I'm going to tell you a little story right now about how I almost died. I've been writing this blog for 5 years. That means 5 years of sitting at a desk with my shoulders all hunched up and my head tilted forward and my legs dangling from a chair because contrary to what it looks like on the Internet, I'm actually about the size of a kidney bean. From sitting at a desk for 5 years my body has been all squinched and bent and mashed into a peculiar shape. I have blogger bod.
That's an actual photograph of me. I thought I was standing straight. A life of blogging means a lot of time spent at a desk writing, photoshopping, emailing advertisers and watching cat videos on YouTube. It's the same for anyone who spends a lot of time working at a desk.
My other home office improvement that's saved my sanity is painting an entire wall with whiteboard paint. I have a whiteboard wall.
I noticed 3 things after blogging for a few months. I'd gained 5 pounds, my muscles from the base of my neck to my shoulders were REALLY tight and I was getting constant headaches.
When things got really bad I'd lug all 3 pounds of my laptop downstairs (which was a great deal of effort for someone who now spent all day sitting), and I'd set it up on my kitchen counter so I could stand while I worked. My muscles instantly relaxed.
I looked into standing desks and then walking desks when they started to get popular but the cost of your average walking desk is $2,000. And they're HUGE. And with those desks your head is STILL tilted downwards if you're using a laptop which defeats the purpose of getting a walking desk if the point is to improve your posture.
So last January I changed my life by building my own walking desk for a mere $250 which included the price of the treadmill. That's right. Treadmill and all for $250! And here's how I did it. (don't worry a rundown of the instructions and materials will be at the end of the post)
For a walking desk you need a place for your keyboard and a place for your laptop or monitor. The monitor should be at eye level with your head in a neutral position. So, not tilted up or tilted down. The keyboard should be lower than you think. Most people think your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle but they should actually be lower than that in order for your shoulders to relax. So to set up your DIY walking desk all you have to do is install 2 shelves. One for your monitor and one for your keyboard.
The top shelf is a floating shelf that measures 24" wide by 2" thick by 10" deep. This is the size you need if you're going to put a monitor or laptop on it. It has the size and strength to hold your very expensive piece of computer equipment.
The bottom shelf holds your wireless keyboard, mouse pad (Apple track pad in this case) and drink. This shelf is a folding shelf made by attaching a shelf board to folding shelf brackets. That means if I want to fold the treadmill up and get it out of the way I just have to flip down the shelf and the treadmill can be folded up right where it is. More on that later.
So far all we have are 2 shelves on a wall, but add in the smallest, most portable treadmill available anywhere and you have a DIY walking desk for the total cost of $250. I spent a LOT of time figuring this out. I looked at small treadmills that just fit under your desk and I looked at getting a big used treadmill off of Kijiji.
Trust me when I tell you if you want to make a walking desk, especially for a small area this is the treadmill to buy. The Confidence Power Plus Treadmill clocks in at $199 with free shipping, is only 49" inches long and 24" wide at its widest part. They say it's useable for someone up to 250 pounds.
If you're in Canada the link might not work. If it doesn't, just click here and search "Confidence Power Plus Treadmill". The item is only sold in America but does ship to Canada.
It's a regular treadmill with everything you need in a walking desk treadmill. It monitors your speed, time, distance and calories burned. You can set whatever speed you want from a slow walk to a fast run. The speed range of the treadmill is from 0.6 m.p.h to 6.2 m.p.h. (that's around 1km per hour to 10 km per hour) That's the thing about this. It's an American product so it reads in Imperial, not metric. You have miles per hour for speed and miles for distance.
To full out run on the treadmill, you just have to fold down your folding desk to give you more room. If you don't want to do that and you have the space, you can just pull your treadmill away from the shelf a little bit to give yourself some room. Your floating shelf that holds your monitor stays put so you can continue to read (as if) or watch a TV show while you're running.
The other reason why installing a folding shelf is important if you have a small space is because you can fold the shelf down and then fold up the treadmill.
If you use the shelving sizes I recommend, everything will fold up into a 10" x 24" space.
Which leaves you all this space for filming your own YouTube cat videos.
