Can a Treadmill Desk Make You Smarter and More Productive?

(Last Updated On: August 29, 2017)

Top Reasons Why You Should Ditch Your Office Chair

Tired-woman-at-desk_optThere’s a good chance many people who read this will be standing nervously by the end of the article.  I know I was…

Every day, more scientists are talking about the negative side effects of sitting hour after hour, day after day.  In fact, the World Health Organization lists physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for death.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can compromise metabolic health and put you at much higher risk for some pretty terrifying health risks.

A report in Scientific American cited 18 studies over a period of 16 years covering 800,000 people and concluded that, “Americans sit for most of their waking hours, 13 hours every day on average.”

One of the main reasons that people sit too much is because they are shackled to a desk at work.  Here are some health risks associated with long days in a desk chair…

The 8 Health Risks of Sitting at a Desk All Day

  1. Cardiovascular Disease – Those who sit for long periods of time are more likely to have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.  In fact, comparing those who sat the most with those who sat the least found a 147% greater chance of having a cardiac event and a 90% greater chance of death as a result of a cardiac event.
  2. Diabetes – Sitting at your desk all day long can cause an over-active pancreas that produces too much insulin. This results in a 112% greater chance of developing diabetes.
  3. Cancer – Prolonged sitting is linked to colon cancer. The reasons are unclear but scientists hypothesize that excess insulin leads to accelerated cell growth.  They also question whether regular movement boosts natural antioxidants which kill cancer causing free radicals.  The American Institute for Cancer Research found in 2012 that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 casts of colon cancer in the US could be linked to inactivity.
  4. girls-back-1541461-640x480Muscle Degeneration – There’s a good reason that teachers always told us not to slouch at our desk. Poor posture while working can lead to mushy abdominal muscles, tight hip flexors (a leading cause of falls for the elderly) and limp glute muscles.
  5. Poor Leg Circulation – If you’re concerned about the look of your legs, then perhaps you should think about your sitting habits. Prolonged sitting at a desk job or while watching Netflix marathons can cause swollen ankles, varicose veins and blood clots in your legs.
  6. Bone Strength and Alignment– Regular movement stimulates bones to grow stronger, denser, and thicker. Sedentary bodies have softer bones.  Plus, poor posture at your desk can cause strained cervical vertebrae in your neck.
  7. brain-001-1172516-639x394Decreased Brain Power – Sitting even negatively affects your brain! Moving your muscles pumps fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and triggers the release of mood enhancing chemicals.  Scientists have found that regular exercise and movement can help the elderly live longer and happier lives.
  8. Back Pain – As you can image, sitting all day long isn’t good for your back either. Besides sore shoulders from over-extended back and shoulder muscles, you can also damage your spinal disks.  These soft disks between your vertebrae normally expand and contract to soak up fresh blood and nutrients.  When we sit, they are compressed unevenly and collagen hardens around your tendons and ligaments.  People who sit more are at greater risk for herniated lumbar disks.

Overall, people who sit the most compared to those who sit the least are at a 49% greater chance of death from ANY cause.  That’s a statistic to make you stand up and take notice!

How a Treadmill Desk Can Help You Avoid Pain and Disease

nordictrackdesktreadmillDr. James Levine first proposed the idea of a treadmill desk back in 2014.  He shared, “that people who use the desks are slimmer, are less stressed, and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol.”

Your brain will benefit from a treadmill desk too.

Dr. Levine wrote, “When we sit down, our mind becomes lazy, just like our body.  This is especially true during the low circadian rhythm hours in the early afternoon.  When we are moving, those mental lulls, those energy lows, are mitigated because of the increased oxygen pumping through our bodies and into our brains which comes from exercise.”


NordicTrack Treadmill Desk

A treadmill desk can be the perfect solution to keep your body moving, mind alert, and avoid all of the awful effects of sitting day after day.  Instead of sitting, you’ll walk along slowly while you take phone calls, work on projects, and ponder the challenges of your daily job.

In the course of one week, a treadmill desk will help you walk up to 30 additional miles.  That will equal some serious calories burned!

When you’re looking for a treadmill desk, it’s important that you find one that has a spacious work surface to be practical, electronic connectivity, convenient speed control, and adequate cushioning.  Plus, you’ll want the walking surface to be wide enough that you can stroll along while concentrating on your work without worrying about stepping off the side.

LifeSpan TR800 DT3

LifeSpan TR800 DT3  Slip this model under an existing table.

Some treadmill desks have powerful motors and can reach speeds of 8.0 MPH so they would easily work as a running treadmill during your work breaks.  Others are limited to just a few miles per hour.

There are also different desk configurations available.  Some models are able to convert between a standing and sitting desk by using a fold-away treadmill surface.  Or, you can opt to buy a treadmill that slips under an existing desk or table that you have at home.

Here at, we’ve tested out and studied several types of treadmill desks from different brands.  Here is our current list of treadmill desk reviews:

Top Recommendations:

LifeSpan TR800 DT5

LifeSpan TR800 DT5

NordicTrack Treadmill Desk Platinum ($1,999) – Our top treadmill desk recommendation.  Converts between a sitting and walking desk with 3.0 CHP motor, 10% incline, 60” length, and iFit Live fitness tracking capability.

NordicTrack Treadmill Desk ($999) – This is a great low price for sitting or walking hybrid machine, 2.6 CHP motor, 55” belt length, and iFit compatibility.

Life Fitness Treadmill Desk ($4,599) – The quality of Life Fitness machines is about as good as you can get, but the price may be restrictive to some.

Additional Reviews:

LifeSpan TR800 DT3 and DT5 ($699-1,099) – Use an 18×53” surface and 4.0 MPH speed limit.  Choose from a desktop or desktop-free model.

LifeSpan TR1200 DT3, DT5, and DT7 ($999-1,499) – Based on the popular LifeSpan TR1200i treadmill.  Choose from three different configurations with a 4.0 MPH speed limitation.

LifeSpan TR5000 DT3, DT5, and DT7 ($1,499-1,999) – A 20×50” walking surface and choice of two different desk sizes.  The DT3 is a desktop free model that can slip under your table.