The best foldable walking pads will help you reach your daily fitness goals without sacrificing cost or space. Take it from a fitness expert, with sedentary lifestyles on the rise, there has never been a better time to add more movement to your life!
Even if you have a great workout routine, sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your body. We aren’t meant to live a sedentary lifestyle and the best walking pads can help us hit those daily steps goals.
Motion is lotion! Moving your body through a healthy range of motion with light exercise keeps it working smoothly. It can even help prevent future health issues. Luckily, there is a simple solution. The best walking pad can help keep your body in constant motion, even in the minimal space of a home office. The ease of use and quiet noise level makes the under-desk treadmill a game changer. These smart mini treadmills can transform your zoom calls into a walking workout with minimal effort on your part.
I don’t know about you, but when I see a great way to add more low-impact activity into my day, I JUMP on it.
Whether it’s working, watching TV, or cooking, even a basic walking pad can help change any sedentary activity into an active one. Their compact size and affordable lightweight design makes them more approachable than traditional treadmills. In a world where people are spending more and more time sitting, I recommend doing the opposite. Move your body more every day and you’ll be surprised by the results.
Keep reading to explore whether walking pads might be a great option for you to increase your daily activity levels. Then, check out my favorite picks, including the walking pad treadmill I own and love!
First, let’s dive into why getting more steps in daily matters.
Table of contents
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
- Walking Pads vs. Treadmills
- Benefits of Walking Pads
- Getting Started With Walking Pads
- Walking Pads for Weight Loss
- Under Desk Walking Pads for Working From Home
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
We typically think of movement and calorie expenditure in terms of minutes of exercise. But, a lot of our daily activity actually comes from “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” (NEAT). This includes all the activities we fit into our busy schedules that aren’t “exercise.” Things like walking to lunch, pacing on the phone, cleaning, cooking, climbing up and down stairs, standing with a friend or watching your kids, folding laundry, hobbies, and the list goes on.
Think of all the daily tasks that require some kind of small physical activity. That’s NEAT. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic explains the importance of NEAT and the worthwhile opportunity for weight loss and other health gains.
Dr. Levine pioneered the treadmill desk and his studies showed that when a healthy individual walks at a slow pace of around 1-2 mph during the workday, they can burn a significant amount of extra calories. This can make a huge impact in people’s weight loss efforts. It’s not sweaty exercise, it’s just consistent movement.
Levine makes convincing arguments that NEAT could burn up to 1,000 extra calories per day when added strategically to the workday. He also explained that obese individuals perform drastically less NEAT than those within a healthy weight range.
As we begin to understand the importance of NEAT, it’s easy to see how working from home or sitting at a desk all day can be quite an obstacle. How can you incorporate more movement into your day when you’re glued to a desk?
That’s where walking pads come into play!
Walking Pads vs. Treadmills
Both walking pads and classic treadmills provide an opportunity for cardiovascular exercise. They are both exercise equipment tools with user-friendly operation that can be used in a home gym or home office. However, the two have pretty stark differences.
Treadmills are commonly known for their powerful performance and have been a staple running machine in home gyms for years. They are typically heavy and immobile, and take up quite a bit of space. Treadmills come with lots of great features, like incline control and higher maximum speed capacities. They can be used for anything from a daily walk to an intense run. These are my favorite treadmill workouts for weight loss.
Walking pads are a newer product to the market. With many workers trying to combat sitting at a desk all day, and social media trends like cozy cardio, it makes sense that these walking pads are quickly gaining popular product reviews.
These compact treadmill options are smaller, have lower speed capacities, and are usually portable making them a great option for limited space. They are a simpler, more afforadable option that allow you to walk for a long time in your home work environment or living room. Some have the capacity for running, but not nearly in the same way as a traditional treadmill does.
Want to learn more about the best exercise tools for home? Check out my picks for the best home gym equipment.
Benefits of Walking Pads
I think walking pads are brilliant! From a personal standpoint, I have a regular workout routine in the early morning but I still sit at my computer desk to work all day. I can’t stand how little movement my body is getting the rest of the day. However, I am not interested in a full size treadmill that would have to go in my basement. I wanted a portable walking machine that I can use in my kitchen under my counter or in my family room.