DIY Walking Desk
24" x 14" x ⅝" Melamine Shelf (note you will have to cut 4" off of this shelf to make it 20" wide otherwise it won't fit in between the bars of the treadmill) You can also buy iron on edge tape to cover up your cut. I couldn't find a ⅝ths one on Amazon, this one is ¾" and would need to be cut down slightly to fit your ⅝ths shelf.
Confidence Power Plus Treadmill (If you're in Canada the link might not work. Just click here and type "Confidence Power Plus Treadmill in the search bar)
- Hang floating shelf on wall (according to package directions) so your computer screen will be eye level for you.
- Attach the floating shelf brackets to your melamine shelf and hang (according to package directions) at a level so your arms will be hanging slightly down when they reach the keyboard on it like you can see in the ergonomic diagram earlier in the post)
- Roll your treadmill into place.
Done. For Canadians it's cheaper to buy your shelf stuff online from Home Depot. You can get the floating shelf here and the folding brackets here. For your melamine shelf check out the Home Depot, Canadian Tire or Home Hardware. You may need to cut it to fit. If you DO cut your shelf to fit you can also buy iron on melamine edge tape to cover up your cuts.
The only thing you absolutely have to buy on Amazon is the actual Confidence Treadmill. Unlike when I bought it, they now ship the treadmill Canada! Everything else can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes. This treadmill is only available on American Amazon, so I ordered it from there with the free shipping and had it delivered to a CBI shipping address in the States for $6. Then I drove over to Buffalo to pick it up.
As soon as I got the treadmill home I set it up and was using it within a day. My headaches went away almost immediately, I lost those 5 pounds and my shoulders have sunk down from my ears to a more appropriate place. All 3 ailments resolved within a few weeks of using a Walking Desk.
I was so excited I almost died.
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I ordered the Treadmill yesterday morning and it was just like Karen said - $199 free shipping and it just arrived on my doorstep! Never got anything that fast! They must know I need it. I am not a blogger but I do spend a lot of time on the computer. It is all Pinterest fault! That's my story anyway. I had the same issues - neck and back pain, headaches - and I did the same thing. I set my tablet up on my kitchen bar and that did help but I also like to read in bed and I get a headache every night. I can't sleep on the treadmill- unless Karen can come up with a plan for that! but I think it will help with the other stuff and just not spending so much time sitting on my ass. Can't wait to take it out of the box!
OK I had no idea it would arrive THAT quickly, lol! Wow, that's fun. Lemme know how you like it! ~ karen
I looooooove this idea! I wish I could do this in my office. Unfortunately it's a shared office and it would be really weird. But I kind of still want to order this super cheap treadmill to try to make up for my 7 hours of sitting during the day. I don't walk very much anymore and I can't leave the house after I put the babe to bed. I really really want this. Merry Christmas to me??
It was MY Merry Christmas to me last year Sera! I ordered it right after Christmas and picked it up the beginning of January. :) ~ karen!
So that means that you've been using this for 11 months now?! For how much time per day? That's a pretty good treadmill for the money. Really. I want one.
Ohhh, I have been feeling my back, neck & shoulders aching more since re-opening my Etsy shop back in February. And that 5lbs found my ass too. I honestly don't know where I'd put it though. If I did it with the pc & got rid of the big desk - where would I put all the crap that's on it!? (Time for another 50 thing purge...) Fantastic idea.
I ordered the treadmill from your link! It's here already! However, the instructions with it for assembly are horrible. I've gotten the black rubber bumpers & 4 screws attached to the back of the treadmill, but I'm puzzling over what to do with the other screws and bits. Help!?!?!
Also, man this thing is light! I can lift it with one hand! Sweet!
Ok - the long bolt with the black handle is to secure the treadmill when I fold it up. The shortest thin bolt with the black knob is to "secure" the little control panel at preferred angle on the handlebars. I have one left over, no clue what it's purpose is!
Hi Mel! I'm sorry I didn't get your message until now. It was almost a year ago so I don't actually remember how I put the treadmill together! I don't remember it being a problem but it's entirely possible the design has changed since I ordered it. I don't even have a bolt to secure the treadmill when I fold it up. At least I don't think I do, lol! Maybe I was less tenacious than you and chucked that particular piece. ~ karen!
