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From My Desk To Yours: The Treadmill Desk

Keeping healthy as an author is tough. We're required to sit for long period of time and type, edit, and promote, all on our computer. Hands out in front, wrists bent, shoulders slumped, neck in one position for a long time — just thinking about it makes my back and neck ache. There's probably nothing worse for us, yet this is what we have to do, right?

Just this past year, I decided that if I was going to be writing as much as I had planned, I needed to do something about my health. My hands and shoulders were in constant pain and even though I was walking and going to the gym, it still wasn't enough exercise. So, I did two things, the first of which was purchase a treadmill and make a treadmill desk (the second is dictation which I'll write about again in another post soon).

A couple of other authors I know have been thinking about either purchasing a dedicated treadmill desk or turning their treadmill into a treadmill desk. There are some pros and cons to both of these approaches.

Dedicated Treadmill Desks

There are a few of these on the market. They have a special motor in it that's designed to go at the slow pace of working and walking. It's not bulky and has the desk already built into it. PRO: You buy it, put it together, BOOM you have your desk. CON: You can only use it for slow walking. No running.

Make Your Own Treadmill Desks

You already have a treadmill or you want a full treadmill because you also plan to run on it (or in my case, my husband runs on it). PRO: It has multiple functions, and if you already own one, then you're saving money! CON: You have to make your own desk and it's also possible you may burn out the motor at some point by walking slowly on it too much.

What I Did

So I went with the make your own option because my husband wanted to run on the treadmill too. We actually got reimbursed for some of the treadmill through our health insurance (crazy, right?), purchased it from Amazon, and put it together in one day over a weekend. I did all the research and decided on the LifeSpan 1200i Folding Treadmill. It has everything we wanted plus some good reviews, especially reviews that said it was easy to put together, which it was.

Once I had that going and set up, I went to IKEA, bought a shelving unit, and proceeded to jimmy up a desk. In the end, I also used an iCraze Adjustable Vented Laptop Table to put my computer up on the treadmill where I could see it. Then I purchased a wireless keyboard for my Mac, created a desk space with a shelf and yoga mat, and done!

I made this video so you can see how it's all put together.

I mainly use my treadmill desk for dictation. I walk and dictate my books at the same time, getting exercise while giving my hands a rest. I love it! I wrote almost my whole last book this way and it was a great thing for my hands. I'll come back in the next few weeks and talk about just dictation because I feel it's so important! Really, if you can add dictation to your arsenal of weapons, you'll be set for a lifetime of writing, and writing quickly too! 10k writing days will be easier and more common. Every author wants that! :)

Okay, if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them in the comments. If comments close on this in the future, you can use the link to the contact form at the top of the page. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

9 thoughts on “From My Desk To Yours: The Treadmill Desk”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been looking at all kinds of pre-made and homemade treadmill desks. almost ready to take the plunge!

    1. I’m super happy with our concoction. When I have long stints of writing planned, I definitely get on there and get dictating! It mostly happens in a first draft or when I’m writing big blog posts.

    1. I’m going slow, like 1.8mph, so I’m hoping I’ll just be bruised. The computer, on the other hand, would be toast. And I did say, “.. which would be awful, obviously..” Lol.

  2. Omg that sounds AMAZING!! I wish I could do dictation, but the truth is I suck at speaking and that’s why I write. XD So what I really wish, I suppose, is that I could just suck the dialogue right from my head and onto the page without messing it up typing. xDXD Ahem. But this is such a great way to keep active and keep on top of the workload. Plus I find moving around gets the ideas flowing? ;D Good on you for DIY-ing most of this too.

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. It took a long time for me to train myself how to speak what I wanted to write instead of just typing it. But once you get the hang of it, it’s much easier on your whole body. I would dictate a few chapters and feel just fine afterward, whereas typing those chapters would drain me to the point of needing to sleep. It almost feels like cheating sometimes! And it’s a skill definitely worth learning.

  3. It sounds weird to walk and work at the same time, but walking and dictating does sound like a good way to give your arms and hands a break. It is cool you managed to make your own treadmill desk and save some money that way and can use it for running as well.
    Somedays I do fine even if I sit all day behind the computer, but other days even an hour fo work can already have my neck and shoulders hurting, I guess it depends on what kind of work I do and how I sit. I do try to be conscious of how I sit and try and relax and take breaks now and then.

    1. Breaks are definitely a good idea. I take a lot of them too, and I rarely sit at my desk for longer than 90 minutes at a time. I used to be able to sit for longer and get more work done without my body protesting but that was my 20s and early 30s. Lol. My body doesn’t hack it anymore.

      Walking and working has been a godsend to me! I finally feel good about getting a lot of work done in one day because I’m not being lazy! It’s a hack for my mind as well as my body.

  4. Pingback: How Not To Give A F*ck – Exercise – S. J. Pajonas

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S. J. Pajonas