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Choosing and Using A Treadmill Desk

Updated on July 18, 2013

Walk while you work on a treadmill desk

I'm writing this while walking on my treadmill desk! I love it. In this article we'll take a look at the practicalities of using a treadmill desk as well as the various options for buying or setting one up. There are different choices available depending on whether you already have an exercise machine or need to buy one along with a desk to use over it.

Last year I started working from home. It's great but I found I wasn't managing to build enough exercise into my routine. I found it hard to fit exercise sessions into my day in between work and having two small kids. By the evening I was feeling tired. Not good enough!

So I first started using a standing desk and now I've progressed to a treadmill desk so I can walk while I work. I'm really enjoying it. I'm also using my treadmill desk in the evenings while I browse the web and do shopping. And I've got things set up so I can jog or run while watching TV.

I can definitely recommend getting a treadmill desk (though check with your doctor if you have any health issues.) There are various options to consider. This page should help you find the best treadmill desk for your needs.

Can You Really Work on a Treadmill?

Lots of people are surprised when I say that I can get work done while walking on a treadmill.

Some people think they are not coordinated enough. Well I'd say I'm definitely below average in that department and I seem to manage. Only once have I slightly mis-stepped and caught the edge of the frame, but I always wear the safety cut-out cord for the treadmill even if I'm walking so it wasn't a problem. (If you have a specific health concern then of course you should take that into account.)

Others think that they would be too distracted by walking to actually focus on their work. Actually I find the opposite. I seem to enter a very focused state where I work well. I find that working on the treadmill works best when I have a clear plan of the work I'm going to do. Then I just head into work mode and get on with it.

There are some tasks that I don't do on the treadmill and that includes detailed graphics work. I often use the Inkscape drawing tool and although I can operate it to some extent while walking, it can be too much if I try and do something intricate. I'm not an expert with the tool though.

I don't work on the treadmill all day, I tend to do a session of around 2.5 hours in the morning.

LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

If you don't already have a treadmill that you want to reuse then the LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk is definitely worth considering. This is a treadmill + desk combo that is designed to be used as a treadmill.

LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk
LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk

The TR1200-DT is getting very good reviews. If you want a straightforward option that just works (rather than something more DIY) then this could be your solution.

The TR1200-DT has a treadmill base and then a height-adjustable desk on top.

One of the advantages of a combination unit like this is that it is designed to operate at walking speeds for longer periods of time to accommodate working sessions.

Regular treadmills are expected to be used at faster speeds for shorter periods.

The desk is also designed specifically to work with the treadmill and ergonomics and safety have been carefully considered.

 

You can watch the TR1200-DT in action in this video:

How Fast Can You Walk on a Treadmill Desk?

A speed of 1-2 mph is normal. I'm currently walking at 1.5 mph while is comfortable. I think I'll get faster with practice.

SurfShelf Treadmill Desk and Laptop Holder

@ Amazon

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If you already have a treadmill or other piece of exercise equipment and want to use your laptop on it then the SurfShelf is an option.

I think this is a good solution for casual use and watching videos, but I don't think the screen would be at the right height for regular use. It's a low cost way to get started.

Can You Really Type on a Treadmill?

Yes. I've been surprised by how easy it is to type while walking at a moderate pace.


TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

@ Amazon

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Do you already have a treadmill that you're happy with? If so. the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk might be the best option. This treadmill desk works with an existing treadmill.

The TrekDesk gives you a good-sized work area so you have room for a notepad, phone, etc as well as your computer. And you even get coffee-cup holders - important if this is to be your regular place of work.

The TrekDesk will fit most treadmills. (Unfortunately, not my large old treadmill with big arms at the side.) It will acommodate workers up to 6'4 tall .

Let's see the TrekDesk in action:

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

@ Amazon

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For me, the advantage of a desk that fits over a regular treadmill is that you can have a fancy full-featured treadmill that you can use for jogging and running as well as walking. The treadmill + desk combo machines tend to have a low top speed suitable for walking.

My treadmill goes up to 10mph and a serious incline so I can use it to get some serious exercise as well as for walking. And I'm finding that I'm more inclined to do that now I'm walking while I work.

Having a regular treadmill is good for a real workout whether you use it with a Trek Desk or find another height-adjustable desk that is compatible with your treadmill. (This is the solution I went with.)

Will I Sweat?

In my experience, not close to 1mph, but when you get closer to 2mph you're going to want to take a shower at the end of your work day.

Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

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Once you start using a walking desk you'll probably want to track your progress. A fitness monitor gadget like the FitBit makes a great companion to a treadmill desk. I've got a FitBit One and love that it keeps track of how far I've walked while I'm working.

The Right Footwear for Walking - Slip On Walking Shoes

Walking in your smart office shoes is not the best idea for either your feet or your shoes! I've found that walking shoes or sandals with a quick fastening like velcro or elastic are the best option. They are designed for walking and supportive of your feet. And they are quick to put on and take off. My walking desk is in my home office so I take my shoes off when I get off my treadmill. I don't want to be lacing and unlacing sneakers every 30 to 60 minutes when I take a break or go and fetch something.

Camelbak Better 0.75L Bottle, Grey

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I like to have a bottle of water with me on the treadmill all the time so I can drink regularly. Although I'm only walking I find a non-spill bottle to be a safer option. And BPA-free makes sense.


Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, .3-Ounce Tins (Pack of 6)

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My lips get really dry when I spend a lot of time at my walking desk so I make sure I've got a good supply of lip balm and keep one within reach.


Ozeri 3x Tower Fan with Passive Noise Reduction Technology

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In warm weather, a fan makes working at a walking desk much more comfortable.

Can you really work efficiently?

I expected to be less productive on my treadmill desk. Weirdly I seem to be working at least as fast. I'm more focussed.

Thanks for Visiting

Treadmill Desk Options

Will you try a treadmill desk? - Comments

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