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Walking and working, I built myself a treadmill desk

Over the last 6 months or so I had heard a lot of noise about using a treadmill desk. At first I thought it was the most ridiculous idea. I mean, really! Why would anyone be so involved in working that they can't take an hour out of their day to exercise. Then I stopped and looked at my long procrastination list of items not related to working that I never seem to make time to do. I sit at a desk that faces my treadmill yet I rarely take the time to get off my butt and walk over to use it, even for 30 minutes.

Then recently my friend Tricia wrote about how to build a treadmill desk on her blog along with a video of how easy it is to use. The more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. If I could figure out how to coordinate my limbs to work together to walk and work, I could get some things accomplished while I walk every day. Brilliant! So a couple days ago I set out to make my own treadmill desk.

Note: My treadmill was purchased secondhand for $80. It might look ancient but it works great and I can be proud that my non-walking self didn't spend a fortune to stare at it for months – don't make fun!

DIY treadmill desk

I had a few criteria that my desk had to meet:

  • Big and sturdy
    The desk had to be large enough and stable enough to accommodate my laptop and my mouse. I can hook the computer up to the tv if I want, but my treadmill is in my family room and sometimes I need to walk when the kids are in there too, so sharing the TV is important. So I wanted the option to have a screen right in front of me on the desk instead of only on the TV in front of me.
  • Removable
    My husband also uses the treadmill and isn't nearly as attached to working on the computer as I am so the desk had to be easily removable.
  • Easy to make
    I didn't want to have to get out all kinds of power tools or drill holes in the equipment. I wanted to make this myself. (my husband cut the wood for me and I did the rest, yay!)

Here's what I came up with to build my own treadmill desk:

Note: I haven't yet painted the desk, I'm not that patient and plain pine wood is fine by me.. the treadmill alone is not a decor piece, so I don't care much how the desk looks.

Materials:

  • Wood
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws (and electric screw driver/drill with screw driver bit)
  • Industrial strength velcro

Instructions for building:

Each treadmill is a bit different so you need to adjust these instructions accordingly.

  • Measure and cut a 1′ or 18″ board the width of your treadmill. If you'd like, measure it to overlap by 1″ on either side.
  • If your treadmill has angled arms like mine does, you can't simply place a shelf on top, it won't be level. So, in this case, using a 6′ x 2″ strip of wood cut 2 equal length pieces the width of your treadmill, and glue them on top of eachother to create a strip to place under the desk. Tape with duct tape to hold together until dry. If you prefer, nail or screw the pieces together.
  • Using 2 wood screws, attach the 2″ strip to the underside of the desk shelf piece.

Make your own treadmill desk

  • Measure and adher vecro to each of the 4 corners of the desk shelf on the underneath side. Attach coordinating velcro pieces to the arms of the treadmill. (If the corners won't actually be touching the desk pick 2 points on either side of the board to attach.)

Use velcro to make a removeable treadmill desk

  • Adher velcro across the top of the upper side of the desk shelf. Attach coordinating velcro on either side of top piece, wrapping along the underside of the shelf. This piece of velcro prevents the shelf from flipping if one were to lean on the desk.

Velcro to attach a treadmill desk

My treadmill desk is large enough that I can easily use my laptop with a mouse or I can use a wireless keyboard and mouse with the laptop connected to a large TV screen. The velcro holds it in place well enough that I can easily hold on while walking and not worry about the desk flying off towards me. I can remove the desk very quickly just by detaching the top velcro piece and pulling the desk shelf off the attached treadmill arms.

Laptop on my treadmill desk

Wireless keyboard and mouse on my treadmill desk

The supplies to make my treadmill desk total approximately $10, the most expensive piece being the industrial strength velcro which I picked up at Walmart in the sewing aisle for $7.49. The entire desk took me about an hour to make… mostly because I had to find my supplies buried in the garage.

If you'd like to make your treadmill desk look a little less unfinished, paint the wood and then add a strip of fabric to the sticky side of the velcro that isn't adhered to anything. Voila!

I'm happy with the solution and have already tested it out. I walked for an hour while I wrote a few articles and even created a video for another site. Mission accomplished… now I just need to remember I no longer have an excuse for not walking!

 

 

Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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5 thoughts on “Walking and working, I built myself a treadmill desk”

  1. Hey Jen – I did this same thing also over the weekend. The one thing that I notice is that the heels of my hands are hurting when I work on the laptop — I guess I am stablizing myself by leaning on them as I type. I’m going to look for some sort of cushion or rest for this, but have you noticed it? Thanks! Amy

    Reply
    • I could see that – I haven’t been using mine long enough for any issues.. but I did notice I wanted to lean on the desk so I would then stand up and stop typing for a bit… helped.

      Reply
  2. Congrats! It looks wonderful! I think you will be incredibly happy–especially if you keep a log for a little bit of how much you are walking. Even doing 30-60 minutes a day will really start to add up over a couple of weeks. 🙂

    Reply

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