A few days ago I overheard a friend talking about a treadmill desk she made herself.  She works a lot on the computer and has found this to be a good way to get some exercise in.  I was intrigued and began an internet search to see if I could make one for myself. There are a lot of ideas out there. My requirements were that it be functional, inexpensive and removable. I’m not the only one who uses our treadmill, so it needs to be quick and easy to remove and set up. I have a couple volunteer projects I’m working on that require a lot of computer time. Why not get some steps in while I work?DIY Treadmill desk on a budget. Exercise while working!

We already had the treadmill and a desk with folding legs. I removed the drop down shelf where the keyboard would go. After consulting with the sales person at home depot, I bought a 10 foot 1″ pipe for about $6. He cut it for me to the measurement I wanted. I also bought rubber caps to put on the bottom of the pipe. I did have to use a metal file to smooth out the burrs on the inside of the pipe from cutting. This was easy and only took me a few minutes. I put the caps on the bottom of the pipes and slid the legs of the desk into the top of the pipes. Instant treadmill desk. I also set up a fan to help me stay cool.

Other ideas on the internet have used pvc pipe.  That was my original plan when I went to Home Depot.  However, the salesman said the metal pipe would give me more stability and it was much less expensive than I expected.  It has the added benefit of blending in better with the color of my desk.  My desk is also a little on the heavy side.  I think that helps with stability also.  You could also use a folding table from Walmart or Amazon.   Others have attached a desk directly to their treadmill.  Mine has a curved bar in the front, so that would not work for me.

To make this project, you will need:

  • Treadmill
  • Table or Desk
  • Pipe
  • Rubber Caps
  • (optional – electrical tape)
  1. Measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of where you want your desk to be.  Consider the height you need to clear the treadmill arms, etc.  Also, you want the desk to be at a comfortable height for typing.  You don’t want to have to hunch your shoulders or bend forward. Be as exact in your measurements as possible.   20160517_091406
  2. Find your desk.  My desk has legs that curve.  Only 10 inches would actually go into my extension pipes.  If you choose a table like the one from Walmart, much more of the legs will go into the pipes.
  3. Measure how much height your desk provides not counting the part that will go into the pipes.
  4. Subtract that measurement from the total you need from step 1.Treadmill Desk
  5. Measure the width of the legs of your desk/table.  Be exact!  If it is lightweight, take it with you to the store.
  6. Go to the hardware store and locate the pipes.  Mine were in the plumbing section.  Find the size of pipe that provides the snuggest fit that your desk leg will fit into.  (You will need to remove any caps on the end of your desk legs.)  If there is a a gap, you can also wrap the leg with some electrical tape to provide a better fit.  Less wiggle room = sturdier desk.
  7. The home center will likely cut your pipes the size you need for free.  If you prefer, you can cut them yourself with a pipe cutter.  You may need to use a metal file to file off the burs on the inside of your pipe that result from the cutting process.  They are not a problem as long as they do not interfere with inserting your desk legs.
  8. Slide the rubber caps onto the bottom of the pipes.  I used a 1 inch pipe.  The caps that fit were 1 1/4 inch.
  9. Assembly is easier with 2 people.  My son held the desk up over the treadmill while I slid the pipes onto the legs.

So far I’m very happy with it. I walk slowly so I can still type and use the mouse, but even at 1.5-1.8 miles per hour, the steps add up.
I’m not bored.
I’m accomplishing the work I have to do on the computer.
I’m eating less and drinking more water.
It’s easy to remove if I want to run or another family member wants to use it.
I can just hit pause when I need to do something else in the house and then resume when I am back.
For under $10, I’ve created a way to get exercise in while getting other work done.