Top 5 Tips for Losing Weight Using a Treadmill Desk

January 5, 2023

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treadmill weight loss

A common question we get here at WorkWhileWalking is how much weight can a person lose using a treadmill desk? Results vary wildly because a treadmill desk is not a substitute for getting cardio exercise or a proper diet, and everyone’s body is a little different. The key to successfully losing weight using a treadmill desk is to keep a healthy diet, and work aerobic exercise into your weekly routines (that means breaking a real sweat at least once a day), while substituting what used to be sitting time with slow walking time.

The more walking time, the better, naturally, but you don’t have to do it for more than 2-3 hours per day to see significant results in a matter of weeks. Treadmill desk jocks will boast of 5 to 6 hour-per-day endurance, but give yourself time to get to that kind of stamina. The main point here is to sit less, whether it’s by walking or by standing.

Most people will see an increase in their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) by 100 to 130 calories per hour when using a treadmill desk. If you aim to maximize your burn rate without impinging on your ability to get work done, check out our top 5 tips here:

1. Increase your walking speed. OK, this may seem obvious but there are some nuances to keep in mind. Most users walk at a 1 to 2 mph pace, a nice balance between getting more movement without breaking into an actual sweat. But for even the most adept treader, increasing the belt speed usually results in a decrease in typing accuracy and speed. To overcome this issue, look into an adjustable-height desk that features a built-in SteadyType™ keyboard tray, such as the iMovR Lander or Jaxson Corner Desks, or just buy an attachable one with a SteadyType™ Slide or Exo.

2. Increase the deck angle. Normally we advise people to avoid using a running treadmill, and stick with a level walking treadmill that doesn’t have an incline function. But if you’re trying to increase your calorie burn without walking so fast that you can no longer effectively type and move your mouse around then consider placing spacers under the feet or casters at the front (motor end) of the treadmill. Even a 0.5 or 1.0 degree tilt will make a big difference in your caloric burn rate. Bonus: Your treadmill will use gravity to reduce its power consumption.

3. Stay cool and wet. If you increase your exertion level you’ll be creating more thermogenesis, which will raise your body temperature and cause you to perspire more (even if not sweating) to keep your body cool. Get a tower fan to keep your body cool at higher walking speeds, and keep a water bottle handy by your desk to replace the water you’ll lose in perspiration. Fail to keep cool and wet and you may find yourself getting fatigued after a while, which kind of defeats the whole idea of being more productive on a treadmill desk.

4. Eat your meals, or at least your snacks, at your desk. Taking care not to let food or liquids drop down to the belt, consider taking some of your meals while walking. Especially for diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals, doing so will shave the peaks off your blood glucose levels, and convert more calories directly into energy rather than into fat.

5. Stand more. You can’t walk all day, but you don’t have to sit as the only alternative. Any treadmill desk can be used as a very good standing desk simply by stopping the belt. Tip: Standing on a hard phenolic deck is not very comfortable after a while (at least compared to padded carpeting). The easy hack is to use a standing mat when you want to just stand on your treadmill. A high-quality standing mat will be even more comfortable to stand on than a carpeted floor, decreasing your desire to sit back down in a chair even more.

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