Those of you who follow me on Facebook know about my latest toy – a treadmill desk!
I am having the time of my life with this thing. I’ve been walking one or two hours a day since I got it. I’ve participated in chats, searched for jobs and written several thousand words all while keeping a steady walking pace. It’s not fast, but believe me, my legs feel it!
I’ve wanted a treadmill desk since we reviewed them for Top Ten Reviews. My bestie and coworker, Sharyl, and I even priced used ones for the office, but HR wouldn’t let us get one. I vowed I would eventually have one of my own, but the price set me back. They can run as much as $3000, and the used ones we found were $1000. When we moved to Florida, though, I decided to see if they had them cheaper. Then, Google showed me Pinterest posts of DIY treadmill desks.
So today, I’m going to tell you how to make your own Treadmill desk for under $250 – under $100 if you are lucky and resourceful like me.
First, you need a used treadmill. Here’s the secret: You don’t need the bells and whistles. It does have to be automatic. I tested a manual one and keeping an even pace while writing was hard; it’s better to have the machine set the pace for you. However, if all you need it for is walking while typing, forget about the pulse monitors and different workout functions. If you keep it simple, you can find an older machine cheap. Mine cost $70.
One thing to look for: The handles must be roughly parallel to the ground to support the desk. (Otherwise, you need to build a table to fit over the treadmill.)
Next, you need a board. That’s it. Just a board roughly 33″x15″. The best approach is to get the treadmill first and measure its width, adding a couple of inches on each side. I’d suggest strong wood to support not only the weight of the keyboard, but also your weight in case you want to lean on the desk at some point.
My desk is actually the keyboard tray of the desk the movers broke. I loved that desk.
Finally, you need a way to secure it to the treadmill. The beauty of this is, you don’t have to attach it, just keep it steady. Bungee cords work great. Because I have the tray, I could hook it to the back lip, then go under the treadmill control panel, then hook it on the lip on the other side.
If you have a flat board, then strong eyelets screwed into the side of the board will hold the bungee in place. However, you will need two bungee cords and 4 eyelets.
Credit: Hallie Cottis, Whole Life Nutrition. See her instructions here.
The nice thing about the bungee cords, too, is that the desk is easy to remove if you want to get in a run.
Using Your Treadmill Desk
The beauty of this is that you are working out as you are working, but don’t forget: you are working out. Although you are moving at a slow walking pace, you are nonetheless moving at a steady pace. Wear comfortable clothes and good walking or workout shoes. Have water near you, but be careful about open containers!
Get on the treadmill the same as if you were going to run at the gym. Straddle the treads rather than standing on them as you start. Start it moving slow. Grasp the desk for balance as you put your feet on the treads. Set the speed to something that keeps you moving without leaning or concentrating. Depending on your mood and setup, that may change. I walked much faster with the treadmill at work where folks were around and we had actual desktop screens on the desk.
Don’t worry about speed. A treadmill desk is about endurance, so pick an easy pace.
Walk as long as you are comfortable, but keep an eye on time. I lose track sometimes when I’m working, especially if Vern is being especially fun to write or I’m having a good conversation with someone online. Build up your endurance and vary work on the treadmill with work on a regular desk.
Finally, don’t feel like the treadmill desk is only for long blocks of time. If you get in 15-20 minutes a few times a day, it adds up fast!
This is just one way to making a treadmill desk. If you already have a treadmill and this style won’t work, check out this Pinterest page for more ideas.
If you end up making a treadmill desk, let me know how it goes! Send me some photos and we’ll share them.
I don’t run on my treadmill, but there are benefits to running on a treadmill. Just don’t write while running!