Stuff We Love: The LifeSpan Treadmill Desk

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Here at dailySpark, we've talked a lot about the pitfalls of sitting. Whether you have a sedentary job, sit through lectures as a student, or do your share of commuting or couch surfing, the research is clear about spending too much time on your rear: It’s bad for your health, your back and your waistline. And while it may be surprising (even a little depressing), these facts hold true even if you are a consistent exerciser. (Boo!) After all, even an hour or two in the gym can still mean 22-23 hours a day that you're not active at all, and it's those long periods of inactivity that can increase your cholesterol, contribute to weight gain and contribute to chronic pain for many people.
I've previously blogged about my own attempts to counter the effects of my desk job, from creating a standing workstation to sitting on a ball to trying more back-friendly chairs. So when our friends at Best Buy offered to send us a treadmill desk to test, we jumped—er, walked—at the chance.
Best Buy sent us the LifeSpan TR 1200DT Desktop Treadmill, which we set up in an empty cube at the office so that all employees who wanted to try working from their feet instead of their butts would have an equal chance to use it. So what's it like to work while you walk? Check out our video review, then hear from our other testers and get more details on this walking station.
To watch me working from the treadmill desk and see how it works, check out the video below.

If you couldn't tell from the footage above, I adore this treadmill desk. I actually wish I had one all to myself that I didn't have to share! For me, working from the treadmill desk was easy and effortless. I'm naturally a very fidgety person who has a hard time sitting still. I suffer from back  pain and general body discomfort when sitting even a couple of hours. The treadmill desk is a great solution for me. I'm able to do anything and everything in my workday, from writing blogs (like this one!) to answering my emails, talking on the phone, and editing articles for while I stand and walk. While all of our testers enjoyed standing at the treadmill desk or walking with it, a few felt a little uncoordinated about walking while working—kind of in a rubbing your belly while patting your head kind of way. Here's what a few of our other testers had to say:
"I love it. I have been aiming for two hours at a time a few times a week at a pace of 2.5-3.0 mph. (I’m a fast walker naturally.) It has tremendously reduced my low back pain throughout the day, helped me battled afternoon fatigue, and allowed me to squeeze in cardio no matter how heavy my workload. Can we have another one?" – Stepfanie, SparkPeople Editor (pictured left)

"I’ve used the treadmill desk three times now, and I love the boost of energy it gives me in the middle of a work day! However, I do find that I have trouble focusing on writing-related tasks while I’m walking on it. Otherwise, I think it’s a great way to sneak some extra movement into the day, and I’d definitely recommend using it during reading or other non-writing tasks." –Melinda, SparkPeople Editorial Assistant

"I love the treadmill desk.  When I’m in the right state of mind and ready to move while I’m getting work done, it is a wonderful alternative.  At times I have also stopped the treadmill and used it simply as a standing desk.  I do find that certain types of work are easier to do while walking.  Some kinds, especially intense thinking an analyzing not good while in motion (for me).  I’m sure this sort of thing varies a lot person to person, however." – Paul, SparkPeople Programmer

"I used it yesterday and walked for an hour.  The time flew by and I was able to get a good amount of work done while burning calories.  I liked it.  I was actually surprised how easy it was to walk and work at the same time.  I don't think I'd be able to run and work, but walking and working was fine." – Sean, SparkPeople Sales and Marketing
"I thought the treadmill desk was a really nice set-up overall, and could definitely see myself using it a lot for certain tasks. While I don’t think (at least initially) I’d be able to do a lot of typing and very involved work while on it, I did find that by simply going back and forth between walking (really slow) and just using it as a standing desk, I was still able to be quite productive while not just sitting at my desk!" – Tim, SparkPeople Marketing
We've all found the treadmill desk easy to set-up, adjust and use. It adjusts up to 4 mph, which is a very brisk walking pace even for fit individuals. The only downside to me is that I can't also use this treadmill for running (for fitness) in addition to using it as a walking workstation (during the workday). But the point of using the treadmill desk isn't necessarily to walk so fast that you're huffing and puffing at work (although you could). The idea is simply to get on your feet, increase your steps and be more active throughout the day, as even a slow walk has numerous health and calorie-burning benefits compared to sitting. Outside of working, you can also set up your computer and watch movies, play games, or surf the web to reduce your sedentary time, making it a great addition not just to office environments, but for your home.
The Life Span Treadmill desk gets two thumbs up from SparkPeople's employees and fitness experts! Just imagine if every office in America provided these to their workers. We'd save countless dollars on healthcare, reduce widespread obesity and its health complications, and probably have a much happier and more productive workforce!
Jealous of SparkPeople's treadmill desk? You can purchase your own from (a healthy way to spend your tax return!) or select Best Buy stores that have "Health Technology" departments, which are full of health and fitness gadgets and have specially-trained employees on staff that can explain how to use all the cool technological products. And stay tuned: We'll be giving away one of these awesome treadmill desks on April 13, courtesy of LifeSpan! Special thanks again to our friends at Best Buy for sending us the treadmill desk for free!

