Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk

This post has almost nothing to do with my garden. But it does have a tenuous link to this blog – I’m writing now (and will be pretty much all the time) walking at my treadmill desk.

I recently created this treadmill desk because I felt I wasn’t getting enough exercise and sitting at a desk for several hours a day was making things worse. I am a writer which only makes sitting more common for me. Things are definitely too sedentary around here.

Last year my nephew introduced me to the concept of a treadmill desk. He has the same attitude I do about sitting in front of a computer all day. Not an evil exactly, but just too much time not moving. Since then he’s set up a treadmill desk at his place and loves it. I decided I wanted one so I went for it.

Step 1: Get a treadmill (if you don’t already have one gathering dust in your basement). I bought mine for $120 on (like Craigslist). I actually bought a cheapie one for $25 first which worked as a proof of concept but it was too noisy and didn’t run smoothly (it’s going back on gumtree soon). Since you want to be able to type and maybe even use pen and paper while walking, you don’t want to have to deal with any jolts (or I don’t).

Step 2: Put some kind of desk over your treadmill. This can be a simple plank taped to the handles of your treadmill (a friend of mine is trialling this for reading her emails every morning and loving it) or as complicated as you want. I just happened to have some drawers that fit into an adjustable set of railings that my neighbours set out on the verge as rubbish. I love re-purposing.

Step 3: Put a computer of some description on your desk. This could be as simple as dropping your lap top on your plank or, if you’re like me and prefer a real monitor, keyboard and mouse, go ahead and set them up. I leave my netbook on my real desk so if I want to sit for a while, I can just open the lid and go for it. Of course I can also move my M/K/M back onto my normal desk in about 45 seconds if I need to spend more time sitting.

Step 4: Walk. I find 3 kph (1.9 mph) works well for me (and seems to be pretty normal based on what I’ve read on the net). I get warm but am not out of breath and can talk on the phone or listen to a YouTube video AND last for more than a short sprint. Within a few minutes I forget I’m even walking. There’s no reason you can’t build up to doing this for a full day. Some people even have a treadmill desk at work (don’t they have cool bosses).

The benefits of treadmill desks are legion. Good circulation is good for the brain (more creativity for writers?). Walking is good for the heart. Moving is good for the back. The bones, the muscles, the digestion and almost every part of the body benefits. It’s all good.

I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now. I am at the computer for 3 or so hours on a normal day. When I’m in a writing frenzy I expect to stand here closer to 8 hours a day – probably in 2 hour stretches. At first I felt it pretty strongly in my legs but my body is strengthening. My biggest problem has been my feet – I walk barefoot and the soles of my feet got sore in the early days. I just put on slippers and kept going. Now they don’t bother me if I only walk a couple of hours.

I suspect I’ll lose a little bit of weight but that’s not the main reason for doing this, I’m looking for a way to keep doing the things I love (writing) without creating health issues and maybe even benefiting my health. If I can do 2 things at once, why not? Yes, you have to be able to walk AND chew gum to master this complex task 🙂

I confess that I like walking – and still do out in the actual fresh air – so maybe this is easier for me than it would be for others, but after a few minutes spent on the web, it’s obvious that there is quite a craze for treadmill desks. It just might catch on.

This post may not belong on a gardening blog, but I consider it part of the same attitude that has me putting my hands in the soil and producing organic food in my backyard: keeping active, being healthy, looking for simple ways to improve my life. The only downside is I’ve increased my carbon footprint. The treadmill does take electricity. I thought about getting a non-motorised version but I don’t think that would work as a treadmill desk – too much effort when the exercises is supposed to be done at a unconscious level. I console myself with the fact that the solar panels on our roof make 50% more electricity than we use so I can walk 24 x 7 and still be green(ish).

Working at my treadmill desk


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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11 Responses to Treadmill Desk

  1. Oh what a clever idea – I brought my treadmill into work and get onto it at lunchtime most days. It can get boring – this way you could almost forget you are exercising. Multitasking at its best 🙂

    • It CAN get boring? Surely it is guaranteed to get boring. I am not the kind who can listen to music and forget I’m sweating – I need something that uses a lot more of my brain. Today I’m hunting for publishers for one of my books – it’s so stressful I don’t even feel my feet 😮

  2. John Ford says:

    Yay for treadmill desks! I hope it’s something more people start doing.

  3. Boy If I could get away from sitting an hour or so a day what a change it would be.

  4. wow what an amazing idea. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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