Living in the midwest also means the weather varies quite a bit throughout the year. I love getting outside in the evening to walk, but in the colder months it can be tough. Walking pads work well just about anywhere. Any space from a small apartment to a home will work. Whether you’re working from home or just watching TV, the extra steps will benefit your health and general mobility.
Here are just a few of the benefits of walking pads:
- Increase NEAT activity easily at home
- Compact designs are great for small spaces
- Easy to store when not in use
- Easy way to stay active while working
- Affordable pricing
Getting Started With Walking Pads
Walking pads are different than traditional treadmills. If you’re just starting to learn about walking pads, here are a few things you should know:
- Speed Capacity: Walking pads are made for slower movement than treadmills. Most walking pads have a range of different speeds, and will top out at a certain point. Top speed can max out around 4 miles per hour. If you’re looking for higher speeds or an option for running, a traditional treadmill might be a better fit.
- Incline: Most walking pads do not come with an adjustable incline feature. There are some available, but the added functionality typically makes them bulkier like regular treadmills.
- Portability: This is the beauty of the walking pad. It works well in small spaces. The compact design allows for easy storage under desks, beds or standing against the wall, saving you valuable space. Some models are even foldable.
- Size: These machines are made to be compact. Small, foldable and movable designs are popular. I recommend measuring your space or spaces where you plan to use the walking pad before purchasing. It never hurts to double check!
- Weight Capacity: The weight capacity for walking pads is much lower than a traditional treadmill. You’ll want to check to see where your weight falls in comparison with the weight capacity of the machine. Common weight capacities are around 200 pounds, or to 250 pounds. You’ll want to choose an option that works with your weight limit.
- Walking Pad Affordability: The good news is, since they are smaller and simpler than traditional treadmills, they are more affordable too. Many walking pads fall within the price range of $200 to $500.
- Data Tracking: Fair warning, a fitness tracker on your wrist like the Apple Watch may not accurately record your steps if you’re working at a standing desk. Typing and resting your arms on the desk will throw off the tracking. Luckily, most of the models have the basic features of reporting your speed, time, distance and calories burned.
The Best Walking Pads
The best walking pads have all the amazing features we’ve listed above, plus great customer service. We’ve compiled our top picks for walking pads on Amazon, including the one I own and love.
Any of the options below will help you add more movement and daily activity into your life. The health benefits are waiting!
I was so excited to get this under desk treadmill on Amazon Prime Big Deal Days. A lot of my day is spent in front of a computer. Right now that means I’m sitting a lot!
I’m excited to use my new walking pad for working from home. Instead of sitting on my butt all day, I can stand at my kitchen island overhang and type away while I slowly walk.
I love the sturdiness of this walking pad, and the great reviews didn’t hurt either. The white design matches the aesthetic factors in my home, and it’s easy to move and put away.
Most Popular Features:
- Minimal noise
- Easy to put away
- Sleek design
- Fits under desk
- Smooth and steady surface with cushioning
- Easy to navigate control panel
- Several speed options
Compelling Review From Amazon: “I love how compact and lightweight this walking treadmill is. You can very easily pick it up and move it around to exercise anywhere in the house and easily store out of the way, instead of it becoming another place to hang clothes on. This is great for brisk walking but not a running pace, which is great for watching TV and getting some steps in. Would also be perfect for a standup desk area. The remote works well and helps you fine tune the speed easily. It has proven to be durable, lightweight, and not too noisy. The value is exceptional and I hope I get a ton of use out of it.”
This sleek walking pad is a great foldable option. It comes with a super compact design, manual and automatic control options, and syncs with your Apple Watch.
Most Popular Features:
- Works well will standing desks
- Comfortable to walk on
- Slim design
- Remote feature
- Smart safety features
- Syncs with fitness watches
- Speed setting capabilities
- Great customer service
Compelling Review From Amazon: “I love it so far!! I upgraded from my cheap one I bought on Amazon 2 years ago and I love how this one folds under my desk and how it’s skinnier than my old one so my chair fits next to it. The app for me works great and I love how it also syncs with my watch! I also love how you can set your own speeds and it automatically adjusts.“
This space saving walking pad has a foldable design with two rollers for easy movement. It also comes with a remote control, footstep induction speed control, and a noise free experience.
