In recent years, standing desks have grown in popularity, and naturally, treadmill desks came next. If you’re reading this, you might want to sit for a minute.
While standing desks can be a great way to incorporate movement in your daily work environment, treadmill desks may put you at a greater risk of injury.
In this post, I’ll explain the safety hurdles of treadmill desks, and how you can use them properly.
Reasons to avoid a treadmill desk
Aside from safety issues, most users are unable to complete their usual tasks with a treadmill desk. If you use your hands a lot, sitting desks have actually been proven to increase your fine motor skills.
Other safety reasons include
- Higher risk of falling
- Increased force on the hands for balance
- Not adjustable
- Not ergonomically fit for hand placement
- Awkward posture when reading text
How to do work with a treadmill desk?
If you would like to incorporate a treadmill desk into your home office, think about it like driving a car. In a car, you wouldn’t dare use your phone or computer while driving, but you might use a hands free device.
Here are a few ideas that might make a treadmill desk work for you.
- Use the desk for video calls or hands free calling
- Keep your head and neck in neutral
- Eyes should be level with the top bar of the screen
- Always have a grab bar for safety
- Use speech recognition software
- Have a second desk with a keyboard and mouse
If you’re using a treadmill desk, you might be tempted to use your phone or type on the computer. To avoid injury, it’s best to keep those items out of reach.
Having a secondary sitting area can be helpful for any activities involving your hands. If you prefer a standing desk, use one with padding for your feet. While standing is important, there can also be risks associated with it. Read this article from Harvard that goes in more detail.
The best treadmill desk setup
You can spend thousands of dollars on a treadmill desk, but I would recommend buying a treadmill with a separate adjustable desk. The desk should be large enough for a good viewing angle. Read my other post on monitor setups here.
I would recommend buying a treadmill with a top bar and mount a rail to the table. If you use a treadmill without a top bar, you can mount a rail on the table. Just be sure to keep the desk mounted to the floor or wall.
The best speech recognition software
If you still want a treadmill desk, I recommend using a good voice recognition software.
You can use voice recognition on your phone, tablet, or computer. One of the easiest ways to start using voice recognition is to use the software already built into a Mac called “voice control”.
You can also use voice control for the iphone.
If you become more serious about voice recognition or you don’t use a Mac, I recommend purchasing dragon voice dictation. It’s the best voice dictation software you can find.
Also be sure to use a hands free device to make voice recognition software work even better.
I love the idea of adding movement in our daily work routines, but I think it would be even better if we found more opportunities to get up and take a walk. Imagine if every office encouraged 10 minute walking breaks every 2 hours.
It would probably motivate us all to walk more after work, rather than laying on the couch.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’d like to have a consultation or learn how you can improve your home office ergonomics, visit my other page here.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.