Many of us try to stay active, but after a long day at the office, there isn’t always time to workout or go for a run. Under-desk treadmills provide a great solution that brings the benefits of an active lifestyle right into your office. They’re designed to operate at slower speeds, and are quieter, too, so you’re less likely to disturb co-workers. Some even feature different modes of exercise and Bluetooth control.
Choosing the right one can be complicated: does it fit in your office? Does it have the right features? How durable is it? And while many of these machines cost less than a typical gym treadmill, you still want to stay within your budget. It takes time to find a comfortable pace and get used to working while walking, but once you do, racking up the steps becomes easy.
There are a number of factors that help determine whether an under-desk treadmill is right for you. First, how much space do you have? What makes these treadmills so convenient is that they fit not only in your office, but under your standing desk. If you’re working in a smaller cubical or there isn’t much room between you and a neighbor, you’re going to need to find the smallest treadmill you can. Measure ahead of time to confirm whether a unit is too big.
It’s also important to consider the people around you. If you work at home, you have all the freedom in the world to set up your under-desk treadmill the way you want. Noise issues are less of a concern, and you don’t have to worry about distracting coworkers—maybe you can even wear gym shorts while you’re working! But if you’re in an actual office, volume level should really be foremost on your mind. A whirring motor and the noises of constant footfalls is a surefire way to drive the other members of your team crazy as they try to get their own work done.
Finally, how adjustable is the treadmill? Look for a range of speeds in order to change up your workout. Make sure you can work comfortably while using it—in the end, it has to fit in with your style of working.
What’s the right walking speed when using an under-desk treadmill, and how do you figure it out? Most of these treadmills are designed to have speeds that range from two to four miles per hour. This is a comfortable pace—not so fast that you start to sweat, but not so slow that you end up accidentally walking into your desk. Beginners should start off at a relaxed pace. Finding a speed that gives you the physical activity you want while also allowing you to accomplish your tasks for the day takes some dialing in. Get a feel for what it’s like to type while stepping. Take a phone call or two, see if you can find a pace that doesn’t give away the fact that you’re exercising; huffing and puffing is a good way to scare off a client. But don’t be afraid to adjust the speed upward as time goes on. You’re going to get used to the slower speed and eventually it won’t feel like much of a workout at all. Don’t overdo it, keep things comfortable, and you’ll soon find a groove that combines the best worlds of working out and working hard.
Most under-desk treadmills can accommodate a range of heights and weights, but double check to make sure the treadmill you like is right for you. If you’re tall, chances are you have a longer stride; an undersized treadmill could force you to limit your step or, worse, cause you to trip and hurt yourself. Try to pick something that allows you to walk normally, comfortably, and without losing balance. If you’re shorter, you’ll have the benefit of being able to buy a smaller, less conspicuous machine.
Heavier people need to make sure that the treadmill can handle their weight. Most of the machines are durable, but sometimes manufacturers sacrifice load-limit to make a lighter treadmill that’s easier to store—check the manufacturer’s specs to be certain. Again, a little care when purchasing your new workout machine will help save money later—and help you have a safer workout!