A Treadmill Desk Buyer’s Guide!
by Fred Waters
(Powell, TN USA)
I’ve been working in the fitness equipment industry for over 17 years and I have seen fads come and go. Does anyone remember the ThighMaster and Suzanne Sommers? We’ll when the first treadmill desks started hitting the market, my initial thought was, “you’ve got to be kidding!” Who is going to walk on a treadmill while they are working? Well I apparently lacked foresight because treadmill desks are one of the hottest items in the treadmill industry. And now that I have reflected on their appeal, it makes sense for a number of reasons.
First, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work and if we can also incorporate some time of exercise it would be beneficial to our health and well being. There have been a number of articles out recently that reveal the potential health problems that arise from sitting for extended periods of time. They include heart disease, colon cancer, muscle degeneration, poor leg circulation, disk damage, reduced brain function, over productive pancreases – this is the short list!
There are two markets for treadmill desks. First, there are companies that are buying them for their employees. The pay back is healthier employees with potentially less medical problems and reduced stress levels. Second, are self-employed individuals that work from home and want the benefit of getting a cardio workout at their desk.
Initially treadmill desks were jerry rigged machines that were treadmills with a makeshift desks mounted to the console. However, over the last several years a number of companies started building treadmill with desks. These treadmill desks are designed primarily for walking, because obviously it can be a bit difficult to work as you are running.
Considerations Before You Purchase a Treadmill Desk…
Can you actually do your work as you are walking?
There are some tasks such as talking on the phone that can be done while you walk, but can you type while you walk. If you are shooting out some brief emails, possibly, but I am not sure I could write this article as I walk. Although maybe with practice.
Can you transfer your work space from a treadmill desk to a regular desk?
You’re probably not going to walk for an entire workday, so can you easily move your desk items back and forth to a regular desk. Obviously, if you are using a desktop computer it could be difficult to move. Recently NordicTrack came out with a treadmill desk that can be used for walking, but also allows the deck to be folded forward and replaced with a chair. See the NordicTrack Desk Treadmill Review. (Link to http://www.treadmill-ratings-reviews.com/models/nordictrackdesktreadmill.html)
Also realize that walking slowing on a treadmill desk will not provide the kind of cardio workout that you may need to lose weight and get back into shape. Granted, it is better than just sitting all day. But if you want to burn calories and tone up you need to do some serious cardio exertion, combined with weight bearing exercises.
There are three treadmill desk configurations...
• There are companies that sell desks that sit over a treadmill in front of the console. The problem is that they push you back on the treadmill deck and you have the potential of walking off the end of the treadmill.
• You can buy a treadmill deck with a small portable console that sits on your own desk.
• You can buy a treadmill that is specifically designed with a desk. The controls for the treadmill are built into the desk.
Treadmill Desk Features to Consider…
First off, you will be walking slowing on a treadmill desk so you don’t need a heavy duty running machine. That said, you want...
• A moderate size motor that will be relatively quiet. I would not get a motor with less than 2.0 Continuous Duty HP.
• A moderate size walking length and width. Since you won’t be taking big stride lengths you can get buy with a walking length less than 60” unless you’re Yao Ming.
• A sturdy desk that can be adjusted. You want a desk that has some weight to it and feel rather stable. That is one of the advantages of having a treadmill with an attached desk.
• Adequate shock absorption. It is important to get a treadmill that will do a sufficient job of reducing the impact to your joints. Cheap models can often be too bouncy and result in a bounce back that can create a minor jolt.
• A decent warranty. You want a treadmill desk that has at least one year parts and labor coverage. Anything less suggests it is not built to last.
In conclusion, I was initially wrong about the practicality of treadmill desks. They make sense in overcoming the health hazards of sitting at a desk all day long. And the growing number of new models being released indicates their popularity. If you sit at a desk for extended periods of time and are concerned about the risk factors a treadmill desk may make sense for you.
Fred Waters is a recognized authority on fitness equipment. You can read his reviews on treadmills and specifically treadmill desks at www.Treadmill-Ratings-Reviews.com (Please link to http://www.treadmill-ratings-reviews).
Note to editor: Treadmill desks are one of the hottest items in fitness equipment right now. I'm sure your audience would be interested in this article.