Under Desk Treadmill: Are They Really That Beneficial?

March 3, 2023


Woman standing at her desk, on an under desk treadmill
Light to moderate physical activity can be achieved with an under desk treadmill.

With an increased focus on health and fitness in recent years, many professionals are seeking new ways to stay healthy. It’s no secret that spending several hours a day seated at a desk can have negative health consequences. Light to moderate physical activity has innumerable health benefits. But many modern office jobs conflict with our need for exercise. One of the more unique tools workers are using to stay active on the job is the under desk treadmill. 

An under-desk treadmill is exactly what it sounds like: a small, often portable treadmill that fits easily underneath a desk. Under-desk treadmills pair particularly well with standing desks, another modern trend used to combat sedentary work lifestyles. But how effective are under-desk treadmills, really? Let’s take a look at the potential health benefits offered by a treadmill desk.

How Does a Treadmill Desk Work?

Under-desk treadmills, or treadmill desks, are programmed with lower moving speeds than traditional treadmills. Rather than facilitating cardio exercise, their purpose is to help people get steps in while they work. Under-desk treadmills are not used for workouts, but rather, they are intended to help their users burn calories throughout the day.

Most people prefer to use their treadmill desk in several spurts throughout the day. A common recommendation is to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a time, with breaks in between. How many 30-minute sequences you do depends on your fitness level and goals. Some people will spend a total of four hours on their walking treadmill each day. Others might use it for one or two hours each day. The number of steps you get is up to you. But any amount of physical activity at work can have health benefits.

What Are the Health Benefits of Using a Desk Treadmill?

Weight Loss

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a desk treadmill is that it can promote weight loss. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity each day can be enough to burn calories and boost metabolism. Swapping out stationary work hours for brisk walking, without sacrificing productivity, can have great results. 

Vascular Health and Circulation

In addition to weight gain, inactivity can also cause poor circulation in many cases. This can pose several negative health consequences, including varicose veins, leg pain, and heart disease.

Getting light to moderate exercise each day is a very simple way to vastly improve circulation. This can both combat existing circulation complications, and prevent other health complications from developing. Once again, there is no additional exercise required to enjoy these tremendous health benefits from a treadmill desk. All you need to do is get at least 30 minutes of walking in each day.

Reduced Stress

Moderate exercise while at work has also been linked to reduced stress levels. There are a few factors that might aid in stress reduction. The physical activity of walking can help lower blood pressure and release endorphins, which can improve your mood. Adding a couple of sessions on the treadmill desk can also help break up the day. This can distract people from stressful activities at work or make the day go by quicker.

Reduced stress levels at work often mean better productivity and morale as well. So the potential advantages of an under-the-desk treadmill go even further than health benefits. They can even lead to career advancement.

How to Make the Most of Your Under-the-Desk Treadmill

Want to learn more about how to maximize the potential of an under-the-desk treadmill? Read ASAP’s guide to standing desks to decide if they are right for you. Or explore more ASAP resources on workplace health, such as our list of 20 Ways to Manage Stress.

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