Treadmill image courtesy of
Would you use a treadmill desk for work/school/fun if you had one? How do you squeeze more steps or activity into your workdays?

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we have this at our office in a conference room...we now use a sign up sheet due to its popularity. absolutely love it! Report
The cost alone leaves it out of my price range. I'm with DKWP614, her treadmill desk is just as effective, and the cost is miniscule compared to the Lifespan. Granted, a person would have to already own a treadmill, but they're much less expensive. There are videos on youtube which show how to construct your own desk, even if you have a manual treadmill (which is what I have). Report
I work from home, and while there are times I can get up and stretch, there are other times I feel almost tethered to my laptop. I find myself often changing my sitting position throughout the day to find something that's comfortable for me, for that point in the day. A walking treadmill would definitely take that away, while allowing me to remain AT my desk to get my work done. Report
We love ours at our office...several us fight over using it, so I know how you feel Coach Nicole! Could not imagine going back to a full time sit down desk it helps with my back pain, I am still using my roller at night but the reduced pain has helped on my weekend warrior runs. Report
I'm not sure how much this costs (the Best Buy website was down for maintenance when I looked), but I'm sure it's a lot more than the $16 solution I created! About two years ago, I built a desk to attach to my treadmill out of a 1/4" piece of wood and thin foam sheets from the craft store. I used velcro straps to attach it to the arms of my treadmill so that it is removable when I want to fold up the treadmill to vacuum underneath it. I've been writing, reading, watching films and just about everything computer with it while I walk ever since! It's an excellent solution for keeping me moving more regularly - and at $16 in materials - it's an easy choice to make!! I have a photo of it on my spark page, if anyone is interested in seeing how it turned out. Report
I had seen this concept before and loved it. Didn't see a need to buy it when I already had a treadmill so I found a long, thin box i put across the handlebars that hold my laptop and phone perfectly and doesn't interfere with my walking. Also had my husband build me a simple, tall table that I use for my stationary bike. Cheap solutions that do the trick! Report
We lugged our treadmill to my husband's office several years ago, and he rigged it to his desk. Unfortunately his job requires tiny movements with his hands, and it didn't work too well, but he loved it when he could do it! It's a brilliant idea. Report
Omg... WANT!!! As soon as I move to a bigger office, this bad boy is mine. :) Report
My husband saw this and made a desk for our treadmill at home. Now the treadmill gets used daily instead of just getting in the way. I'll admit our home-made desk is not as nice as this one, but we couldn't let a perfectly good treadmill go to waste. Report
One of these would be nice. I have a desk job currently and although I hit the gym immediately after work everyday, sitting this much is driving me nuts. Walking isn't really a workout, but moving would keep me awake and attentive so much better. Do want. Report
I would LOVE to have one of these!!! A good portion of my planning time is spent sitting...and I HATE to sit still!! I find myself forcing myself to get up and move around. I could definitely multi-task while getting in some extra fitness! WANT!!! :-) Report
I spend way to much time surfing the net but if I could walk while doing it? I would have a win-win world. I am wondering if I can rig a table to my existing treadmill?
I love this idea of working and moving! Report
I work out of my house and would certainly use this walking work desk while on the computer, reading, watching TV, etc. I have a conventional treadmill in my living room now and can only watch TV or listen to music. I would not power walk on this new one because it does not have side bars to hang onto (always concerned I will fly off the back when going at 4 mph or faster) However, I could do a lot more on this new concept. Hope that one of my local Best Buys has a health department so I can go try this out. Thanks Spark People. You and my church's Spark People team have changed my life. Report
We have tried to convince our management that we could use this, but it's a no-go! I guess because they know I would be on it all day!! and my peers would be beating down the door for their chance! Report