DIY Treadmill Desk in Four Steps (Picture Tutorial)Many of you may know I’ve used a treadmill desk for years now.

Not some fancy, expensive version, but a DIY treadmill desk I put together when I first decided I needed an outlet to both work and expend excess energy.

It requires zero tools and I guarantee you can put it together right now with things you have lying around your house.

You know what that means, right?

No excuses.

There is no reason you can’t add at least a little movement to your life immediately AND reap the professional benefits use of a treadmill desk (or other active workspaces).

(Bonus: If you keep trying unsuccessfully to add exercise to your daily routine, check out these no-fail tips).

My DIY Treadmill Desk

I’m pretty much addicted to my treadmill desk, and everyone around me knows it.

I don’t walk on it all the time (because that would be too much walking and my coach would be very angry at the “junk” activity), but I do find it’s very helpful for certain tasks:

  • Emails
  • Reading
  • Some writing and blog formatting (walking on it as I write this, in fact)
  • Thinking and brainstorming (I’m a great group brainstormer because I’m an external processor, but I struggle often to process things on my own, unless I have an activity to fuel and focus me)
  • Admin tasks that make me want to poke my eyes out with a white hot sword

I’ll also tend to walk on it more if I have a day where I really struggle to focus.

It helps me channel some of my restless energy into an activity so my brain can get on task.

Benefits of a DIY Treadmill Desk

Beyond satisfying my own neurosis, there are actual proven benefits of using a DIY treadmill desk, including:

As well as a variety of health benefits associated with all exercise and activity.

Have No Fear the DIY Treadmill Desk is Here

Many people rule out treadmill desks for one reason: Cost.

Most of the official “treadmill desks” on the market are fairly expensive.

They also feel like pretty big business expense for something that isn’t crucial for your success (although we could argue that point based on the research linked to above).

When I first built my treadmill desk, they weren’t popular yet.

I actually didn’t even know what I was doing, I just knew I needed some way to use up energy so I could focus while I worked.

I had been using the treadmill to read for a few years already so I thought, why not try.

The rest is history.

Step-by-step DIY Treadmill Desk

Now this DIY treadmill desk tutorial assumes one thing: You have a treadmill.

If you don’t, you can get low-cost treadmills a variety of places: Craigslist, Walmart, Play it Again Sports, Sears….to name a few.

I got mine off of Craigslist 10 years ago.

Ten years!

I bought it for $200 and it still works marvelously (watch it fall apart now).

The moral of this story is, don’t feel like you have to spend a ton on a treadmill.

It’s one thing if you are going to use it to run, but if you just need a walking treadmill, you can find something at a relatively low cost.

Once you have your treadmill you may proceed.

(Please excuse the drawer of books on my floor. I just recently moved and my office is still a work-in-progress.)

Step One

Wrap treadmill arms with some old sheets or towels.

This gives the eventual “desk” cushion and traction.

Plus it cuts transmission of vibration from the treadmill.

I wind the sheet around the arm and then duct tape it (because I’m classy like that).


DIY Treadmill Desk in Four Steps (Picture Tutorial)Step Two

Add another sheet on top and across. This simply adds more stability to the set-up and evens out any inconsistencies between the two sides.

DIY Treadmill Desk in Four Steps (Picture Tutorial)

Step Three

Add your desk.

This is nothing more than a piece of material that stretches across the arms.

Mine is an old bookcase shelf (because that’s what I had lying around the moment I decided to build the desk).

You can use a bookshelf, some finished plywood, a small baking sheet, whatever.

Just make sure it extends the length of the arms.

When you put it on top of your sheets it should fit snugly and not move.

You want to be able to press down pretty firmly on it and have it be secure.

Remember, your computer is eventually going to go up here, so you want it to be secure.

DIY Treadmill Desk in Four Steps (Picture Tutorial)

Step Four

Get organized.

What would you have on a regular desk?

Add that to your treadmill desk, too.

I have my computer and notebook, but also added a pen holder in one of the cup holders and keep necessary cords or headphones in the other one.

DIY Treadmill Desk in Four Steps (Picture Tutorial)

And that’s it! Your treadmill desk is complete!

Now hop on and get to work!

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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