What is a Treadmill Desk?

Woman on treadmill desk
Woman on treadmill desk

What is a treadmill desk and furthermore why should anyone care about it? How is it different from the normal treadmill? What do you look for when buying one? We will be answering these questions in this post. Firstly, what exactly is a Treadmill desk? Wikipedia describes it like this: A treadmill desk, walking desk or treadmill workstation is a computer desk that is adapted so that the user walks on a treadmill while performing office tasks.

Persons using a treadmill desk seek to change the sedentary lifestyle associated with being an office worker and to integrate gentle exercise into their working day.

The treadmill desk uses a treadmill designed for walking speeds of 1-2 miles per hour and for the best effect works together with an adjustable height standing desk. The New York Times credits Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic as being the popular inspiration for the desk treadmill.

His first attempt to create a treadmill desk consisted of placing a bedside hospital tray over a $400 treadmill. Desk treadmills have come a long, long way since then and will continue to evolve.

Desk Treadmills Are Different From Regular Treadmills

You can always attempt to make your own desk treadmill at home. There are various hacks you can try if you’re mechanically minded and have some spare time and are willing to experiment to get optimum ergonomics.

It is possible to elevate the desk surface using crates, books, and spare lumbar to put it together. The main problem with this approach is one of safety. With no set safety standards who knows when a homemade rivet may pop or a part will come adrift. The second problem is that the motor which is used in the running treadmill will wear out sooner because it was not meant to handle the increased weight of walking.

Desk treadmills are specifically designed for walking so they usually have a maximum speed of 2 miles per hour. At lower speeds, you can still focus on tasks without losing concentration. Their motors are also designed for long hours of walking at a slower speed.

The desk treadmills do not have safety handles as they are really not needed at lower speeds. Most running treadmills are also noisier than their desk treadmill counterparts. A lot of desk treadmills have shock absorbers and balancers and are designed to work with a

Thermotread Ellure From
ThermoTread Ellure From

variable desk height.

There are a plethora of companies who have done all the leg work needed to design and make a true desk treadmill. Well-known brands like LifeSpan, TrekDesk, iMovR, and Fitneff, to name a few will pretty much ensure an error-free experience.

Why Should I Use A Treadmill Desk?

It is well known that sitting slows down the metabolism and the system begins to progressively shut down. It cuts down the electrical activity of the muscles and reduces the production of Lipoprotein Lipase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat molecules in the blood.

What Happens After we Have Been Seated for Two Hours?

What happens after we have been seated for two hours? The metabolism slows and insulin becomes less effective. Good cholesterol, the one that we want, starts to drop. This situation in time will lead to cardiovascular problems, diabetes type 2, deep vein thrombosis, different cancers, and depression. The reason why some people are depressed could be as simple as they are not getting enough activity in their schedules. There are also studies linking Dementia to a basic lack of activity.

man at desl

Even the General has issued a statement. The Surgeon General in this case. In early September 2015, the US Surgeon General issued a call to action to encourage people to make walking a priority in their lives and to motivate community leaders to make living and working spaces more walkable. There can be various reasons why people do not walk or get a level of exercise that will promote good health.

Being stuck in an office where sitting is the norm.

Pressed schedules can create a situation where there is no time to walk.

Weather can be a factor. Rain, snow, or too much wind or heat.

Lack of motivation which ironically can be caused by sitting too long.

Not wanting to change a sedentary lifestyle.

Not having the physical or mental resources to try a more active lifestyle.

Feeling unsafe in a city or neighborhood.


How to Use a Desk Treadmill Correctly

The main thing to remember when first using a desk treadmill is that it will be a newly acquired habit. It may very well feel foreign, to begin with. Certain tasks are not suited for the desk treadmill like drinking coffee or water. Eating is also not advised.

Again the caution to not overdo it at first will often go ignored. Some tasks requiring fine motor skills may suffer. Finicky design work that needs a lot of concentration and hand-eye coordination will not do so well either.

So a word to the wise, start slowly. You may feel inspired to let it rip just after your morning cup of espresso. Perhaps a co-worker will find you later, slumped over the console gasping and sweating. Check with your doctor if you have any medical concerns that may interfere with increased inactivity. Gradually increase your walking time and alternate with sitting.

Some Suggestions For Treadmill Desks

Walktop Treadmill Desk

The Stylish WalkTop Treadmill Desk

If you are looking for a fully adjustable walking desk, one that you can use as both a regular treadmill as well as a treadmill desk then the Walktop and BodyCraft Blu series will fit the bill. The Walktop treadmill desk attaches directly to the Bodycraft Blu treadmill turning it magically into a fully adjustable walking desk.

It comes pre-assembled, so no messing with nuts bolts, and misleading installation manuals. When you feel like a run just remove the Walktop, it is lightweight and easy to store. The Walktop also fits most makes of the treadmill, so if you already have a treadmill that might need some dusting off, the Walktop can transform it into a desk treadmill.


Forbes in its annual ranking of the “Best Workplace Luxuries”, has once again named the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk as an invaluable product to restore health and lose weight while at the office. This is a glowing testimonial for the TrekDesk. This is a desk that can be adapted to an existing treadmill.

There is even a police department in Spartanburg South

TrekDesk Fat Burning Desk
TrekDesk Works With Existing Treadmills

Carolina decided to bring the TrekDesk to their records division. Other 911 and 311 call centers are evaluating ways to keep their employees healthy and more productive at work.

It has a 32″ by 74″ surface and a few handy accessory slots including phones, pens, coffee cups (vital), and a file tray. The maximum supported weight is 55 lbs. so make sure that your monitor, computer, and accessories weigh no more than 55 lbs. See our TrekDesk review for more details,

The one thing to keep in mind with the TrekDesk is that the treadmill is not included.



LifeSpan is synonymous with desk treadmills. Lifespan is built to let you walk for hours a day. Designed for comfort, the LifeSpan TR5000-DT5 has thicker belts that do not need lubrication.


The TR5000-DT7 Treadmill Desk is a Bluetooth-enabled model which will let you wirelessly sync and track your activity data to your smartphone with the LifeSpan Club.

The desktop is unattached from the treadmill so that motion from your activity remains isolated and will not disturb the work surface. If you are between 4′ 10″ and 6′ 8″ this will enliven your working day. It is quiet and well-behaved sporting 6 impact-reducing shock absorbers to reduce stress on hips, back, knees and feet.


Thermodesk Elite Treadmill Desk Workstation

The Thermodesk Elite Treadmill Desk Workstation is ideal for the executive suite or home office. This is a top-of-the-line model and is a combo of the iMovr’s top-rated Thermodesk Elite and the ThermoTread GT office treadmill. It is all digital with its smartphone-like touch screen and LCD console. It boasts of being the quietest desk treadmill on the market. Hundreds of customization options and simply the best.

Thermodesk elite treadmill
Thermodesk Elite Treadmill

The optimized motor is built for reliability and performance. It has a 400 lbs. weight rating. Want to track how much time you are sitting, standing, and walking? The ThermoTread Gt is the first office treadmill that allows you to track time spent in each modality.

The Thermodesk Elite is the quietest treadmill desk ever built. It is a full 6db lower than the nearest competitor.


We have looked at what is a desk treadmill and what to look for when considering purchasing one. The suggestions may help you if you are thinking of a long-term investment in your health. The main caution while using the desk treadmill is not to overdo it at first.  Start out slowly and work up to an hour or more. Thanks for reading and please drop me a line with any comments or questions.



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