Treadmill Desk Ergonomics
Just for fun go ahead and type “treadmill desk DIY” into Google Images and take a look at the hundreds of awesome homebuilt treadmill desks people have created. To a one, these were fashioned together by “early adopters” who wanted to take better care of their bodies and minds, and either already had an unused treadmill at their disposal or acquired a cheap one on Craigslist. (See Selecting the right equipment for your home-built treadmill desk in our DIY section to learn more about the shortfalls of walking on treadmills that were designed for running.)
The good news is they’ve taken the first step. They’ve grasped the initiative, and are probably raving about their treadmill desk to all their friends and co-workers, as they should. The bad news is that for many of them the next step they’ll be taking will be to their chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, orthopedist, internist or witch doctor when the aches and pains of a bad workstation setup start to set in.
With millions of desk workers ordered to work from home for months, through the end of the year, or even permanently, employers need to consider the fact that liability for ergonomic injuries has now pierced the veil of the corporate campus.
Typing while on a treadmill desk is a wholly different experience than typing while sitting at a desk. With no arm rests to support the weight of the arms, the gentle swaying motions caused by walking makes it practically impossible to type without anchoring your palms somewhere in front of the keyboard. Precise mouse manipulation is also more difficult when the body is swaying, which is…
A common answer for this has been to raise your desk so that your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle when you type. This is a partial solution: a 90-degree angle keeps your wrists straight when you type (assuming your keyboard is level with your desk top) and helps prevent the wrist strain and injuries that come from improper wrist posture.
When people walk by your office and get a side view of you on your standup desk or treadmill desk, they should see someone who is standing straight, head held at a neutral position.
While standing desks have received a lot of media attention over the past few years, they aren't the be-all and end-all of office fitness. Like sitting in a chair or walking at a treadmill desk, standing is an activity best enjoyed in moderation. The hazards of sitting are now well documented, of course. Legions of office workers concerned about "sitting disease" have flocked to comme…
For most sufferers, symptoms tend to wax and wane, usually worsening after a trigger event such as overuse, or from walking barefoot or without their prescribed orthotics for anything more than a mid-night pad over to the bathroom.
Most desks being promoted for use with treadmills are engineered to resist shaking too much when your swaying body makes contact with the desk.
As long time watchers of the treadmill desk industry, and having read every study conducted in this arena, we were disappointed by both the improper methodology used in this study and the wrongful conclusions that internet media outlets hastily made in crafting their grabby headlines – and are again dismayed by how rapidly the internet promulgates such nonsense.