Is a Treadmill Desk Worth it?

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I’ve been working from home for quite a few years. Although I write about physical activity all the time, besides my workouts which seldom lasted more than an hour, I was sitting on my butt at home for far too much of the day.

Over the past year or so I kept hearing about people using stand up or treadmill desks and how much they loved them.

Kevin Gianni labeled it as the most important health breakthru of 2012. I think this is what really set my mind in motion to do this.

Since I was tired of sitting on my butt I knew it was time for a change. There’s a few studies out there saying that the more you sit the more likely you’ll have health issues. That’s quite obvious if you ask me. We’re not made to sit all day long. Working out to counterbalance that is good, but you can’t undo 12 hours+ of sitting (not just work, but driving and watching TV at home for most people) with one hour of training.

I knew this was a problem because when I put on weekend workshops like Super Human Training my feet would kill me. I just wasn’t use to standing for any significant part of the day.

There was one small problem with this though. I’m not a fan of treadmills. I’ve written about this before. It’s not like actual walking. It can screw with your vision. Plus it’s sure to be putting off tons of EMF’s. But…is it better than sitting? I think so. I was at least willing to try it out to make up my mind.

(For the EMF’s I use a grounded mouse pad since I can no longer keep my feet on a pad.)

Getting a Treadmill Desk Setup

I had plans to do this but just hadn’t gotten around to it for some time. It would require a treadmill and a desk. The hard part for me was to figure out what to get.

Luckily I had access to a treadmill. My girlfriends parents owned one, but like most machines it was gathering dust unused in the garage. I asked if I could borrow it and they said yes. One part down, now the desk part…

My friend Tyler built himself a desk. Certainly a cheap option to go with. I was thinking about doing that too. However its quite a permanent solution. Since I figured I’d be moving sometime in the future I wanted something that could be moved easily. But seeing him do it spurred me on to faster action from the just dreaming stage to actually getting it done.

Treadmill Desk

My friend’s treadmill desk that he built himself. You’ll also notice the treadmill had to be slightly dis-assembled for this one.

I also needed lots of space. I like to have lots of desk space. Got two computer monitors that I run off of a PC. I couldn’t get by with a little laptop stand. So I had to make sure whatever I’d end up with was big.

I did a deep search online of what other people had built, setup or bought. I was searching Craigslist for options. I looked at Ikea. In the end I settled on an easy solution. Not cheap but it looked to be exactly what I wanted.

The Trek Desk

As you can see in the picture its quite wide. Its fairly stable. Shakes a little bit but not enough to be concerned that it’ll collapse, or to impede my work flow.

My TrekDesk setup. Notice the lots of space for two monitors, notebooks and other miscellaneous stuff.

My TrekDesk setup. Notice the lots of space for two monitors, notebooks and other miscellaneous stuff.

I had to reorganize my office to accommodate the size of the whole setup. There’s also no drawers like my old desk had so I needed to shift around where I kept stuff. But it took only a couple hours out of one day to get everything setup and into its proper place.

The Fat Burning Zone

One of the big selling benefits of a treadmill desk for most people is the increased activity levels and burning calories. For me personally, that has nothing to do with my goals. But for others it’s a great way to get moving throughout your day.

For this reason most of the time I’m on it I just walk at a leisurely pace. Occasionally I crank up the incline and the speed. I have noticed that my hands can get sweaty which may interfere with typing and using the mouse.

My goal for it was increased health and productivity. But if you can get that and burn fat, for most people that’s a huge benefit.

Getting Use To the Treadmill Desk

I knew this would be the tricky part. To go from sitting for hours one end to standing and walking the whole time would obviously take some adjusting. As of writing this article I’m about three weeks in. I would say I’m still getting use to it but it has gotten much easier.

It’s funny, when people work while sitting at a desk they’re encouraged to get up and do some activity every so often. I needed to do the opposite. Every hour or couple of hours I would take a break and sit down.

My feet have been sore. I think part of this is because the treadmill itself is quite hard and I walk on it barefoot. The funny thing is the other week my feet were very sore and I was tired of walking on it all day. Then I went out and played a 27 hole game of disc golf with friends. My feet weren’t hurting at all during that. Perhaps it was the cushion of socks and shoes or the uneven terrain. I’m not sure, just something I noticed.

Not just my feet but my hips and legs are getting use to it as well. I’ve noticed some soreness in those areas at times.

Part of the getting use to it is doing it at an easy pace. I imagine in the coming weeks I’ll be upping the intensity.

Increased Productivity

Besides getting use to it and having to take occasional breaks how has it changed my work flow. I like to think that I already got a lot done. But here I think I became even better. My energy has been perhaps even better than before. (Hard to say for sure when you go from great to just a little greater.)

During the night time I typically like to study to learn more. I currently am reading about 5-7 books at any one time. In the past this sometimes was a bit of a chore but I’m finding my energy at nights seems to be even better. More energy to study and practice.

I’m finding writing is even easier for me oddly enough. Not only did I finish Deceptive Strength but I have other books in the works to be released soon (look for an announcement later this week about one of them) and I’ve been cranking out lots of articles.

So for those of you that have the possibility of this I wanted to give you my experience. Is it worth it? Yes!

And of course, this entire article was written, edited and put online while walking on the treadmill desk. 🙂

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