DIY WALKING DESK FOR $250. AND THAT INCLUDES THE TREADMILL!

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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.

portrait

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.

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)

folding-shelf 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. idealtyping 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. waking-desk1

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.

Desktop

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.

walking

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.

 

working

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.

speed2

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.

folding-down-shelf

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.

table-down   folding-up-treadmill

If you use the shelving sizes I recommend, everything will fold up into a 10″ x 24″ space.

folded-up-treadmill

Which leaves you all this space for filming your own YouTube cat videos.

DIY Walking Desk

Materials

24″ x 10″ x 2″ floating shelf

Folding Shelf Brackets

24″ x 14″ x 5/8″ 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 5/8ths one on Amazon, this one is 3/4″ and would need to be cut down slightly to fit your 5/8ths 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)

Instructions

  1.  Hang floating shelf on wall (according to package directions) so your computer screen will be eye level for you.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.

 

treadmill-desk-pin

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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107 Comments

  1. kelli says:

    Fantastic idea, glad it works for you. For me, not so much. I haven’t tried a walking desk yet, BUT I tried a standing desk at work several months ago (IKEA is literally across the road from us). For over a month, I switched it up every couple hours, Standing then sitting; sitting then standing. But then had to shorten the switchup time. Why? Well, my ankles swole, my feet hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurt, and I was extremely unproductive (because in my head all I could think of was “ow ow ow ow ow”).

    Went back to a more or less “normal” office set up and my body went back to normal too. So does this mean I’m actually stuck in a permanent “blogger” shape?

  2. Jen Morris says:

    DUH, obv not possible when using a laptop. Ignore me, it’s been a long day.

  3. Jen Morris says:

    I love this! I’d actually wall mount the monitor for an even more streamlined look.

  4. Jessica says:

    Karen, I just can’t get used to your new site! You seem to have lost your homepage. As a regular reader it is not easy to tell what the latest post is. Without a homepage your SEO is up the wall, now when I Google ‘the art of doing stuff’ your homepage is nowhere to be found, it only navigates me to one of your dropdowns or your Pinterest site. Also, could not find a way to message you other than SM. Reader #teethingproblems.

    • Karen says:

      Ha. Nope, my home page is still here. But thanks for bringing it to my attention. Selina (from WayLay) changed some SEO thing and now we’re looking into changing it back because my Google referrals have dropped which I never would have thought to check if you hadn’t mentinoed it. Should be fixed soon. As far as where to look for the newest post go to the homepage (https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com) and the newest post will always be the first one of the small thumbnails. I’m going to try to keep the large initial post be a collection of something interesting. Like DIY Xmas gifts, or organizational tricks, or fave soup recipes … ~ karen!

  5. Patty says:

    Just ordered the treadmill. After your review and my own research it sounded perfect for my wants and needs. Thanks for the post!

    • Karen says:

      Excellent! I know you’ll like it. Especially in the winter when people seem to spend way more time sitting. ~ karen!

      • Patty says:

        Yes. MN gets ugly and I like to go at my own time and speed. No Mall walking for me. At home is the best option.

  6. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    My old dry eyes are reading this just fine…they are saying thank you for the gray…I like that small treadmill…I bet I could fit it somewhere in this little house…Unfortunately my car is dying and I don’t even have money to replace it…if I have to ride taxi’s I will be one grumpy ass old lady…Great idea anyhow Karen..My heart Doctor would love it if I had a set-up like that…..

  7. sj says:

    I don’t have plans to do this idea any time soon, but….after your reminder about how bad sitting is for you (especially for us seniors!) I immediately walked away from the laptop. I intended to do one thing, but that led to other activities, and 3 hrs later I was done and found myself on a walk–outside! Thank you, thank you, thank you :D

  8. izzy says:

    AMAZING AND BRILLIANT

  9. Stephanie says:

    This is brilliant and much easier than all the other DIY Walking Desk methods I’ve cruised online., which typically involve removing the treadmill handles and rewiring the controls to sit elsewhere, and then building a table thing over the end of the treadmill. Thanks for the genius easy version.

