5 Science-backed Health Benefits of Under Desk Treadmills

A woman gaining the benefits of her under desk treadmill while working from home

Working from home and thinking about getting an under desk treadmill but not sure whether it’s worth it? We’ll explain why treadmill desks are a great addition to any home office.

We’ve picked out five science-backed ways that desk treadmills can enhance your health and well-being — without too much effort from you.

Here are 5 ways an under desk treadmill can benefit your health.

1. Relieve joint pain

A person holding their knee while experiencing joint pain

One of the most recent studies on treadmill desk use (1) that specifically looked at using them when working from home reported an outstanding finding — that it relieved joint pain. In fact, this benefit was described as a “game changer.”

The study followed 20 participants who worked from home at least one day a week and used their desk treadmill for  two hours a day.

As well as less painful joints, the study listed other wins such as a boost to overall fitness, improved creativity, better work-life balance and feeling more productive, too.

2. Turn protein into muscle

A fitness model flexing their back muscles

Using an under desk treadmill provides targeted improvements in only short bursts of use. One of these is the activity’s ability to help turn protein to muscle by better use of amino acids.

This finding was uncovered in a study (2) that looked at the effect of breaking up periods of sitting with “activity snacks” or short episodes of exercise.

Using a desk treadmill to interrupt periods of sitting at your desk is the perfect way to harness this valuable benefit.

The study went on to recommend further work to get a deeper understanding of how this regime could affect muscle mass and quality.

3. Improve your glucose and cholesterol levels

A person wearing a fitness tracker

Did you know that using a under desk treadmill can even lower your glucose and cholesterol levels?

Researchers compared the use of treadmill desks versus standing desks (3) and found that the treadmill came out tops.

Using treadmills led to healthier levels of blood glucose after meals and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol that helps clear other forms of cholesterol from your blood and helps guard against heart attack and stroke.

4. Sharpen your focus

A woman working from home focused on her computer screen

Using an under desk treadmill boosts mental as well as physical health.

One study (4) looked at how using a desk treadmill affected two specific cognitive abilities: memory and attention.

Far from distracting workers from their tasks, it found that treadmill desks can boost memory and attention after the user has finished using them.

In the study, users also reported that their attention improved. This could lead to incentivising people to continue using treadmills, and so continuing to reap the benefits, the study said.

5. Improve your posture and core stability

a woman experiencing back pain from poor posture while sitting at her desk

Last but not least, using an under desk treadmill can help improve your posture, stability and balance.

One study (5) looked at how interrupting sedentary time with treadmill desk walking affected postural stability. In plain English, that’s how you control the position of your body to perform movements and keep your balance.

It concluded that this regime had neuromuscular benefits and could also reduce the risk of falls.

What is the best under desk treadmill?

Orbit Starlite SL2 Under Desk Treadmill

The Orbit Starlite SL2 under desk treadmill set up in a home office here in Perth

Walk while you work with the Orbit Starlite SL2 Under Desk Treadmill.

The ultra slim profile means it fits perfectly under your desk in the home office or study. Use the remote to control start/stop and treadmill speed at the click of a button.

Storage is easy with the attached wheels. The machine is super lightweight and will fold away under your bed or up against the way, safely.

See the Orbit Starlite SL2 Under Desk Treadmill unboxed and working in under 5 minutes:

View the Orbit Starlite SL2 now

Put a spring in your step with a treadmill desk.

It makes sense that using an under desk treadmill will improve your overall fitness and well-being levels.

But it’s even more reassuring to know that there are real, specific and evidence-based health benefits, ranging from pain relief to helping with quality muscle production.


1. Scisco, J. L., Meyers, E., Miceli, A., and Powell, J. (2023). “It’s been a game changer”: Examining treadmill desk use when working from home. Occupational Health Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41542-023-00144-0

2. Moore, D. R., Williamson, E. P., Hodson, N., Estafanos, S., Mazulla, M., Kumbhare, D., & Gillen, J. B. (2022). Walking or body weight squat “activity snacks” increase dietary amino acid utilization for myofibrillar protein synthesis during prolonged sitting. Journal of Applied Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00106.2022

3. MacEwen, B. T., MacDonald, D. J., & Burr, J. F. (2015). A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace. Preventive Medicine, 70 (January), 50-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.11.011

4. Labonté-Lemoyne, É., Santhanam, R., Léger, P., Courtemanche, F., Fredette, M., & Sénécal, S. (2015). The delayed effect of treadmill desk usage on recall and attention. Computers in Human Behavior, 46 (May), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.12.054

5. Charalambous, L. H., Champion, R. B., Smith, L. R., Mitchell, A. C. S., & Bailey, D. P. (2019). Effects of interrupting sitting with use of a treadmill desk versus prolonged sitting on postural stability. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 40(13), 871-875. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1055/a-0975-9313 

Published on 10/05/2023

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