How to Build a Treadmill Desk

by on February 18, 2011

Treadmill Desk ReviewI get a lot of questions about my treadmill desk and how it works. All of the treadmill desks that I looked at were pretty expensive, and I didn’t know if I would really even use one. So my husband and I decided that we would try to build one using an older treadmill that we didn’t feel comfortable running on anymore.

In the first picture you can see the basic setup. We basically drilled 2 shelf brackets ($7 each at Home Depot) into the top of the treadmill and placed a wireless keyboard mouse on top of a plain wood shelf ($10-$20 at Home Depot depending on the size and type). You could use a SurfShelf if you didn’t want to try to make one yourself (about $40 through Surfshelf.com). We already had a television in the “exercise room” (unfinished basement), so we just plugged one of our laptop docking stations into it. I simply take my laptop from the docking station in my office to the docking station in the basement to keep working. If you don’t have any of the above already, you can always go the TrekDesk route for about $500 (available from Amazon).

Treadmill Desk Review 2What can I do on the treadmill and how fast can I go? I actually keep a spreadsheet of every time that I work at the treadmill desk. An example of a good week where I used the desk 4 different days was a total of 432 minutes, 19.27 miles, and 2270 calories burned. That was walking before lunch each day, stopping for lunch, and then walking again after lunch.

As seen in the video below, I tend to walk at about a 3.0 pace and a 3.0 incline when I am checking email, blogging, and doing other things that require typing. If I am watching videos, listening to podcasts, or reading articles, I can walk at about 3.5-4.0 before my “desk” starts to wiggle too much for my liking.

I will caution that the first time that started using my treadmill desk, I ended up with plantar fasciitis and ended up having to buy a couple of products from Heel That Pain to make it better. I still use the products and the plantar fasciitis flares up on me. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was from using the treadmill desk too much, but that was pretty much the only exercise that I was getting when it happened.

The short video below shows the mechanics of how my treadmill desk is put together, how fast I can walk on it while typing, and a brief glimpse of my infamous Pajama Jeans.

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Thanks for reading! I am a lawyer, blogger, affiliate marketer, and consultant most known in the industry for my cashback site, SunshineRewards.com. You can reach me on Twitter @sunshinetricia.
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{ 14 comments }

Chris February 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Cool idea! So this is what they mean by Web 3.0 ;-)
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Vinny O'Hare February 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

This was very cool, I didn’t think you could type at 3.0 but it seemed to be pretty easy I guess you get use to it.

Have you tried anything like Dragon speaking software so you could just speak instead of typing. I am not sure it would work with the treadmill noise though.
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Tricia February 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks, Vinny! I have not tried speaking software but I bet that you could use it depending on the type of treadmill that you have. I can talk on the phone just fine and walk and my treadmill is a dinosaur. So I would think that as long as the mic was close enough to you, you would be able to type as well.

I don’t type quite as fast while I am walking but I type faster when I am at my treadmill desk walking than when I am on my “running” treadmill and checking my email from my phone. So my treadmill desk typing is definitely faster than my texting speed.

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Shawn Collins February 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

Great to see that 3 mph is workable with a treadmill desk – I was getting nervous when reading some sites about them and how they suggested 1 mph.
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Tricia February 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

I couldn’t walk that slow. I’m naturally a very fast walker. Even being at 2.0 is like standing still to me. I really like 3.0 while I am typing, especially with an incline. The incline helps when you need to take a picture of your rear end wearing Pajama Jeans. ;)

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Daniel M. Clark February 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm

See, I thought they all recommended 1.0 because the idea was just to get some movement into your day; that you weren’t supposed to walk fast enough to get out of breath or feel like you need to rest.

But if 3.0 works, it works, and it’s that much better for you!
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Jen Goode February 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

Great demo, thanks so much for sharing. I’ve walked on mine with just the laptop there… I like your set up with the big screen much better! It’s on the to-do list now. So does this mean you’re ready and going to join us in June? ;)

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Tricia February 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

I so wish that I could! Kevin’s parents are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary that week and we started planning almost 2 years ago for a family reunion on the Disney Dream for them. Last year I couldn’t do it because we were in Disney! Sometimes I wish that I weren’t such a planner. I end up planning our vacations at conflicting times every year. :(

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Daniel M. Clark February 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

Sure, why not? He could use an over-the-shoulder solution to put a shelf right in front of him, and with a laptop & a MiFi, he could get a lot done!
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BenSpark February 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

I’m at work so I can’t watch the video right now but will check it out later. I so want to make one of these.
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Tricia February 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

It was SO easy, Drew. The hardest part was figuring out what size shelf and brackets to get. Honestly. We are not really “handy” people in our house. My husband is 100% computers and wires. I think we had to charge the drill to even be able to make the holes. And like I say in the video, it’s our 10-year-old treadmill that we were going to throw out when we bought a new one. But the fact that we only walk 3.0-4.0 miles an hour on it means it doesn’t need to be a fancy expensive one.

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Adam Riemer February 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

I love it!!! That is what I need to do asap for the avon walk lol.
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Tricia February 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

It would be great to prepare for the Avon walk, Adam, because you would be able to build up your endurance. There were days that I walked over 10 miles while I was working just while the kids were in school, including breaks for lunch, stretching, getting the mail, etc. I bet you could easily work up to 15 miles a day or so over the next few months.

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Greg Hoffman February 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

Is Adam saying he wants to work while walking in the Avon Walk???

Great idea on the treadmill desk.

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