What is a treadmill desk? I’d never heard of this invention prior to writing about home exercise equipment. Rather than sitting at your desk gaining weight, why not burn calories at the same time.
What a great idea for multitasking while doing office work. Treadmill desks have come a long way having become more streamlined for comfort, convenience, and durability.
I’ll be discussing some of the many treadmill desk benefits and negatives, some of which you may not have thought of.
What Is a Treadmill Desk
You probably have an idea of what a treadmill desk is. The basic premise is to walk while you work, making this the ultimate multitasking machine for the office.
How a treadmill desk works is that it takes a height-adjustable standing desk and combines this with an under the desk office treadmill. This way you can walk as you perform daily computer tasks both at work or at home.
Why Use a Desk Treadmill?
Although you may feel this whole treadmill desk thing is a silly concept, it really is quite functional for your health. Not only does it help your body stay healthy and active, but it increases focus, productivity, and attention. Keeping yourself moving during office work also helps to lower blood pressure while decreases work fatigue and back pain.
Since weight gain is almost inevitable when spending a lot of time focusing on your job, this is a creative way to burn calories by incorporating exercise. Prolonged sitting is proven to increase the chances of heart disease and diabetes as well as decreasing the blood flow leading to other health problems.
Check out my 6 Best Treadmills for a Home Gym in 2020
Types of Treadmill Desks and Options
No matter which design, a treadmill desk is almost always composed of a treadmill streamlined enough to fit under a standing desk. The running tread part does not typically come with the upright console and armrests, but only the flat, horizontal walking part.
Although they don’t come with a standing console, you will still be able to control running deck speeds and see your stats. There are several designers but treadmill desks will usually come with either a small console control with an LED display that sits on your desk or it will come with a remote control unit.
Purchase As a Package or Separate
A treadmill desk will many times come together as a package, but usually attached to each other permanently. It is recommended to buy them as a desk/treadmill package. This is because they fit together better with the desk legs normally tight to the running unit.
Some websites do offer the option to purchase a treadmill desk as two separate pieces of equipment in case you already have a desk for a treadmill. When purchasing, there will most likely be options to customize the desk sizes, widths, material, and color. When looking, keep in mind that the desk can come in manual or electric height adjustments, which is normally reflected in the price.
If you are planning on doing a mix and match from two different companies, just be extra sure that they are compatible so they fit together properly.
Two-In-One Walking Machine and Standing Desk!
An extra added value is that many of these treadmills can also be used separately for a running workout. It’s basically a space saving treadmill for the home. Some treadmills for desks even come with a handrail/console that swings up into a running position.
Keep in mind that many of these types of treadmills don’t always come with the same cushioning running system as true runner treadmills. Having a better-cushouned running belt will usually be reflected in the price.
With a treadmill desk, the adjustable desk part can be used separately by itself. They can be used like a regular manual or automatic standing desk without the treadmill. Work in the standing position, or simply lower as an office desk to be used with any chair.
Treadmill Desk Accessories
A click on lamp or fan is a simple concept but can be a very useful desk add-on. You can order privacy panel attachments or power cord holders to consolidate all of your wires.
How about adding an instant “desk converter”. These come with risers to give you numerous work surfaces. There are also additional workstation accessories such as monitor arms, keyboard trays, and other conveniences.
Standard Treadmill Made with Built-In Work Space
In case you are on the fence about a walking treadmill for desk use, this is a good “tweener”. This is a regular type of running treadmill that simply has an extended table holder or work station.
It’s not nearly as much workspace, but it’s nice to be able to use the handrails while walking. Another benefit is that they will have a large LED screen on the treadmill console for tracking speed, distance, and other stats.
How To Buy a Treadmill Desk
Although you won’t find all of these perks in one treadmill desk, here are just some of the options to be aware of when shopping for the best treadmill desk for the home. Of course, the higher the price, the better the treadmill options.