  10. Kim C says:

    Yup, Betty’s correct!
    I am going to try and incorporate a small shelf into my existing treadmill set up. Right now I have to bungee cord my tablet and small ipod speaker to the display. This shelf idea of yours is pure genius.
    Thanks again for all the time you put in to show us how easily things can get done when we just put your minds to work. :)

  11. Bonnie G. says:

    Karen, I have not been around for a while but I am glad to be here today! I do not write a blog but spend mucho time on my computer: reading my favorite blogs, shopping, researching, Facebook, etc. so what could be better than to keep moving while doing just that. You are a wise woman!
    As for Mindy’s hubby , his ego is stuck amid his technical expertise and the common sense to keep his lips zipped.

  12. Devra cooper says:

    I can read the black on grey on my iPad, but the pale orange hyperlinks … not so much.

    Love your idea … Wouldn’t feel guilty spending so much time sitting at desk googling, reading facebook, etc. if I’m standing and even walking at the same time.

    • Karen says:

      Plus for $250, no huge loss if you don’t use it. As opposed to a $1,500 treadmill! (I’m working on finding a better colour for the links) ~ karen!

  13. Marta says:

    Had to pin this one. Even if you exclude the treadmill, this is still brilliant. Love the fact that the “desk” folds back to the wall.

  14. Jennie Lee says:

    My 62-year-old eyes read the black letters just fine. It’s the yellow ones you use to emphasize certain things that are hard for me to see. IF you are able to change them to blue or burnt orange or something, it would be great. Hunching forward to read yellow letters is giving me “blogger bod”!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennie Lee! Yes, I’m going to change that colour. It’s really easy to read on a laptop but hard to see on an iphone or ipad. It’s surprisingly difficult to find a colour that works for all yet doesn’t offend my very delicate aesthetic sensibilities, lol. ~ karen!

  15. brenda says:

    This is freakin’ awesome! I just bought the treadmill on your recommendation….I’ll tell my hubby to suck it if he thinks:
    a) I wont use it or
    b) it’s a waste of $$$

  16. Tigersmom says:

    This is brilliant! Leave it to you to be tenacious enough to come up with and implement such a great solution.

    To your health!
    (That was me toasting your health with my coffee. I’m about as good at drinking alcohol as you are.)

  17. Mary says:

    Hi Karen,

    Lovely idea!! But if you only have one laptop, how can I put the keyboard on the lower shelf and screen on higher one??? I really can’t take apart the laptop?? or can I?? or am I missing something here?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary! Sorry, I’m assuming you know you need a wireless keyboard. You can buy a wireless keyboard like my Apple one for $64. It will work with an iPad or laptop. I’ll go update my post with that information now. :) ~ karen!

  18. Ev Wilcox says:

    Well, I guess my old eyes are not as old as I thought! I prefer the grey background! And still love the new font. When I am stea, I mean graciously copying recipes, I use a similar font, always!
    Your walking desk setup is great!

  19. Alice says:

    Here it is, says they ship to Canada: http://amzn.to/1SDPCHv

    Sorry, don’t know if that will be a live link or you’ll have to cut and paste into browser.

    • Alice says:

      I see it’s live. Hooray!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Alice! The issue is you can ONLY buy the treadmill on the American website. But when I link to it the reader is automatically taken to the Canadian site. Grr. That’s what’s causing all the confusion. Anyhow, I’ve added in instructions to the post on how to get around that. ~ karen!

  20. Kat says:

    This is absolutely fabulous Karen, you are a genius!!!! About your new look, I have old eyes and I do find your new site very soothing on them. (It took you long enough LOL) Now the only thing I would change about your set up with the treadmill would be to change the wall your using. If you put it on that wall where the electrical outlet is your cord is hidden and more importantly you could look outside once in awhile without having to turn around and go flying off the treadmill. Ones back should never be to a window. This small change would be a pain in the but as you would have to repair all the holes you just made and repaint the wall but the benefits of looking outside while working your butt off would give you so much more pleasure!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kat! Thanks. Glad to know. I don’t find the text difficult to read at all but clearly there are a few that do. The treadmill is best on the wall that it’s on for me. There’s a window to the right which you can’t see and it doesn’t stick out into the main part of the room which it would a little bit if it was placed the other way. That seemed like a really weird and long sentence. ~ karen!

      • Kat says:

        Perfect I am so glad about the window. I knew you should have known better and everyone knows if your happy we are happy!

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