A treadmill of one’s own

My new writing spot
My new writing spot

These are the first words I’ve written while walking at my new treadmill desk.

When I do get spare time these days, I use it to write. Which means I don’t get a lot of exercise. I have used a standing desk at home and work and liked the fact that it left me with more energy at the end of the day. But I didn’t have a proper set-up – just a filing cabinet there and a kitchen counter here – and I do like to walk. Hence, the treadmill desk.

I’ve set it up in what was my son’s nursery, as you can gather from the decor. It’s one of the sweetest, brightest rooms in the house, so it’s perfect.

The apparatus itself has been a bit of a project, and not in a good way.

As it turns out, treadmill desks are not available retail — at least not in Ottawa, not that I could find. When I went to the big-box fitness equipment store, the clerk stared at me as if I had several heads. “You want to walk … while you …work?”


So I turned to the Internet. Americans seem to have plenty of choice there, but Canadians not so much. I wanted a fairly sturdy, reliable treadmill with an adjustable desk. The Rebel Desk looks great but they’re not available in Canada.

LifeSpan treadmills do very well in all the reviews I read. But the company itself doesn’t deliver in Canada. They sent me to a store in Toronto, which eventually gave me an estimate for what it would cost them to contract out a delivery to me. The delivery charge alone was $300 plus tax, to the end of my driveway. I live in the country. I have a long driveway.

The only other company I could find to deliver the treadmill was Amazon, which would deliver the treadmill for free – but just the treadmill base, not the desk part. (Again, this is particular to Canada.)  I got the TR800.

Instead of ordering a desk separately on Amazon, I found a Canadian company that makes gorgeous standing desks: Ugoburo. It’s sturdy and elegant, but I will say that the assembly instructions were needlessly baffling.

If you’re ordering the treadmill base separately from the desk, be very careful about the width. I did check the dimensions to make sure the base would fit inside the desk I ordered — but when it arrived, I found that the stated width did not include a bumper LifeSpan has for some reason put exactly where the desk legs ought to go.


I unscrewed the black plastic cap, but alas, there are metal rods underneath:



So the desk is slightly deeper along the treadmill than I would have liked, shortening the walking length. So far, I don’t even notice this at walking speed. If I decide to crank it to go for a run, I can always move the desk out of the way. But still: annoying. I might rig some sort of platform up for the desk if it bugs me.

The desk also seems to be lower than I expected – its max height is just barely right for keyboarding for me. This is fine, but people of greater height in my family might have to use something to raise the level.

Finally, I’ll have to work on the ergonomics. Because the desk itself is lower and farther toward the back of the treadmill than I’d anticipated, I dont think I’ll use an under-desk keyboard tray. But I will get an eye-height monitor.

I took 1,900 steps while writing this blog post, and I honestly barely noticed I was walking. I’m going to like this.