Walking While Working: Build a Treadmill Desk

It’s a fact. Sitting at a desk shortens your life span.

For decades, I’ve heard of people using standing desks. More recently, I discovered “walking desks” — a marriage of treadmill and workstation.

I love to walk, and I also love to work (when work = passion). But no way going to spend $5,000 on a Steelcase Walkstation Desk. So I decided to build my own. I’ve been using my new walking workstation for about three weeks and couldn’t be happier. My goal is to walk at least 20 miles each week, so that in roughly 4 years (I’m often out of the office) I will have walked 3072 miles to my virtual destination at the Cape Cod seashore.  I’m keeping a log (scroll down), and will try to update this blog post with significant milestones.

Total cost of my walking desk is $500. I’ve included some photos below. Here’s a list of materials:

Treadmill: Merit 725T Plus ($430, delivered)

Desktop: 48″ x 18″ Smooth Laminate Countertop ($35)

Desktop Mounts: Two ea Home Depot Shelf Supports & Brackets ($25)

C-Clamps: Four Home Depot U-Bolts ($10)

My desktop is easily adjustable up or down in 1 inch increments via the shelf support system. I wall-mounted a video display at eye-level in front of the walking desk. Keyboard and mouse (trackball) are wireless Logitech K350 & M570.

My sitting desk is immediately behind the walking desk, behind the R/D lab wall. Logitech’s Unifying Receiver allows me to run duplicate trackballs and keyboards on a single PC, and a passive splitter-combiner lets me to run two monitors from the same video card. So now I have a walking desk and a sitting desk sharing the same PC. Nice.

How does it perform? The desktop is very stable and allows me to walk at a reasonable pace while typing on the keyboard, writing, talking on phone, or viewing the video monitor. In fact, I’m writing this blog post from my walking desk at 3.0 MPH. If I need to do critical trackball work (e/m design, schematic entry, etc.) I sometimes need to reduce my speed to something around 2.0 MPH. If walking speeds exceed 3.5MPH, the desktop starts to pick up sympathetic vibrations from the treadmill.

VIRTUAL LOCATIONS REACHED:

2011

JOURNEY START: July 18, 2011: Placerville, California

Aug 13: Fernley, Nevada

Aug 26: Taking a side trip to Burning Man!

Sep 16: Fernley, Nevada Back from virtual Burning Man.

Nov 16 Elko, Nevada (530 miles to date)

Dec 27 Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

2012

Mar 26, 2012 Salt Lake City, Utah

Jul 26 Green River, Wyoming

Dec 30 Sidney, Nebraska (1183 miles to date)

2013

April 9 Lexington, Nebraska (1360 miles to date)

July 15 Omaha, Nebraska (1570 miles to date — about half-way to my goal!!)

Dec 27 Iowa City, Iowa (1820 miles to date)

 

 

USA Map Blog Ongoing

 

 

Walking Desk Related:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/are-standing-desks-healthier-than-sitting.php

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1862448-1,00.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/04/28/135766887/health-chair-reform-walk-dont-sit-at-your-desk

http://hfs.sagepub.com/content/51/6/831.abstract

http://smarterware.org/7102/how-and-why-i-switched-to-a-standing-desk

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/stand-up-while-you-read-this/


Visit Office Walkers

 


7 thoughts on “Walking While Working: Build a Treadmill Desk

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  4. Awesome! Do you get distracted by the walking? What was it like getting used to it? Would love the full story on the adjustment period.

    • Lisa, there wasn’t an adjustment period. Walking under 3MPH doesn’t get in the way of my work, unless it’s high precision mouse moves, then I slow it down to around 1-2MPH. Many days, I bump it up to 3.5MPH.

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