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DIY Treadmill Desk |

Walking 10,000 Steps


I recently wrote and article Walking 10,000 Steps A Day For A Healthy Lifestyle.  So in efforts to improve my health, I committed myself to walking 10,000 steps each and every day!

10,000 steps may seem like a lot of steps and truthfully, it is…but with some simple lifestyle changes you can slip 10,000 steps right into your routine!

So how did I do this?  With a custom built treadmill desk.

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What Is A Treadmill Desk?


Treadmill desk what???  Alright, lets talk about how many of us just don’t move enough.  So much has changed over the years and quite frankly we are not moving enough.

I recently purchased a Jawbone Up to record my activity and I was shocked that I wasn’t moving enough. I am an active person…but I also sit at a desk to work for 6-8 hours a day.

Studies show that just by finding ways to move more you can dramatically improve your health.  So in efforts to move more I began to research and stumbled upon a treadmill desk.

A treadmill desk is a desk that is attached to a treadmill which gives you the ability to work while you walk on the treadmill.

Move More By Walking


What is better, sitting or moving?  Moving of course!  With a treadmill desk you do not move fast at all, instead you walk at a slow pace of 1.2-2.0 miles per hour so that you can still continue to work.

So I do my first 3 hours of working just walking a normal, slow 2.0/mile pace on my treadmill desk. That is 6 extra miles that I walk a day now (2 miles per hour) that I wasn’t getting before.  That is 42 extra miles a week (6 miles extra a day x 7 days a week) that I am moving!  Wow, right?

I can easily work standing up rather than sitting on my bum and burn calories and earn steps while working.  I hit my 10,000 steps for the day just by working in the morning on my treadmill desk and I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day!

Don’t work from a desk in the day?  No problem…watch your evening shows while walking with the treadmill desk.  You can watch just about anything these days on the computer, so instead of sitting on the couch, watch from your computer while walking on your treadmill.

The Benefits of Walking


There are so many health benefits when walking is added to your daily routine.  Here are just a few:

  • Weight loss
  • Maintaing an ideal weight
  • Prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure and and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your muscles and bones
  • Helps in balancing hormones and lifting your mood
  • Saves money from gym memberships
  • Helps improve your sex life
  • Reduces your chances of stroke 
  • Can reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life (source)

So with all these healthy benefits, makes you want to walk more right?  So lets move on to how to build an inexpensive treadmill desk.

How To Build A Treadmill Desk


So when I researched treadmill desks, I was shocked how expensive they were.  So I went on a mission to build my own.  Many of the instructions required you to drill holes into the treadmill and I did not want to do that. 

The other important element was that I wanted the treadmill desk to be easily removable so I could run on it when I desired to.  I use my treadmill a ton in the winter months in Wisconsin when it is below 0ºF.

So I stumbled upon this website, Think Space, and altered the instructions slightly.  Could it really be this easy to build your own treadmill desk??  Yep, it sure can be! 

DIY Treadmill Desk |

Here is what you will need.  This will fit a standard size treadmill.

  • (1) Wood Shelf ~ 11.8″ D x 35.8″ W (find this at a local home improvement store)  At my store they came in maple and cherry color.  In the picture above it is maple color.  This board cost under $10.
  • (4) Screw Eyes ~ 3-1/2″ with 5/16″ Thread
  • (2) Bungee Cords ~ 24 inches
  • Drill and 15 minutes time

Drill two holes into both sides of the shelf (as pictured below) and screw in the screw eyes.  Do this to both sides.

DIY Treadmill Desk |

Place the shelf onto the treadmill (as pictured below) and attach the bungee cords (on the underside of the board) from one side to the other and attaching them to the hooks.  The desk should be securely attached and shouldn’t move at all and be tightly in place.

Place your computer on the desk and start walking at a slow pace.  Remember, it isn’t about speed, you have to be able to work as you move.  Try walking 1.3-2.0 MPH.  I walk for 3 hours in the morning.  I would be sitting for 3 hours so instead I just walk at a slow and steady pace.

You will be amazed how this little change can dramatically improve your health and also help with losing weight!  That’s it, easy right?  How do you get in extra steps?

DIY Treadmill Desk |



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Join the Conversation

31 thoughts on “How To Build A Treadmill Desk For Under $20!”

  1. Alice Birchfield says:


  2. Wassauce_Farooq says:

    Love this. So much simpler than those other DIY treadmill desk instructions online.

  3. Dave Haupert says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. My treadmill’s support bars have a slant to it and I used some molding and a 2×4 to create a lip at the front to balance it out. I also only needed one bungee cord as there was a cross beam to keep it from sliding forward. Very stable, and now very level. I have logged about 12 hours in the last 4 days of working on there, and found myself just as productive as I am while sitting, so thank you so much!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      So glad it worked! Great job on logging 12 hours in 4 days! Impressive…

  4. Chris K. says:

    Thank YOU! I have been talking about this with my friends and on my blog a bit. This is a great solution! I think I even have almost the same treadmill. Will be transforming my treadmill this week and will share!

    I actually worked in the Cardiology department of a major university medical school and hospital system and practically begged for a treadmill desk in my office for years. Happily I am doing what I love now but sitting more than ever before (because I love it so much). Being a former personal trainer and pretty fit person, I am always telling people to move more. Now I will too!!

