My Proud Accomplishment: A DIY Treadmill Desk

I did it! I built myself a treadmill desk for less than $200.00!  And half of that cost was in the sturdy keyboard tray I decided was necessary for my ergonomic keyboard (since I can’t type decently on anything else anymore).

This project started when I read an article about how people who sat at desks all day were developing all kinds of health problems.  To counteract this, a couple of innovative companies offered the option of a treadmill desk where you can walk and work at the same time.  I love to walk and I own a treadmill so I decided this was a no-brainer for me.

Except the treadmill desks you could buy ready-made cost thousands of dollars (and probably wouldn’t fit my treadmill).

Since I’m the daughter of an engineer I decided I would build one myself.  In fact, I loved the do-it-yourself projects my father and I used to work on  together when I was young.  My problem is I don’t have the same array of tools at my disposal as my dad does.  Fortunately, there’s Home Depot where they will cut your materials for you.

So I studied my treadmill, measured it from all angles, and came up with a design.  Then I trekked off to Home Depot with my list of materials in hand and came home with these:

Tread desk materials

Four fence posts, a shelf meant for a closet, four rolling castors, and a bunch of screws.  (My plan was to do this low-cost to see if I really liked it before I invested in more upscale materials.)  The keyboard tray had to be ordered because no one local had one that I thought would hold up to my pounding.

With the help of my Handsome Husband, I got the fence posts attached to the closet shelf.  Next I had to put the keyboard tray track on sideways because my closet shelf was so shallow, but voila! I am now the proud owner of a treadmill desk.

Tread desk w couch

Tread desk top

Not only will I get lots of exercise while I’m writing, but I will feel the glow of accomplishment only a DIYer gets to bask in. (Another bonus: the treadmill is in the basement which is blissfully cool in this scorching weather.)


9 responses to “My Proud Accomplishment: A DIY Treadmill Desk

  1. A man I work with has built himself a treadmill desk and has lost 30 or more pounds!

  2. Miriam, I can only hope I do half as well as your colleague!

  3. You are so clever, Nancy! I’m a DIY kind of gal myself. Don’t you just feel awesome when you accomplish a project like this? Enjoy your new toy!

  4. Oh my gosh, Nancy. I want to build my own too! Guess I better get a treadmill first. Smart thinking.

  5. I’m so going to build my own treadmill desk! As soon as the treadmill arrives, that is… Thanks for a fun read 🙂

  6. I am impressed. I love the concept. Any hints about what works best and what to avoid? Measurements for the desk? Height? Etc.

    • Grace, I had to build it around my treadmill so that dictated the height and width. The pros’ recommendation is to have the keyboard at a height that allows you to type with roughly a 90 degree angle at your elbow. That’s why I had to get a keyboard tray to drop down below the desk height. Also make sure the desk is shallow enough that you don’t stride off the back end of the treadmill. I plan to make mine even shallower when I do a more polished version (this one was kind of a rough draft to see if I would really use and enjoy it–and I do!) Also, walk slowly! I am able to walk faster than 1.2 miles an hour and still type but it eventually started bothering my back. Evidently, that’s because at higher speeds I have to work harder to hold my upper body still enough to type accurately while my lower body is moving freely. That creates tension; hence, the back issue. Hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

  7. Where did you buy the keyboard tray? What is the brand and model? Has it stood the test of time?

    • Dear Joy,
      I bought the keyboard tray from Amazon. Here’s the model and description: 3M Knob Adjust Keyboard Tray, Standard Platform with Antimicrobial Gel Wrist Rest and Precise Mouse Pad, 17-inch Track, Black (AKT60LE). It cost about $95. Yes, it has stood up just fine to my usage, although I haven’t used it so much recently. I really need to get back on the treadmill. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me!

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