Most Popular Features:
- Space saving design
- Easy setup
- Remote feature
- Front wheels make it easy to move on flat surfaces
- Good for working from home activity
- Great supplement to regular exercise
- Excellent customer service
Compelling Review From Amazon: “10/10 worth the money. If you work from home this is a must. Would buy again.”
This under desk treadmill has two different mode capacities. It can be used under a desk for walking, or independently with raised handlebars for running. It’s easy to use and its foldable design make it a compact option for reaching your exercise goals.
Most Popular Features:
- Easy setup
- Stores in flat or upright position
- Remote feature
- Clear display
- Easily rolls
Compelling Review From Amazon: “This is one of the best purchases that I’ve made on Amazon. I’ve used it almost every single day since I bought it over a year ago. It still is working great and has done wonder for not only my physical health but my mental health. I’m able to easily walk while I work and it’s so compact that I can store right in my home office next to my desk. My 65 year old mom even bought one for herself after testing out mine! Highly recommend this walking pad for anyone looking.”
This under desk treadmill has a wider belt compared to other walking pads, giving it a higher comfort level and smoother experience. It’s compact, space saving, and comes with a noise reduction design.
Most Popular Features:
- Great tech support
- Quiet design
- Easily movable
- Simple maintenance
- Solid build
- Convenient under bed storage
Compelling Review From Amazon: “I’ve had this walking pad for over 2 years now and use it daily! I love it. There was no set up involved, you just plug the cord in and turn it on! It conveniently fits under my bed when it is not in use (though it is a little heavy to move around but that’s just more of a workout which is fine by me)! Very durable and haven’t had any issues with product performance. I do make sure to lubricate the band regularly. My remote stopped working recently so I contacted the seller for a replacement remote and they sent me 2 remotes immediately! The new remotes are a better/sleeker design and work great. Great customer service and quick response time as well. Highly recommend this product and seller!”
Walking Pads for Weight Loss
Extra movement will definitely help increase your calorie expenditure, but there’s no black and white answer when it comes to weight loss. For example, if you walk during your whole day but are also eating a bunch of junky snacks and sugary drinks, are you really going to lose weight? It’s important to look at health as a total package. PS if you are walking all day you may be less inclined to reach for snacks. It’s way easier to eat while sitting in a chair.
Walking pads can absolutely be helpful in your weight loss journey. If you’re already incorporating a healthy diet and appropriate exercise levels, extra daily movement may help push you towards your goals. I do approximately one hour of rigorous exercise each morning during the work week, but I still love my walking pad for general mobility, extra steps and extra calories burned at the end of the day. It helps keep my body fight off the stiffness and soreness that comes with sitting for long periods of time. The extra low-impact activity also keeps my joints lubricated and strong. Which in turn helps me stay healthy and prevent injury.
Strength training, core exercises, and yoga are all great additions to expedite your weight loss journey. Walking pads can help with weight loss when you incorporate them into a well rounded strategy. Check out exactly how many steps a day you need to lose weight.
Under Desk Walking Pads for Working From Home
Any of the walking pads listed above make a great addition to a home office. Instead of sitting still all day, you can get up and move while you work.
Walking pads work best with standing desks, or adjustable height desks. Ideally, you’ll be able to stand, walk, or sit in at the same desk throughout your day.
Standing desks are typically more minimalistic in design, and many of them are completely adjustable to the height you need. This make it easy to keep a walking pad underneath, or swap to a chair.
Here is one of the top rated electric standing desks on Amazon that comes in various sizes and colors:
Today’s fast-paced world is seeming more sedentary than ever, and walking pads are the perfect fix!
These smart pieces of exercise equipment can turn working, watching TV, or cooking into one of your favorite ways to stay active. Keeping your body moving is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It’s never too late to start moving, so why not start with a walking pad?