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How to Choose the Right Treadmill For a Treadmill Desk – March 15, 2011

We get dozens of questions every week about treadmill desks or simply using treadmills while working in order to burn calories. The idea is to walk very slowly for a long period of time while you work. It won't get you a good cardio workout but it burns calories and it beats the alternative of sitting on your butt and beginning by looking like a human but slowly transforming in a shape that resembles a gourd.

Most people are getting a regular treadmill and then modifying the area around it to make it work. Some high end providers that are making the whole workstation are Steelcase (the office furniture company) and Woodway (a high-end provider of commercial treadmills). New to the fray is Landice who is making a treadmill desk accessory package that is very nice but all of these options are quite expensive. Some cheap alternatives are out there but the quality is less than that of a department store treadmill on the whole.

Treadmill Doctor provides a couple of important points to keep in mind when designing your workspace:

  1. Do not create a condition where you could be trapped. People have fallen when using a treadmill so always use the safety cord and don't build your desk where you could be trapped on top of a running treadmill if you forget to use the safety cord or if something malfunctions.
  2. When creating the work area make sure not to close the area around the motor off to a good circulation of air (more of this in the next point).
  3. Remember that low speed use for extended periods of time is the hardest on a treadmill. Most people think sprinting on a treadmill for 10 minutes daily really wears a treadmill out. That is not necessarily the case. We regularly see more problems on treadmills that are used at very low speeds for extended periods of time because little air circulates to cool the motor and electronics and the heat has a cumulative effect, causing component failure.
  4. It is important to keep the treadmill clean and also keep the belt well lubricated because dirt and friction are the two biggest causes of failure on machines used at low speeds for extended periods.
  5. We also suggest additional cooling. Whether you install a fan in the motor cover (what I would do personally) or simply have an external fan keeping the air circulated around the motor area, it will help the treadmill last years longer.

We hope this becomes a healthy habit for you and if you follow our recommendations you will have much more success from a reliability standpoint than if you just wing it.