- Desk/Treadmill Combo Package – this will ensure that both units are compatible with one another
- Stowable – Find a lightweight and folding treadmill along with wheels to roll it away. Another option is a low profile treadmill to store under a couch or bed.
- Space Saving – if you have a smaller work area, these come with shorter running belts which are more compact for a home office.
- Manual or Electric Height Control – all treadmill desks should be adjustable. Whether its manual or automatic simply depends on your preference
- Double as a Running Treadmill – if this is your goal, be sure the treadmill has high-speed adjustment and a better-cushioned running belt.
- Customize Desk Unit – some units offer several different desk desktop colors, desk frame colors, desktop widths, and different materials
- Personal Setting Options – ability to set the number of steps, time increments, calories burned, and more
- Safety Features – easy on and off controls or emergency stop
- Bluetooth App – it’s ideal to have a wireless option when tracking steps, distance, and calories
- Treadmill Noise – check customer reviews, you will need a quiet treadmill for certain situations such as video conferencing
- Warranty – buy from a reputable company with a manufactures warranty or extended protection program
- Weight Limit – some treadmills come with a low user weight capacity. Higher weight capacity treadmills tend to be a more stable exercise machine
- Cord Storage – the treadmill frame can come with internal cable routing to keep your desk area clutter free
- Console and Armrest – a nice option for runners is a full console and armrest like a standard treadmill but folds down for under desk use
- Commercial Grade – this type of desk treadmill comes with a stronger and quieter motor and is made more for office use than home
- On a budget?? – Look for a small under desk treadmill that can be used with any compatible table or desk
Treadmill Desk Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick list of the good, bad, and the ugly that comes with using a treadmill with a desk.
Benefits of a Treadmill Desk
- Faster calorie burn
- Helps to stay active and healthy
- Reduces work stress
- Works to control body weight
- Increases focus and attention
- Brings more productivity
- Prevents afternoon sleepiness
- Decreases work fatigue and back pain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease
Potential Treadmill Negatives
- Treadmill desk combos can be pricey and take up more room than a traditional desk
- Takes some time and coordination getting used to walking while working
- May feel insecure about this at first, but this is a smart, common-sense way to work
Alternative Active Desk Options
There are other several ways to stay active during working hours to reduce chronic problems that come with prolonged sitting. Here are two options that are available.
The concept of a bike desk is very similar to what we’ve been talking about, and they come with the same healthy and productive benefits. Like treadmill desks, a desk with a bike is just like what it sounds.
There are two ways that they can come. They can be purchased as a single stationary bike that easily rolls under a height-adjustable desk. Or they can be sold as an exercise bike in a one piece unit.
Desk Bikes come with many of the same options as the typical desks with a treadmill. This includes several adjustments, sizes, price points, console setups and controls, and resistance levels.
Balance Ball Chair
Using an exercise ball or Bosu ball while working is considered a form of active sitting. This has more recently been a popular way to counteract the problems that come with prolonged sitting.
A balance ball seat is basically a chair that holds a large exercise ball. This seat has been proven to come with similar benefits to the treadmill desk such as burning more calories, better posture, and better circulation.
If you don’t want to spring for an exercise ball chair, simply work from your gym ball or exercise ball as a chair. This will work to burn calories and improve balance even better. But don’t overdo it with your new exercise ball chair, it’s not recommended to use them for more than two hours.
What Is a Treadmill Desk – Final Thoughts
A treadmill desk is the combination of a low profile treadmill running belt without a standup console that sits under an adjustable standing desk.
Finding the best treadmill for a home or office can be a difficult choice, so be sure to read the section above on “how to buy a treadmill desk”. It’s surprising how many types of desk treadmills and available options there are.
If you are still on the fence about the benefits of a treadmill desk, keep in mind that they are not just for burning calories. Treadmill desks are also proven to improve mood, creativity, productivity, help with reducing stress. They also decrease work fatigue and back pain, promote healthy body weight, and lower blood pressure.
If you have any questions or comments on the best treadmill desks, please leave a message below and I will respond.