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.)

No comments yet to My Proud Accomplishment: A DIY Treadmill Desk

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

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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.

  • Joy

    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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