Walking Desk

The MaisonBisson Walking Desk.

I used to have a stand-up desk at work. Then that got replaced by a pair of standup workstations above a more normal desk. Then I moved offices and switched roles from sysadmin to programmer and got the most normal desk ever.

Then, in January 2005, I heard an NPR story about Dr. Jim Levine’s study that put a high value on constant movement throughout the day, and I got concerned about sitting for so long. Levine was so taken by the results that he assembled a walking desk (my term) using a treadmill and hospital tray (the kind that slides over a hospital bed).

Now, almost a year later, I’ve got my own.

Joe Stirt of BookOfJoe got excited about Levine’s treadmill desk and eventually built his own. Mine was especially easy to setup because the arms are perfectly level and large enough to hold that big cherry board I use for the desk surface.

treadmill, treadmill desk, walking desk, walking, computer desk, exercise, Dr. Jim Levine, Dr. James Levine, Dr. Joe Stirt, movement, health, desk

27 thoughts on “Walking Desk

  1. I am very interested in a stand up desk and I like the idea of your treadmill desk. But how can you actually work on a computer, read or write while you are moving? Doesn’t this pose a problem for you?


  2. Deb, it was a little awkward at first, but now it’s easy. Dr Levine suggested walking and working at around .6 miles per hour, but I found that too slow. I’ve been working up from there and now routinely work at somewhere between 2 and 3 miles per hour.

  3. Fantastic! I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to build one ever since I read about Dr. Levine as well. Tell me, what kind of treadmill is that?

  4. So, how does the shelf stay on. I’ve been looking at a treadmill desk ever since I saw that article at Dr. Levine too. I’ve been looking and container store build your shelf with casters, and I’ve thought about using PVC pipe to build a shelf, but I like your set up.

    [tags]treadmill desk[/tags]

  5. Sara: It’s a ProForm XP 550, but that model appears only to be available at Sears (where I bought mine). I selected it specifically because the arms are level and seemed convenient for this purpose.

    Scott: the “desk” is just a board sitting on the arms of the treadmill. This picture shows how simple it is.

  6. David: I’d love to have this in my office at work, but for now it’s only at home. I figure I’m putting in about 90 minutes a night at a mixture of speeds between 1 and 3 MPH.

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  8. I love this. I’m thinking of setting up one myself. Thanks for posting it.

    I had actually just been looking at standing desks, for the same alertness/ extra-calorie-burning functions, but this looks even better.

  9. Hi All,
    I’ve been shopping for a used treadmill and found an XP550s to try out today –hope it works out. I was trying for a while to set up a pedaling desk, but ran into ergonomic difficulties; finally decided the walking desk would work better after reading all about Dr. Levine’s. It’s such a fantastic idea, and exciting to see how so many people are ripe for it. I went back to school for grad prereqs and figured I’d better get a more active workstation to counteract all this sedentary studying!
    Thanks for the info.

  10. Here is another alternative to the treadmill desk. It’s called the Connect-A-Desk. It is a laptop desk that straps to the user and gives you the ability to use your laptop while walking or standing. You can use this on any treadmill or while walking through the house or outside or even at the mall. You can see a demo at http://connect-a-desk.com

  11. Hey guys,

    I work for a fitness company and am trying to propose that we make this product and sell it at a few retail stores around the country. Hope you guys can give me some help with answers to some questions.
    1. Would a $799-$999 price point be too expensive for this type of product?
    2. If this product was sold, would you expect to buy it at an office supply store or a sporting goods store?
    3. For those of you that have one, do you ever run on this treadmill? If the max speed was 5mph, would that be a turn-off?
    Thanks everyone!

  12. Josh–

    I would pay up to $1800 for a treadmill desk that a) was silent, b) was robust…the treadmill motor didn’t burn out with near-constant use, etc, c) had an adjustable ergnomic desk with a keyboard tray and a monitor stand that could be set to the right height for me. I would buy this machine tomorrow if it existed.

    Of course, your proposed price tag is better. But hell, I paid $1200 for a road bike. $1500 for skis. Why wouldn’t I get a good set up for working?

    I’d look for it in an office supply store first, but REI might be another spot.

    Online would be the best place, though.

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  14. What you are wishing for exists and is known as TrekDesk. You can read about it at http://www.trekdesk.com. It attaches to your existing treadmill and offers some unique features that will keep you productive and at your desk all day. Pricing is not yet set however it will be significantly less than the WalkStation pricing.

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  18. My walkstation used to look alot like that when I first put it together. Now it’s gone through a bit of an upgrade, wireless keyboard, 48 inch flatscreen…etc Here’s a demo video of me on my Treadmill Desk that shows the recent upgrades.

  19. I am looking to incorporate this idea into my senior capstone (a sort of high school version of a thesis). For part my capstone I am going to try to turn an all the computers in a computer room into these walking desks/ stationary bike desks to encourage people at my school to actually move once in a while. I am running into some difficulties with the expenses of machines and also how to set them up. Do you have any advice for me?

    • @Sarah:

      The treadmills can be rather pricey. And worse than that, they’re just huge. On the other hand, schools spend great sums of money building and outfitting gyms. The lesson of that, however, is that health and fitness are not part of everyday life (and computer use). Integrating fitness and learning, by encouraging people to walk (or at least stand), while using a computer may have greater long-term value.

      I wish you luck, though. Please post pictures if you do get a chance to install anything.

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  21. As of now there are a lot of treadmill desks or walking desks available in the market. But I am wondering if someone built a treadmill desk out of manual treadmills. I mean, it is cheaper and it has been used for many decades. Well anyway, an automatic treadmill is more easy to use and has many advance features that would fit in the workout scheme of individuals. Working out while doing your job is a great way to save time, this makes a treadmill desk very useful to busy people who have to stay at home for most of the time.

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