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5 lessons learned from Consumer Reports' tests of treadmill desks

Our testers and readers offer some smart tips

Published: August 27, 2013 10:30 AM

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We’ve learned some valuable lessons about treadmill desks through our testing and from contributors to our treadmill desks forum. (Look for the full results of our testing in late September.)

Check your fit. Proper treadmill desk ergonomics are key. It’s important to adjust the desk so that your wrists are flat by the keyboard and mouse, your elbows form a 90-degree angle (no scrunched up shoulders!), and your eyes are looking straight at or slightly below the top of your monitor.

Avoid clutter. Route phone and computer cables through desktop holes and toward a wall to minimize the tripping risk.

Wear the right clothing. One forum contributor emphasized the importance of comfortable athletic shoes. Our in-house testers agree, especially because you may be logging a lot of time on a treadmill desk.

Also think about your outfit. One testing participant sweated through his dress pants and button-down shirt while walking on the treadmill desk. And skip dangling jewelry, which can get caught in the treadmill if there’s a mishap. Safety tip: Wear the treadmill’s safety clip, which will stop the machine if you fall.

Find the best treadmill for your space and budget.

Start slow—it’s not an Ironman. Gradually build up the number of hours you’re using the treadmill to avoid repetitive-stress injuries. To avoid overdoing it, alternate with a regular desk and chair.

Consider treadmill desk alternatives. The units we tested are pricey because they combine a workstation and a treadmill, but you can save money with an alternative, such as a standing desk. Several forum contributors said they modified regular treadmills to work as a desk, which seems to be a trend. Check out these setups on Pinterest.

Nicole Sarrubbo

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