What Is A Treadmill Desk? Plus, Why They’re So Popular!

If you’re wondering, “what is a treadmill desk?”, as well as finding out why they’re growing in popularity, then join the queue! Get the low down on the features and purpose of walking workstations in this very article.

This guide will bring you through the need to know facts about these products along with the types of treadmill workstations available along with why you would buy one and whether they are any good at introducing fitness into you daily life.

There are a myriad of reasons why people are spending longer in sedentary positions. From longer working hours to family responsibilities and a lack of time to exercise or take breaks, the list goes on. It’s no wonder workplace interventions, such as desk treadmills are growing in prevalence both at home and work.

So, you can essentially get paid to get fit?

That’s right!

Read on to discover exactly what a walking desk is, why walking desks are so prevalent in the home and off and whether this would be the best active workstation option for you.

I also discuss the differences between an under desk treadmill and a treadmill workstation.

Plus, get your customary tips and tricks in this article which you won’t find anywhere else.

Did you know? Treadmill desks have been shown to offer greater physiological improvement when compared with standing desks. But also achieving minimal impact on work performance. Source

What Is A Treadmill Desk? - Woman walking on Sunny ASUNA Treadpad Slim Under Desk Treadmill 20740

What is a treadmill desk?

A treadmill desk encompasses a treadmill that fits underneath a desk which the user walks on while working at their desk. Treadmill workstations are generally purchased by users who wish to reduce the amount of time they spend in a sedentary seated position. People also purchase them to increase energy expenditure which can lead to weight loss while they work. The desk treadmill is an efficient way of increasing your activity and fitness levels from the comfort of your home or office.

Some under desk treadmills are even capable of allowing users to complete a workout; several under desk treadmills can reach speeds of up to 8 miles. They are designed to promote gentle to moderate bodily movement and increase circulation by allowing you to pedal while you are in a sedentary seated position. Under desk treadmills also tend to be smaller than a standard treadmill; they are less likely to be as effective at allowing users to achieve an intense workout compared with standard treadmills.

What is the purpose of a treadmill desk?

The treadmill desk is designed to fit under a standing desk and encourages a light to moderate level of walking intensity while you are at your desk. This ultimately enables you to minimize the amount of time spent sitting at a desk in a sedentary position; furthermore, it can prevent the onset of sitting disease. It also allows users to increase their steps count and encourages an active sitting system and allows you to increase energy expenditure and encourage blood circulation as opposed to just sitting still.

The extra movement contributes to weight loss, increase blood flow, increase energy levels, and it can also contribute to your activity levels throughout the day. These are not as intense as a full treadmill and are less effective at building toning since they don’t generally have an incline function. However, for people who are relatively inactive or looking to simply increase activity, treadmill desks can be a valuable device.

According to juststand.org, people are spending more time than ever in a seated position.

On average, people spend 13 hours in a sedentary position, that’s more than half of the entire day!

Who are treadmill desks suitable for?

Treadmill desks can be used by practically anyone with the mobility to walk. This means that they can be shared with other members of your home or office.

Examples of people that treadmill desks are suitable for include:

  1. children tall enough and mature enough to use it safely
  2. teenagers while gaming or studying
  3. adults while working or standing at a desk
  4. elderly people seeking light exercise
  5. people who want to increase their step count or NEAT
  6. people who want to spend less time sitting
  7. individuals who want to exercise while completing stationery duties
  8. fitness fanatics who want to exercise without leaving their house or office
  9. people under approximately 265 pounds in weight

Most desk treadmills don’t recommend a minimum or maximum height of person that they are suited to since walking desks tend to be a one size fits all item.

However, you will need to ensure the under desk treadmill compliments your height while standing at an existing sit-stand desk. I covered this in how to buy a treadmill desk.

Types of treadmill desks

Treadmill desks typically fit into 2 main categories:

1. Under desk treadmill: Includes only the treadmill which is designed to be positioned under an existing standing desk.

2. Treadmill workstation: This includes both a treadmill and a desk. This option may also be referred to as an integrated treadmill desk.

Both options grant you the freedom of active sitting; however, it’s best to opt for a product that meets your requirements as opposed to choosing a walking desk that covers both sitting and standing.

What is the difference between an under desk treadmill and a treadmill workstation?

The under desk treadmill includes only the treadmill; you’ll need to supply a standing desk yourself.

The treadmill workstation comprises of both an under desk treadmill along with a standing desk.

The advantage of an integrated desk workstation is that you are almost guaranteed that the treadmill will fit properly under the standing desk.

The under desk treadmill will obviously cost less than a treadmill workstation as you won’t have to pay for a standing desk.

Under desk treadmill

Treadmill workstation

Desk included






Shipping cost



What is the difference between an under desk treadmill and a regular treadmill?

The under desk treadmill is relatively similar to a standard treadmill. However, it lacks the control panel, handles and water bottle holder that comes with a regular treadmill. This is necessary to allow the treadmill to fit under the desk.

For this reason, the digital monitor for tracking activity is embedded at the front of the running belt. A remote control is sometimes provided to easily adjust the settings and speed while you walk.