    Thanks again.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Let me know how it turns out! I love mine!

  5. Iris says:

    Your instructions and idea were perfect. I am so glad to have found your post. I created my treadmill desk for $7.50 – $4.99 for an ikea shelf, $1.20 for the screw eyes and I already had bungees! My treadmill’s arms have a slight angle so I will add a lip to prevent things from sliding off. So simple and easy!

    My one pressing question for you – does your jawbone UP count your steps while you are on your treadmill desk? Any tricks to having it do so? I walked for an hour and a half yesterday and it only got 150 steps, I guess because my arms were resting?

    Thanks for the great idea, my studying habits just got a whole lot healthier!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      No the jawbone up will not record the steps when walking on Treadmill Desk. This was my workaround for that. Tie the Up band to your shoelace. It will record every step!

  6. ray cooper says:

    I have that exact treadmill, and I find that that shelf is way too low for an adult,

    check out my website and you can see my version of it, no charge, but I would appreciate



    ps i do 3-7 miles per day, AT WORK WHILE ON THE PHONE!!!

    best of luck to all, it will change your life, it’s been over a year now, almost, without missing a single day!!

  7. Alex says:

    Just built mine yesterday. Had $30 in store credit at Lowes. There’s still $12 available. This was so simple and brilliant. I wish I had done this 2 years ago when I started working from home. Thank you SO much. My next project is going to build a something cheap so I can attach a monitor to the top of the treadmill control panel so I can look straight instead of a downward angle. If you have any ideas for this, I would love to hear it.


  8. Deb says:

    You are a genius! This worked perfectly….thank you so much!!!!

  9. Beatrice Burlie says:

    This can also be done with duct tape if you don’t have time or money to get the buggies and the hardware. :)

  10. Beatrice Burlie says:

    or if you need it to come off easily, I just tried with enough bungies to go all the way around without the hardware and it worked great. yes the bungie is a little in the way but I just slid it to the back :)

  11. Michelle S says:

    I wish I could get my treadmill into my place of work!!!! Can’t wait to put this together! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      You are so welcome.

  12. Amy Littrell says:

    This is fabulous! I’ve looked for an easy way to set up a treadmill desk for so long, I can’t believe how easy your solution was! I did put an inexpensive shelf on top of the first shelf so I could use a separate keyboard because the movement of the treadmill seemed to make my laptop keyboard a little wonky, but this probably wouldn’t have been necessary with a different type of laptop.

  13. Daniel says:

    Very smart. But how stable is it?

  14. Lynn says:

    Can’t wait to make this for my new treadmill. I work from home and I want to start increasing my steps! Thanks for the advice!

  15. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the instructions! My treadmill’s arms have a slight angle, too, so I added rubber discs on the underside of the shelf to elevate and add grip. I also added a sheet of nonslip shelf liner to the top of the shelf for added stability.

    1. My TM also has angled arms and I’m trying to figure out the best way to deal with that. What do you mean by “rubber discs”? Where did you get them and how did you attach them?


      1. Rachel says:

        I used Magic Sliders Round Grippers (, which are self-stick. I stacked them under the shelf with the adhesive paper protector on until the shelf was relatively level, then marked their position on the shelf and stuck the discs together and to the underside of the shelf. The adhesive seems to be strong enough to hold its own without any additional glue, particularly since the weight of the shelf and computer with added pressure from the bungee cords pushes the shelf down onto the treadmill arms, but I imagine you could reinforce the setup with Gorilla Glue if you are worried about the discs falling off. I ended up using four discs on each side, but your mileage may vary based on the angle of your treadmill’s arms.

  16. lissy says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Pqark says:

    Love this idea!! Been looking for a way to do this so simple I don’t even have to ask my husband to do it for me! Great job, thanks for passing it along!

  18. Chan says:

    I WAH and sit all day.I have a dektop. If someoen finds a solution to how we can do this with a desktop, please share. I try to walk as much as I can during my off time but it’s not enough. I thought about buying a stand up workstation. Maybe after

    1. Janice says:

      You could possibly mount the monitor on a wall and then use the treadmill desktop for your mouse and keyboard. I’m going to give it a try tomorrow. I work from home and have 2 iMacs. I am scared that the desk will not be stable enough to support them.

  19. Nicole says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! My treadmill has a crossbar, so I [non-professional builder] decided to go with $7 (5′) of Velcro (as opposed to the drilling & bungee cords). It’s holding up well so far! The bars are also a bit slanted, but my laptop’s built-in grip-feet have had no troubles doing their job so far. I may put up a safety block up, but for now I just avoid leaving my laptop on the desk unsupervised.

    Thanks again!

  20. Kim Cano says:

    I’ve been wanting a treadmill desk since two of my author friends got one but didn’t want to spend $1,200.00 on the model they purchased. Now I’m walking and writing at the same time. Thanks so much. :)

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      So happy this worked for you!

  21. Kara says:

    This is amazing! I sit at my computer all day and only get in like 4,000 steps a day when I run in the evening. I can’t wait to fashion this desk and get started!

  22. Nancy says:

    Thanks so much. My Dad helped me make this today, and it was inexpensive and easy. The shelf is perfect for my NordicTrack and it feels great to be able to walk slowly while getting some work done.

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