Treadmill Desk and Standing Desk Ergonomics

What is Ergonomics?

First, what do we mean by ergonomics? Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Therefore, when using a treadmill desk or standing desk, always remember the goals of avoiding unnecessary strain on the joints and decreasing the potential of fatigue.

Treadmill Desk and Standing Desk Posture Tips

There are basic ergonomic tips to consider when setting up your treadmill desk or standing desk. Remember the concept of neutral body positioning and follow these tips:


  1. Head and neck are balanced and in-line with the torso.
  2. Elbows are close to the body and bent between 90 and 120 degrees. Standing desk height should be adjusted accordingly.
  3. Top of the monitor is at or just below eye level so the user does not have to tilt the head up or bend the neck down to see the monitor.
  4. Shoulders are relaxed.
  5. Wrists and hands are straight, in-line, and roughly parallel to the floor.
  6. Adequate room for keyboard and mouse.

Please reference the standing desk height chart shown below, for recommended desktop height settings for both sitting and standing. *Please note that the chart is based on average male/female anthropometric dimensions. If you do not fit within this mold, you may want to try altering the desk height an inch or two till the desktop height fits comfortably.

standing desk height

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, United States Department of Labor, when determining the best way to set up a treadmill desk, it is helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning, i.e., a comfortable working posture in which the joints align naturally. Working with your body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on muscles, tendons, skeletal system, and reduces the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder. While standing, posture should be such that your legs, torso, neck, and head are approximately in-line and vertical.


A number of writers chronicle their use of treadmill desks, e.g. the Treadmill Desk Diary, and their tips can be useful. However, it is important to remember that you must find the acceptable position and product that enhances you work environment and provides the greatest health benefit. With that in mind, there are organizations and companies beginning to realize the importance of sitting less, standing and moving more, and are implementing strategies to assist employees to do so. Emory University is an example and offers Individualized Workstation Evaluations to educate, evaluate, and plan for a more productive and user-friendly desk.

When purchasing an exercise desk, investigate products to fit the needs of your office environment. Based on proper treadmill/standing desk ergonomics, ask the following questions:

  1. Is the desktop height adjustable?
  2. Does the desktop height adjust manually or electrically?
  3. Does the desktop go low enough to allow you sit at the desk?
  4. How large is the desktop surface area?
  5. Will I have enough room for my keyboard and mouse?
  6. Can I add-on a desktop monitor mount?

LifeSpan offers exercise desks to assist individuals interested in adding a treadmill desk to the office. Providing guidance and support to help with choosing the best standing desk and treadmill for you as well as for your office setting.