Do Under Desk Bikes Actually Work?
American adults spend about 6.5 hours sitting every day, with some estimates putting it closer to 10 hours. This can have huge impacts on your health.
Sitting for extended periods of time—like logging three-hour blocks at your desk or marathoning a tv series—is a hallmark of a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, people who sit for more than 8 hours per day have risks similar to those from obesity and smoking. Not only that, but sitting for too long can cause cognitive impairment, slowing down your mental processes and hurting your productivity.
One fad solution is a standing desk, but those can wear on your feet and may even be uncomfortable if you don’t have the proper footwear, or work on a hard floor. Another solution is to alternate standing and sitting while at your desk, but this just keeps the harmful effects of sitting at bay without providing any real benefits.
To curb the negative impacts of sitting, protect your feet and joints, and get in a good, productive workout at your desk or on your couch, you might want to try out an under-desk bike.
What is an under desk bike?
Under desk exercise bikes look more than a little bit silly. They even look pointless or ineffective, given their size. You might look at one and think, “There’s no way I can get a workout on that thing!”
However, under desk bikes have been around for a long time and have huge potential to drive weight loss, increase muscle tone, and keep you healthy and productive.
An under desk bike, or exercise peddler, looks just like a stationary bike you would find in a gym but without the seat, handlebars, or monitor… okay so they look pretty different from what you would find in a gym, but the important part is the exact same.
Many exercise peddlers come with adjustable resistance and toe baskets to keep your foot in place, which can give you the feel of a gym bike right in your workspace. Coupled with a good ergonomic desk chair, you’ll be ready to burn calories, tone muscles, and maybe even improve your productivity in no time.
Health benefits of under desk bikes
People spend an estimated 6.5 to 10 hours per day sitting down. This brings along a variety of health risks, including weakened muscles in the lower body, weight gain, hip and back problems, and maybe even heart disease, diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis.
This sounds scary, right? And it is—sitting down seems harmless, but can actually be a very dangerous way to spend your time.
We know that at least 40 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every day is crucial for leading a healthy lifestyle, but if you spend less than an hour exercising and ten hours sitting, you may not be getting all the benefits you think.
But here’s some good news: in a study of physically inactive adults, people who had desk bikes used them on 70% work days, for an average of 50 minutes per day. This may seem like a lot, but the typical usage was about 5 minutes per session over nearly 20 sessions. Just with this modest change in habits, the participants burned an extra 107 calories per day!
This result may not seem like much, but it is far better than simply gaining calories or burning none. More intense workouts can of course yield better results, and coupled with a regular exercise routine outside of the office, you’ll be sure to see the benefits pile up.
Mental benefits of under desk bikes
You know that feeling you get after a good workout? Maybe you feel strong, light, focused—well, tired, of course, but tired in a good way. Now imagine if you didn’t just feel that way once a day after a workout, but you could get a boost of energy, clarity, and positivity whenever you wanted it!
Under desk bikes are a great way to get your blood moving and supercharge your productivity throughout the day. Sure, sometimes caffeine or a snack might do the trick, but the most natural and healthy way to perk up is a quick burst of exercise.
Further, regular exercise is known to help reduce the impacts of anxiety and depression and give you a good mood boost at the same time. Why constrain this huge benefit to only once or twice a day when you good make it a part of your entire day?
Okay, but do they really work?
In short—yes. Under desk bikes offer all of the same benefits as a regular stationary bike, even though you probably won’t want to rely on them for regular training. They are best used as a way to maintain light activity throughout the work day, and as just a part of a healthy and active lifestyle.
BUT, they may not work as well for everyone. Always talk with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine if you have any health concerns, and also make sure the rest of your desk biking setup is comfortable and supportive.
Just as biking on an improperly fitted bike can wreak havoc on your health, cycling from a desk chair with poor support can be just as dangerous. Make sure you have a quality place to sit, and always practice good posture to avoid injury.