My treadmill desk office setup

I’ve been singing the prais­es of my new tread­mill desk set­up on Twit­ter recent­ly. My first full week in action, I noticed:

  • I logged 23 miles, with­out even think­ing about it. Wow!
  • I noticed great­ly improved focus and concentration.
  • I felt much more ener­getic, both while on the tread­mill and off. No more after­noon ener­gy slump!
  • My aching shoul­der and numb left arm (due to a bulging disk and pinched nerve in my neck) vir­tu­al­ly stopped their hurt­ing and tin­gling. Pain relief was an unex­pect­ed, but much appre­ci­at­ed, bonus.
  • Last but not least, walk-danc­ing to a great song on Pan­do­ra is much more fun (and bet­ter exer­cise) than chair-danc­ing! (I’m thank­ful I work at home, though, as this could be major­ly humil­i­at­ing in a more pub­lic space.)

Coin­ci­den­tal­ly (or not? maybe it was prompt­ed by my enthu­si­as­tic Tweets), a friend post­ed a link to Arthur Slade’s hilar­i­ous and inspir­ing post about his tread­mill desk set­up. Who knew there’s a whole move­ment out there? Thanks for unit­ing the Tread Heads, Arthur!
Any­way, a few of you have asked what my set­up is. Not being as handy, patient, or thrifty as Arthur and oth­ers are, I splurged for the instant-up store-bought solu­tion made by the good peo­ple at TrekDesk and put it on top of a Pro-Form 505 CST Tread­mill. It was super easy to assem­ble and set up. Here’s a look at the result:
TrekDesk straight-ahead view
The TrekDesk comes with a stur­dy met­al doc­u­ment hold­er, which serves as a lap­top hold­er in my set­up (above, on right). Then, I added a Plu­gable USB 2.0 Dock­ing Client and an extra mon­i­tor, rotat­ed to por­trait mode so I can see a whole man­u­script page at once, or a whole web page, or what­ev­er. I can’t image work­ing with­out a dual-mon­i­tor set­up, and the dock­ing client also allows me to grab my lap­top and go and come back again with­out deal­ing with tons of plugs, cables, and cords first.
TrekDesk treadmill desk side view
This all takes up quite bit of space, unfor­tu­nate­ly, so I had to move out of my tiny guest-room/of­fice and into the fam­i­ly room, which means head­phones are a must now that the kids are out of school for the sum­mer. And it means we need a new, small­er couch as the ancient behe­moth no longer fits. Darn.
So, I still have a few adjust­ments to make to the room, but I am lov­ing the desk itself and the new work­ing expe­ri­ence that comes from it.
I’d love to hear about your expe­ri­ences with or ques­tions about tread­mill desks. Does it, or would it, work for you? Why or why not?

12 thoughts on “My treadmill desk office setup”

    • Typ­ing is no prob­lem at all, nor is using the mouse. Some illus­tra­tors have asked me if they’d be able to draw on one, and I’m not an illus­tra­tor, but I think so. You walk so slow­ly that there’s no bounce or any­thing, and the height of the TrekDesk is ful­ly adjustable. I think it real­ly helps me main­tain bet­ter pos­ture while I’m work­ing and not hunch or slouch or rest my hands. You’re wel­come to come over and try it out some­time, Sam!

  1. What pace do you typ­i­cal­ly walk at (or is it just free-form)?
    Seems like it’d be hard to do pre­ci­sion draw­ing with it, though writ­ing, surf­ing, and the usu­al office apps would be fine. It would cer­tain­ly cure the bad habit I have with my stand­ing set­up: lean­ing heav­i­ly against the desk.

    • Yeah, I agree about the pre­ci­sion draw­ing prob­a­bly not work­ing. And I still catch myself lean­ing heav­i­ly some­times. I’m try­ing hard to not let it become a habit! 😉

  2. Thanks for post­ing and shar­ing your set­up Lau­rie! I got my tread­mill desk in mid-July. Have not had time to take any pho­tos yet. On dead­line with a revision…plus get­ting ready for our region­al con­fer­ence in a month. Plus, too busy tak­ing pho­tos of my gar­den. 🙂 which looks much bet­ter than a desk.

  3. Why dont you just go for a run like I do. I have been run­ning 12 miles a week get­ting ready for ski sea­son. Con­grat­ul­tions on the book.
    We had our first snow of the year today. Hope we get more soon so we can get the trails ready.

  4. Hi Lau­rie,
    Check­ing back to see how you’re doing with your tread­mill desk. I am curi­ous what speed you usu­al­ly set it at when you’re writ­ing. And also how long you tend to use it each day. Thanks!

    • Hi Mary,
      I haven’t been using it much for the last few months. I had thy­roid surgery, and then went hypothy­roid for a while, and I’m just start­ing to feel like I might have enough ener­gy for life, let alone exer­cise. So, the tread­mill has been col­lect­ing dust, but only because I’ve been phys­i­cal­ly unable to use it. With some new meds I think I’m start­ing to see some light at the end of the tun­nel, so I’m hop­ing to get back on soon!
      Up until the surgery, I was using it every day, usu­al­ly doing about 2 miles an hour, depend­ing on what kind of work I was doing. It seemed like I could go faster (2–3) if I was just doing email, Twit­ter, Face­book, blog­ging, cri­tiques, etc., but for draft­ing or seri­ous revi­sions I had to do 1 or even some­times 0.5 mph. Between mom duties, I would typ­i­cal­ly do 2 sol­id hours on the tread­mill, take a lunch break, then do 2 more sol­id hours. I might hop on for brief stints here and there at oth­er times before or after those blocks, or not. If I did, I might just work stand­ing up rather than doing any more walking.
      I lost a bunch of weight, which I’ve since gained back and more since the surgery. I felt great and was super pro­duc­tive. I’m hop­ing all of that comes back once I can start back up again.
      How about you? What have you found so far? Did you ever get pho­tos of your set­up post­ed? I’d love to see! 🙂


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