This post originally appeared on the blog Paula’s Preschool and Kindergarten. 

It all started with a neighbor. One day I realized that my neighbor had lost a LOT of weight — about 50 pounds. My husband complimented him on it and found out that he had started using a treadmill desk at work. A what? Treadmill desk? This was just over a year ago, and I had never heard of such a thing. My husband was spending a great deal of time on his computer, and had been feeling the effects of sitting for long periods of time. After doing some research, he decided he really wanted to try a treadmill desk too.  Although they aren’t cheap, we decided that it was an investment in his health, and bought one. I’m so glad we did!

Fast forward to me closing my preschool and kindergarten, and spending more time sitting at the computer.  At first it was such a relief to be off my feet, instead of constantly moving about with a dozen kiddos! It was NOT such a relief to watch how my body changed in response, so I started “borrowing” Hubby’s treadmill desk. When we relocated recently, I got my own treadmill desk so I can use it all the time. For those of you who are thinking about it, or maybe who just know that you’re sitting too much and want to do something about it, I’m going to try to address the questions you might have about treadmill desks.

First of all, I have a LifeSpan desk. I haven’t tried any others, so I can only speak to my limited experience. (I’m writing this as a personal review, and am not being compensated for this post or for linking to LifeSpan.) The first thing most people ask about the treadmill desk, is how easy it is to work on the computer while walking. Believe it or not, it’s just fine! I really expected there to be some coordination challenges — I’m no klutz, but I’m also not the most graceful thing in the world.  🙂 What a great surprise it was to find that I can not only type while walking, but can do fine mouse work, and work with graphics. The Life Span desk has a built-in wrist rest, which is very comfortable, and resting my hands there steadies them for typing and mousing.

Some people ask how long I can stay walking. That’s an ever changing thing.  🙂 When I first started borrowing my husband’s desk, I easily did 30 – 45 minutes a couple of times a day. I set the speed to 1.5 mph, which feels like a nice strolling pace to me. Upon relocating in June, and really needing to get exercising, I started out with 4 – 5 hours total each day, at 1.8 mph. Some days that was pushing myself a little hard, and my knees would complain. I’ve since cut it back to 1.6 mph, but can do five hours in one day. That works out to about 10 miles of walking! I wish I had thought more about stretching my legs and resting them occasionally throughout the day when I started this! I’ve discovered that I feel a lot better if I stretch my legs throughout the day. Not just a quick excuse for a stretch either, but really giving each muscle group some attention. Why did I not realize there were muscles that hadn’t seen much work in a while?! I’ve definitely discovered a few that I didn’t remember.

Another thing I wish I had known — and I’m telling you — is that it is so worth it to get the adjustable height desk. Hubby’s is adjustable, but I’m…. frugal.  I really didn’t think it was worth the extra money to get the desk that electrically changes height. When hubby and I shared a desk, we definitely needed to adjust it up and down often, and that made sense. I thought that since it would be just me using this one, that I didn’t need that feature. Wrong! After several hours of walking, there are days I want to sit down to work for a while, but I can’t easily lower my desk. Solution?  A tall chair. Okay, don’t laugh at me… here’s what I rigged up:

That’s a piece of wood set over the treadmill, with a bar stool on it. Except I’m short, and so is the barstool… and it wasn’t comfortable. I put a ream of copy paper on the bar stool, with two chair cushions on top of that, and it’s now the correct height. I’m telling you, unless you want to move bar stools and boards around, get the desk that’s made to adjust electronically! Is anyone wondering about my two monitors? They are fabulous!  Not long ago I would have flat out refused to even consider using something like that, which is to say, messing with my technology so that I have to learn a new way to use it.  I wasn’t a technophobe… I just had a very specific skill set, and when you work with little children, everything has to happen 10 seconds ago.  There was never time to stop and think about how to turn something on, or how to get to what we needed.  (Teachers understand.) Now that I am working full time on my TeachersPayTeachers store, I’m using the computer in different ways, and learning a lot of new things. Super hubby set this up for me; the two monitors operate as one large desktop.  This is fantastic when I work on products, because I don’t have to toggle back and forth between windows, so I’m much more productive. Do you have any questions about using a treadmill desk?  Has anyone else considered it or tried it?  I’d love to hear your feedback, and if you have questions, I’d love to share my experiences with you!

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Paula's Preschool and KindergartenPaula Beckerman is a TpT Teacher-Author and early childhood educator who has been working with children since 1993. She believes learning is exciting, and loves to teach and learn with hands on activities. When she isn’t creating resources for TpT, she volunteers at her local library story time. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest, or visit her blog Paula’s Preschool and Kindergarten for more teaching ideas!