After a number of months of using a treadmill desk, I’ve decided it’s a keeper. There are definitely some things (namely proofreading) that I can’t do while on it, and I generally alternate between walking for an hour and sitting for an hour during the day. Still, I find the treadmill desk to be ergonomically fantastic, it really eliminates a lot of the joint and muscle issues that come with sitting at a desk all day.
My original treadmill desk setup had some problems. These can probably be solved by spending $500-$3,000 for a purpose-built treadmill desk, but here in Colorado we like to take things into our own hands and reuse wherever possible. I started out by positioning my monitors on a board placed across two computer towers in front of the treadmill, but this proved to be too far away (and I have good eyes; definitely don’t try this if you wear glasses!). For the keyboard and mouse, I used another board across the treadmill arms, but this was a little unstable and didn’t leave much room for my phone, date book, etc.
I enlisted the help of my super-DIY’er husband, who came up with the idea of making a larger desk surface that would extend out farther than the treadmill arms in order to accommodate the monitors and the keyboard on the same surface. In order for this to work, you have to have a treadmill with a pretty long belt, so check the length before you make a large desk surface. My husband cut a piece of plywood to size, attached it to the treadmill arms with some metal strapping and screws (you can see this in the photo below) and used two shelving boards to make a “riser” for the monitors. This works really well; the plus/minus is that it’s hard to reach the treadmill control panel while you’re on the belt (since the monitors are in front of it). The minus is that I have to step off the treadmill to turn it off and on, but the plus is that because it’s harder to shut the treadmill off, I tend to just keep walking for a longer time.
Computer monitors on treadmill desk