Make your own walking treadmill desk and be healthier at work

PremierFit DW70 office walking treadmill review

I remember seeing some shocking headlines a few years ago about our sedentary work lives – ‘sitting is the new smoking’ they read.  Of course we all know sitting for long periods of time isn’t really good for us, but I don’t think we all realised quite how much of a negative impact it had on our lives.

Earlier this year I suffered a six week agonising sacroiliac joint injury, which I believe was unrelated to sitting all day and caused by some unusual strain I put on my back in another way, but still, I don’t believe sitting down all day at a regular chair did any favours.  After suffering this injury and upon recommendation from an osteopath I visited I purchased a kneeling chair.  These chairs are great as they tilt you forwards allowing the spine to be properly aligned instead of slumped.  When sitting on a normal chair the spine becomes slumped at the lower back and unhealthy pressure is put on to it.

A kneeling chair:

Make your own walking treadmill desk and be healthier at work

How many hours do you sit each day?

Considering most people sit nearly all day, this is not good.  I bet if you have an office job you are sat for most of the day.  I always bring this up to my husband who commutes by car to work (sitting down), works at a desk all day (sitting down) and then commutes home (sitting down) and then relaxes on the sofa once home (sitting/lying down)!  Our bodies were not made for all this sitting!  Sure, we go to the gym a few times a week, but I really don’t believe it’s enough to counter the sheer volume of hours we are sat.

It’s not just my husband, but I am guilty too.  Some days, when I don’t go to the gym, my only exercise is the school runs!  Oh and cleaning the house and tidying up after the kids!  Still, I’m usually sat working for up to eight hours a day.  I was using my kneeling chair so I could be assured that my back was in a better position, but I was still sedentary.

Could you switch to a standing desk?

I know at my husband’s work there is the option of standing desks, but I think it’s really only the people with back issues who opt for these.  I think he’d feel embarrassed to stand at one, but I know if I still worked there (I used to work at the same place) then I’d definitely ask for one to safeguard my health.  I’d not wait until my back gives in to pluck up the courage to ask for one.

Even better than a standing desk is the walking treadmill desk!  I had wanted my own at home for a while, but thought it was going to be a big investment.  I’d seen some for around £1000 and I just couldn’t afford this, especially when I didn’t know if it was a good investment – what if I couldn’t manage to walk and type at the same time?!  I couldn’t throw £1000 down the drain.

Recently I have been getting so sick of sitting all day that I decided to see if I could make my own treadmill desk and I found I could for a much cheaper price.  I was also able to use my own desk and customise it with removable items so it’s not permanent.  I can still choose to sit at my desk if I want to.

Why not make your own treadmill desk for £213?

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So it’s only day three of me using my treadmill desk and I think it’s going well!  I am walking as I type this.  I managed to find a cool rising and adjustable laptop stand on eBay for £13!  It’s not totally solid and has a little wobble, but that might just be the angle I have it at which is pretty high!  I think I’ll get my husband to make me some blocks for it so I can change the angles to something sturdier, but still have it high.  I still need it slightly higher, but for now it is the same height as if I were sat at my desk.  There are more rising laptop desk options available for nearer £100, so I might still invest in one of these in the future.

I bought a PremierFit under desk walking treadmill for £199.99 off eBay and it seems great so far.  It has wheels at one end so it’s easy to lift from one end and manoeuvre.  It makes a slight noise when walking on it, but I’m sure it’s no louder than the semi-professional running treadmill I used to own.  When I step off I can’t hear the belt running at all, but it does make a noise when I’m on it.  It’s quieter than I thought it would be though.

It was really quick to set up, simply plug the dashboard in, plug the power in and go!  The only functionality it’s missing that I’d like is a pause button.  There’s start and stop, but not pause.  So if I want to stand for a bit and stop walking I have to stop altogether which means the counters reset.   Not so much of a biggie, but it would be nice to pause and then carry on so at the end of the day I can see my total distance walked, calories and time, etc.

I was worried for £200 it was going to be really awful, but it’s absolutely fine.  I couldn’t find any reviews online so had to just guess it was going to be OK!  But for £200 and not £1000 I decided it was a risk worth taking. It does the job, it’s not too loud and it saved me a fortune on a one-piece treadmill desk.  It’s also flexible as it can be placed under any desk, worktop or table to create your own walking workstation and it can be moved out of the way when not being used.

What’s it like to walk and type?

Walking and typing was really strange at first, but I’m surprised I got used to it really quickly, within say half hour or so.  I think it’s more just finding the speed you are comfortable walking at and being able to concentrate and type at the same time.  Right now I have it on 2km per hour and that’s great for writing long blog posts.  For reading or emails then I can do 2-3km and for checking things on my phone then I can crank it up to 4.5km.

I swear this machine is accidentally going at miles per hour though or my gym ones are not fast enough. At the gym I can speed walk 7mph quite comfortably, but on this one I have to start running when set to 7kmph!

Whilst 2km per hour may not sound like much, it’s better than nothing and nothing is exactly how many km I was walking when I was sat at my desk!  Even if I only walk for half of my working day, then that’s 8km walked compared to nothing before.  It’s definitely got to be worth it.

Walking is the new sitting!

Read these next:

How to make life less stressful as a working mum

4 tips to create a healthy and motivating home office

Tips to stay healthy when you work from home

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