Authors and entrepreneurs are busy people. We sit every day for many hours to write, blog, email, or plan our next project. We hustle, and we love entrepreneurship because it’s fun. We create intellectual assets and build our businesses. There’s just one problem. We sit too much and it’s hurting us. Consider building a treadmill desk to improve your health, creativity, and productivity.

The life of an entrepreneur can be sedentary. Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death.

treadmill desk sitting

We sit too much and it’s killing us.

What can entrepreneurs do to get more activity into our daily routines?

Answer: Build a treadmill desk.

With a treadmill desk, you can spend part of your day walking while you work. Need to take a phone call or send a bunch of emails? Walk while you work.

Why is a treadmill desk better than a traditional sitting desk? Studies show that our brains get more creative as we engage in physical activity. In fact, one Stanford study saw creative output increased by an average of 60% when participants walked. Since entrepreneurs spend a lot of time using our brainpower, walk-working is an ideal way to squeeze even more productivity out of the day.

How do you build a treadmill desk?
I built a treadmill desk a few years ago and share my approach in case this is helpful for you. After researching articles, I decided my treadmill desk setup must meet the following requirements:

1) Must be a quality treadmill that can handle several hours of walking per day and last for years.
2) I didn’t want to spend a fortune.
3) Must be able to use it for walking but not have to move my computer if I felt tired and wanted to sit.

Treadmill desk

Me hard at work on my treadmill desk.

Step 1: Buy a stand-up desk or use an existing sitting desk.

When I decided I wanted a treadmill desk, I had already bought a nice desk. It was pricey, and I didn’t want to donate it and it was too late to return it.

So, I improvised and decided to find a flat treadmill that would fit underneath my desk. Then, I would boost the height by buying a varidesk which you can place on a flat surface to turn any desk into a stand-up desk.

Step 2: Measure and buy your treadmill.

For my existing desk, I measured the width between the legs to determine how wide my treadmill should be. Then, I shopped for flat treadmills on Amazon and looked at the specs to see how long the treadmill was.

I also measured the depth of my desk to be sure the treadmill would be long enough to accommodate the desk. Be sure to place yourself where you will be walking. Try to visualize your setup and measure it out on your floor.

Step 3: Buy a stand-up desk or stand-up riser.*

Lastly, I bought a stand-up desk riser from varidesk. I recommend varidesk because it is well-designed and durablesolution. The risers are adjustable, so with a lever, I can easily pull it up or down.

When I get tired, but I don’t feel like moving my computer, mouse, etc. I adjust the varidesk down and use an exercise ball that I place on the treadmill so I can sit and continue to work.

I bought a few other accessories including a computer monitor stand so that it reached eye-level. I also bought an adjustable laptop stand so I could place my laptop upright and move it easily.

Once you build your treadmill desk, then you must learn how to use it. There’s an adjustment period. You should start small and use it an hour at a time to start. Don’t try walking five miles on your first day using it or you could end up pretty sore and tired.

Use trial and error to discover what speed works best for you. I like using 2 miles per hour if I’m watching a webinar or reading. If I’m typing or doing emails, I lower my speed to 1.5 mph. For some reason, I can’t work on spreadsheets or do detailed work while I’m walking. That’s when I’ll stop the machine and stand or sit.

Enjoy your treadmill desk and impress your friends when they come over. It’s fun to show off on your treadmill desk when you’re on a video call. You’ll be the envy of everyone stuck sitting.

You should expect an increase in your energy and productivity after using your treadmill desk consistently. Use a fitbit or other step tracking device to measure your progress over time.

After you build your treadmill desk, you’ll find it hard to go back to a traditional desk.

What do you think? Have you tried a treadmill desk? Share your experience in the comments below.

*Note you could buy a stand-up desk to go over your treadmill. I would have done this had I not already bought a sitting desk. I suspect that most people want to transform an existing sitting desk rather than buy something new.