Walk While You Work: How to Build a Treadmill Desk

You've already heard the scary stats about how inactivity is shortening our lives and making us fatter, sicker and crankier. But what's a desk-jockey to do? We talked to a DIY expert—who also happens to have a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT—about how to build a treadmill desk. Check out the tips we got from Eric J. Wilhelm, founder of DIY website Instructables.com, and you'll be working it (and working out!) in no time.

More: 3 Ways to Stop Skipping Workouts

Discover four ways to sit less.

What you'll need:

A treadmill

Wood

Shelf brackets

Bolts

A saw, a drill and a tape measurer

How to do it:


1. Get a treadmill.

You can find new treadmills at your local sporting goods store, but Wilhelm recommends scanning Craigslist for deals on used exercise equipment. Face your treadmill to the wall. Although walking at about 1 mph (the speed Wilhelm recommends) won't cause too much of a stir, attaching some desk components to the wall could further help prevent your computer from crashing. Literally. What you can expect to pay for a used treadmill: less than $200.

More: A Guide to Buying Your Treadmill

2. Build your computer monitor shelf.

Measure the width of your treadmill, and make your shelf at least as wide as your treadmill. While standing on the machine, look horizontally across at the wall. This is where your shelf goes. Center your shelf over the treadmill, and use the brackets to mount the shelf against the wall.

3. Build your keyboard platform.

Measure the width of your treadmill, and measure and cut a wood plank accordingly. This plank will act as the horizontal platform where your keyboard will rest.

Make the platform legs as long as you see fit. To find out, stand on your treadmill and extend your arms as if you're typing. Grab a friend, and have her measure the distance from the bottom of the handrails to this height (where you'll type). Drill holes into the handrails, and bolt the vertical wood planks to them. Bolt the horizontal wood plank (the surface) to rest on these two vertical planks (the legs).

More: 5 Tips for a Better Treadmill Workout

A tip: Cover the treadmill with a plastic sheet to protect it from wood shards, Wilhelm says.

What you can expect to pay for the shelf and keyboard platform: about $30

4. All done! You're ready to walk and work.

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