There has been a shift over the past few years from being your standard 9-5 cubicle drones to shaking things up a little – literally. Being almost completely stationary in one position for 60+ hours a week is known to lead to increased obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and a plethora of other preventable ailments. There’s no question about it; humans are designed to move.
From the same realm of standing desks, treadmill desks, balance balls and other questionable solutions to the problem of remaining stationary, comes the Desk Elliptical. These little pedaled devices are designed small enough to sit under your office desk or in front of your couch, so that you can quietly burn calories while getting your work done or catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Surely this is multi-tasking at its finest.
I wouldn’t tear up that that gym membership just yet, however. While the desk elliptical serves its purpose in theory, they also come with several issues that may be overlooked at first glance. But with a little bit of research, prep work and the right attitude, a desk elliptical could be right for you.
First off, machines can be noisy. Anything with mechanical moving parts that is going to make a sound, and some desk ellipticals are simply too loud and distracting for certain office environments, especially if they break. Make sure that the one that you purchase comes with extra lubricant and spare parts to fix any issues as they happen, and make sure you clear it with your coworkers before bringing it in.
Secondly, some desks are too small for the extra space that desk ellipticals require, especially if you have longer legs. To see if an elliptical will work for you, sit with your feet flat on the floor at your desk. You may need to adjust your chair to do so. Then measure the space between your knees and the top of the desk. When purchasing a desk elliptical, make sure that it is short enough to fit into this space with plenty of extra room to pump the pedals up and down, otherwise your knees will bang unpleasantly on the desk with every step.
Thirdly, if you get distracted easily or have trouble doing multiple things at the same time, it may be better to get up and for a 15-miunte walk a few times a day, rather than try and juggle working and exercising at the same time. Using a desk elliptical consistently takes some getting used to, and certainly isn’t for everybody.
Lastly – and this is the most important tip – don’t expect magical results. A desk elliptical is not a full body workout, and it’s not designed to help you shed 150 pounds or get the 6-pack abs and toned thighs that you’ve always dreamed of. What it is designed for is burning a few hundred extra calories per day (not a few thousand!) and only if you keep going at it at a consistent rate.
That being said, even a moderate level physical activity helps to reduce the severity of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and is show to improve mental and emotional health as well. If you want to move around a little more in order to alleviate the hazards of being completely stationary for long periods of time, then a desk elliptical will be a great addition to your regular fitness and health routine.
Interested in purchasing a desk elliptical for your home or office? Check out these models below: