What is a Treadmill Desk?

What is a Treadmill Desk?

A Treadmill desk is a walking desk designed to let you move while you work. After the craze of standing desks came about, and people learned how bad sitting all day is for you and that it’s actually killing you, other creative desks started to emerge. The treadmill desk created a way to walk and work. The idea was to take the benefits of standing desks and expand on them. So if you burned X amount of calories standing you could burn Y amount walking now. If you’re walking while working you’re reaching goals for the day in terms of exercise and reducing your sedentary lifestyle. By having a more active life you lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The benefits seem enormous.

Treadmill desks are still fairly new and the “best” design has not yet been determined. Sometimes the treadmill is attached to the desk and sold as one unit, these are referred to as integrated treadmill desks, and other times the desk is designed to sit above a treadmill and the two are sold as two seperate pieces, adjustable height standing desks combined with a regular running treadmill. Treadmill desks are typically set to a very low speed such as 2 miles/hr to accommodate working while walking. They provide an incredible way to reach your desired amount of steps per day and to get you moving and being more active while at work. Like any other change, using the treadmill desk is something you’ll want to gradually ease into. A good way to start is with 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Additionally, it is a good idea to start with reading or research because typing while walking may be more difficult especially to adjust to all at once.

The treadmill desk was first proposed in the 1980s by a man named Nathan Edelson. While Edelson was the first inventor to propose the idea, another was designed in 1996 by a UC Berkeley professor Dr. Seth Roberts, and ultimately a medical doctor, Dr. James Levine, was given the credit for inventing the desk when he put a hospital tray over a treadmill and used it as a desk in the early 2000s. Dr. Levine was researching obesity and he used this idea to fight off his own sedentary lifestyle. The treadmill desk became popular in 2006 when Roger Highfield, a science journalist, constructed and tested a walking desk for several months in the UK under the guidance of Levine.

 A study by Dr. Levine found that people can burn 100-130 calories an hour when walking at speeds at or below two miles/hr. Other benefits include lowering your blood sugar and blood pressure, increasing your circulation, and boost your concentration and productivity (once you adjust to your new norm of course).

Integrated Treadmill Desk

Integrated treadmill:

Integrated treadmill desks are systems that pair the treadmill and desk together. These combined workstations can be found by a number of manufacturers and are the only type of walking desk some manufacturers sell.  If you’re in the market for one of these integrated treadmill desks, be sure to check out treadmill desk reviews that compare the daunting number of different brands now on the market. Treadmill desks have a fairly high price tag compared to other desk options so you want to find the one that is best suited for you. Some critics of the walking desk actually think the integrated desk is a waste of money because the treadmill can not be separated and used as a running treadmill for exercise as well. Additionally, treadmill desks can take up a lot of room and are not easy to move so if you want to sit throughout your work day you will need an alternative working space unless your treadmill desk can be converted into a sitting desk.

Integrated treadmill desks are more ergonomically sound. Standing desks combined with running treadmills are often off in height, reach, and stability. With integrated desks you can now even find some with keyboard trays that help you avoid straining your neck, back, wrists, and shoulders.

Under the desk treadmills can be sold as a separate peace from the desk but still be ergonomically sound because they are designed to be paired with  standing desks. As this invention continues to evolve it may not be long before we see a design that will allow for more of a dual function while still being ergonomically sound.

So what should you look for when deciding what kind of treadmill desk to invest in? The big things to look for when purchasing a treadmill desk include ergonomics (does it have a sturdy keyboard tray, does it adjust to my correct height, etc.), electronic vs. manual, and integrated vs. under the desk. Once you narrow down your preferences and needs in these departments (be sure to check prices while shopping around as treadmill desk prices can vary by thousands), you can look for additional features to please you.  Some of the added features that exist include step-counters that will track your activity automatically everyday, safety features which will bring your desk to a stop, app compatibility to sync with your phone or computer to track your progress over time (works via bluetooth), speed adjustments, and height adjustability (can it be converted to a sitting desk or used with a stationary bike).

Why buy a treadmill desk:

If it’s convenience you are looking for a treadmill desk serves several purposes. It will allow you to live a healthier life by burning more calories and reducing the overall amount of sitting you do.  This multitasking will inevitably save you time because you will not longer need to spend both time at work and the gym everyday you can do them both at once. With more time on your hands and more exercise under your belt you are on your way to a happier, healthier lifestyle.