Under desk treadmills also tend to consume a smaller footprint than your standard treadmill. The average width of a treadmill is approximately 35 inches wide and has an average length of 77 inches.

In comparison, an under desk treadmill range around 24.84 inches wide and 55.92 inches long. In addition, since the control panel is embedded in the base of the under desk treadmill and since they tend to lack handles, the footprint and height is much lower as well.

Tip: Some desk treadmills can even be folded in half or have the handles folded for more compact storage.

Features on a treadmill desk

Treadmill Digital Monitor:

Digital monitors are located on the base of the under desk treadmill. This means that you need to look down to see current speed distance, time and calories burnt.

Digital monitors display your speed, distance time and calories burnt (which I’d take with a grain of salt).

Treadmill Remote Control:

Some standing desk treadmills come equipped with a remote control to enable easy adjusting of the treadmill settings.

The more advanced treadmills, such as the iMovR ThermoTread GT Office Treadmill Base comes equipped with a console which you can position on your desk for easy viewing and controlling.

Treadmill Handle:

In order for the treadmill to fit under the desk, the handle is either not provided or it has a foldable handle. The handle can then be used to support yourself when the treadmill is not used at the stand-up desk.

Foldable Treadmill:

Some treadmills can be folded for more compact storage.

Treadmill Wheels:

Most under desk treadmills include wheels which enables them to be easily wheeled from under your desk when you want to sit down. It also allows for easy storage, especially if it’s a compact treadmill.

Plus, the wheels make it so much easier to move across a room, instead of hauling it around.

It’s also extremely useful to have wheels when you are trying to position the walking treadmill in respect to your desk since you might need to maneuver the treadmill around a few inches to find the perfect spot.

Treadmill Bluetooth Compatible:

Some walking desk treadmills have an app that allows you to track your performance and activity levels while you walk. However, Bluetooth and app compatibility on a walking desk is still fairly scarce yet.

The only product I have found with this functionality is the Walkingpad C2 Folding Treadmill which features a KS Fit app; it enables you to monitor your daily strolling metrics so you can track your steps, calories burned, distance and minutes.

Can you use a treadmill desk all day?

While some people suggest that they use their under desk treadmill for the whole day with ease, regular breaks from walking should also be incorporated into your daily routine. A walking treadmill is probably one of the most active types of active workstations available, therefore, there should be scheduled rest periods where you sit and alternate from walking.

Tip: Adjusting your posture every 20 – 30 minutes or so is recommended to promote blood flow.

What activities can I do at a treadmill desk?

Desk treadmills are stereotypically associated with working at an office or on a computer. However, there are other tasks that people can complete while using a walking desk.

It makes sense to use it for as many tasks as possible so that you are not confined to merely treadmilling during work or study. Not everybody who wants to use a treadmill desk necessarily has a job or works at a computer.

Plus, if others in the house wish to increase their steps or reduce their sedentary period, they will need some inspiration regarding what to do to entertain/occupy themselves when they use a treadmill desk without boring themselves to tears on it.

So, what other things can I do at a walking desk?

Alternative activities that you can complete at a treadmill desk include:

  • working or studying at a desk
  • watching TV
  • while chatting to people
  • listening to music
  • on their own in a room
  • looking at your phone/tablet
  • reading a book or the newspaper
  • light gaming

Lighter activities tend to be more suited to walking on a desk treadmill since it requires less effort when your body and brain are already slightly distracted with the act of walking.

Consuming content is easier than creating content while using a walking standing desk

Consume content while you clock up your steps, e.g., reading, internet browsing, answering the phone, watching TV.

So, instead of scheduling intense typing sessions or reviewing and signing important written documents (and squiggling helplessly all over it), try scheduling these tasks for a period when you are taking a break from walking on the under desk treadmill.

What muscles do walking desks use?

The body regions targeted by using a walking desk include:

  1. Glutes
  2. Quadriceps
  3. Hamstrings
  4. Ankles
  5. Calves


Walking desks are a type of active workstation which are growing in popularity. In terms of offering movement, they are one of the best types of exercising workstations available. So, if you want to get you out of your chair at your home or office, or even increase your movement at your standing desk, walking desks are an excellent way of introducing multiple postures.

Whether you’re aiming to increase movement
into an otherwise sedentary stance, to efficiently get your steps in while you work or even perform an indoor workout, desk treadmill workstations can undoubtedly make your life better!

If you’re eager to introduce activity into your workday, study, gaming or whatever stagnant activity you perform, then walking desks are only one of a range of means to get moving.

I have been actively researching the various ways to introduce motion to my sedentary desk life for the past few years. Below are what I have looked into so far in order of preference:

  1. Standing desk converters
  2. Ergonomic chairs
  3. Standing desks
  4. Kneeling chairs
  5. Standing desk chairs
  6. Anti-fatigue mats
  7. Balance boards

My personal favorite products so far are the 

  1. Sunny treadpad slim under desk treadmill 20740 
  2. Sunny Portable Stand Up Elliptical
  3. Ergotron WorkFit-LX 
  4. CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair.

My aim with this website is to help you on all matters related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any questions or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them!


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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