It's all good, I don't think it's essential. I got this because... oh this is almost ridiculous... I have a 2 & a half year old high-energy Australian Cattle Dog. He broke a toe. He's re-injured it zooming around like a fool at the dog park. And they say "El Nino is coming! The rains are coming!" and no one likes spending two hours in the rain on leash trying to tire out a dog to the point that he'll let one sleep through the night. We've only tried introducing it twice today but he's at least gotten all four paws up on it while it's running a couple times, and he's getting more confident getting front paws on. We'll get there! They are known for being stubborn and skeptical. I may be known for my patience, but I bet I can out stubborn him!
I just tried to order from Amazon.com and it said free shipping but when I was checking out, they would only offer standard shipping for $200. I'm so disappointed. Don't live near a border town.
You'll have to do what I did Kathleen. Order it and have it delivered to a delivery service place just across the border. For me, that was in Buffalo. About a 45 minute drive for me. WAY beats paying some insane delivery charge. Plus it gave me a chance to run to Target, lol. ~ karen!
Hi Karen. I'm thinking of setting one of these up in my cubicle at work and was wondering how well the treadmill has held up and if it's quiet enough to use in a shared work space. Thanks!
Hi Brenna! The treadmill has held up great. It isn't particularly loud but I'm not sure people would love you using it in a shared work space. Remember it does have a motor. I guess it depends on how bustling your office is. If it's very quiet then yes, it would probably bug people. But if not, it should be fine. ~ karen!
Several years on now, I came back to this post and I'm curious about how the treadmill has held up?
I looked up the treadmill on Amazon and there are several questions of customers asking how to keep it from stopping every 30 mins. Does yours stop at 30 mins?
I'm trying to find the perfect spot for a setup like this...working from home is definitely changing my body for the worse.
okay, well that's it, you've convinced me yet again, I have a treadmill that's in great condition and I never use it.....and I want to, darn it, I want to train again....so I'm building me a treadmill desk just like yours!!!! Thank you!!!!!!! My butt is going to look amazing.
Fantastic! I'm all for helping up with butts. ~ karen!
I discovered your blog while scouring the web for the leanest, meanest foldable walking desk setup on the market. And before I continue, I must confess that between your blog topic, writing style, and passion for sneaky deals and extremely detailed instructions, I have been left reconsidering if long-lost internet soulmates do, in fact, exist.
Anyway, words cannot express how much I appreciated this blog post. I live in a 325 square foot apartment in downtown Manhattan that I share with my 14-lb. dog and 6'4" fiance, so truly, I live by the slogan, "NO SQUARE INCH LEFT BEHIND!"
I'm nearly ready to pull the trigger on purchasing all of the walking desk setup materials you recommended, except one -- the treadmill. I keep running into the same issue with regard to the particular treadmill you listed, and I was hoping you might be able to assist.
Prior to buying the Confidence Power Plus Treadmill on Amazon, I combed through the detailed reviews and seller information for the current item for sale. My research led me to discover that this treadmill is currently only being sold by one particular seller, Shop247. (They are the sole seller fulfilling orders for this treadmill on several other sites as well, e.g., Walmart, NewEgg, eBay.)
The problem is that the reviews for Confidence Power Plus Treadmill purchases fulfilled by this seller have been extremely negative. It seems that they either selling a knockoff version of this treadmill, or some type of defective model.
I haven't been able to find any other treadmills that meet all of my criteria like this one does, but I'm reluctant to purchase this item from Shop247 given the negative feedback. Do you have any other recommendations for alternate models that fit the bill?
Thanks so much, and keep up the awesome content!! :)
Hi Meredith! Thanks so much, I'm glad you found me. Especially with your 325 square feet, lol. Although that IS 325 square feet in Manhattan soooooo it's an enviable 325 square feet. I haven't searched for another compact treadmill since finding things one. At the time it was the only one. What exactly are the bad reviews on the treadmill? If someone is expecting it to perform like a $1,500 treadmill then they will obviously be disappointed. Because it's a $100 treadmill, lol. BUT mine has done well and lasted but I mainly walk on it as opposed to running. I have run on it and it's fine but it has a short tread so you can't take huge strides. Like your boyfriend could definitely not run on it. My only suggestion is for you to buy it and if it ISN'T any good to try to return it or (more likely) sell it on Craigslist or Facebook. I know. Not much help. :/ ~ karen!
Meredith, I'm late to this party, but the Sunny brand has a great under desk treadmill for under $400. Check their website. :)