being said, the workstation comes with a great selection of features and extras. First of all, unlike the previous solutions, the Exerpeutic’s desktop is situated behind the treadmill’s controls, so you have access to the buttons at all times. It also comes with extra-long handles that can take your pulse and give you easy adjustment controls. The treadmill itself can tilt up to a 15 percent incline, and you can also adjust the work surface into a variety of angles. In fact, if you wish to, you can fold the entire unit flat and wheel it along for easy storage. The work surface is forty eight by twenty four inches and can support up to 80 pounds. It comes with two built in cup holders and a built-in AC outlet, so you can plug in some of your gadgets such as phones and e-readers. Additionally, the desk legs come with cord guides for a trouble-free management of electrical wires. To make working on the desktop more comfortable, there is a padded arm and wrist support above the control monitor, but it will work for you only if you are the right height for the unit. It is well built and of a sturdy construction that can support up to 400 pounds on the treadmill, and it comes with a five year warranty. The motor is quiet when compared with other treadmills, and it can go as slow as 0.4 miles per hour with the maximum speed being 4 mph.

Now, it isn’t all roses and unicorns.  I do have two concerns with this model.  As stated before, it is one-size-fits-most, so if you are one of the people with the correct size.  Then you are all set.  If unfortunately you are shorter like the woman in the image, you should definitely get an adjustable desk, or at least one that is the proper size.  Deciding on the size you can check out the article on the proper height of a standing desk, as the same rules apply here.  The other issue I have is that the work area is quite small, so if you work on multiple monitors than keep reading.


Treadmill for your standing desk

LifeSpan Treadmill Desk
LifeSpan Treadmill Desk

If you already have a standing desk you enjoy using, and it places all your monitors and keyboards in the right height, you may wish to consider simply purchasing a treadmill that is compatible with your setup. The LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Standing Desk Treadmill is a unit that does not come with any vertical structure so that it can fit under many different desks easily and comfortably. You will still have quick access to the treadmill’s controls via a removable console that attaches to the unit with an eight feet long cord. You can simply place the console on your desktop and change the settings as you wish. That being said, this unit has to start up at zero miles per hour every single time you use it, and you can increase the speed in 0.1 mph increments in every ten seconds. The maximum speed is 4 mph and the slowest you can walk is 0.4 mph. As the treadmill’s motor is very quiet and can handle continuous usage, it can be a good option for office or shared space environments. It supports up to 350 pounds on a fifty six by twenty inches platform and the console is Bluetooth compatible with a built-in USB port for charging your electronics.

For me, this is the best of both worlds because I already have a standing desk that is the right size/height and I really like the desk.  This way I can add the treadmill portion.


LifeSpan TR1200-DT5
LifeSpan TR1200-DT5

Treadmill desk

If you are a seasoned treadmill desk user or you may just wish to invest in a versatile product for every day, long-term use, the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk is a serious contender you should consider for several reasons. First of all, it ranked very well in our treadmill desk reviews article.  It is a height-adjustable work station that can accommodate users that are between four feet one inch and six feet eight inches tall. This means you can feel confident about finding the right ergonomic height, angle, and proper posture for a variety of office applications when using this desk. Secondly, the unit has a special built-in safety feature that senses when you are not on the walking belt, and it stops the unit automatically. Moreover, the working surface is a generous forty six and a half by thirty one inches with the treadmill controls placed within easy reach at the front of the desk. It also comes with a padded arm and wrist rest for comfortable keyboard use and a sophisticated cord management system that will keep all your wires safely under control and tucked away. There is plenty of room for multiple screens, printers, laptops, TVs, files, and other work necessities. You can spend the entire workday on this unit using a walking speed anywhere between 0.4 to 4 mph. As the desk is not directly built-in to the treadmill, the movements of the belt do not transfer over to the work surface. While the unit itself is fairly quiet, you may wish to use a headset if you do a lot of teleconferencing. The treadmill is rated for up to 300 pounds, while the unit itself has a 198 pound weight. The treadmill comes pre-assembled, but you will need to put the desk part together and adjust it to your own needs.

The Steelcase sit-to-walkstation aka the whole enchilada!

sit-to-walkstationFinally, if you wish to make a long-term investment into a work station that can accommodate any and all types of tasks and situation in your office, your best option is the Sit-to-Walkstation. It gives you a treadmill as well as space to sit down in an office chair if you need to complete tasks that require extreme preciseness that cannot be accomplished while walking. The unit comes with the treadmill and you can adjust the desktop with the help of a button to accommodate seven different height settings between twenty four and half and fifty two inches. It is a fairly large unit with a seventy eight by sixty seven inches footprint and the seventy eight by twenty nine inches work surface. The treadmill’s control unit is mounted under the desk so it is within easy access, and it comes with a safety clip for stopping the unit. The treadmill can be mounted on either side of the work station, which is greatly versatile as it provides room for seated, standing, and walking use. The maximum user weight capacity is 350 pounds on an eighteen by fifty three inches walking surface. You can adjust the speed by 0.1 mph increments between 0.3 and, the maximum at, 2 mph, but the unit does not have an incline feature. If you wish to, you can order the optional privacy screen to fit on the back of the workstation or the optional SlatRail that accommodates adjustable monitor swing arms. The treadmill comes with a shock absorbent surface that will make continuous, everyday use comfortable on a long-term basis.

One thought on “Treadmill Desks – The Ultimate Guide

  • November 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    How do the LifeSpan Treadmill desks compare with the Nordic Track Treadmill desk (model 24951) selling for $1600. The latter comes with push button height adjustment and also folds up when one wants to sit at its desk in a chair.

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