We are a nation of sitters. We sit at desks all day, working away at our computers, looking at our phones, and generally not moving enough.
According to research, extended sitting--more than eight hours a day with no physical activity--increases the risk of dying prematurely at the same rate as obesity or smoking. The good news is all of those risks can be mitigated by just 60 to 75 minutes of exercise per day.
But with workloads piling up and meetings to take, it can be difficult to get even an hour or so of exercise a day. We’ve found the solution to that time crunch by taking your workout out of the gym and putting it under your desk. It’s the ultimate in multitasking.
There’s a myth that all exercise must be intense for it to be beneficial to your health. But in fact, leisurely exercise for at least 150 minutes per week is just as good for you as 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise. That exercise can be walking, biking, swimming, or running.
Since swimming is probably off the table as an under-the-desk exercise, we’ve gathered some of the top ways to get your exercise in while you’re working at your desk.
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First Things First
To get started with your under desk workout, it’s best to work with an adjustable standing desk. This allows you to work both seated and standing, and gives plenty of width underneath for your exercise equipment. The Flexispot adjustable desk is 48” wide, which is plenty of room for your foldable treadmill, and has a motor lift mechanism for easy raising and lowering of the desk. It’s one of the best-selling and highest-rated standing desks on Amazon.
Best Under Desk Treadmills
Consistently high rated, this compact treadmill is quiet, something that is necessary if you’re walking while taking a Zoom call. The wheels on the end make it easy to maneuver around your home office, and with speeds up to 6 mph you can get up to a solid jog.
With a 265-lb. capacity and a 16.5” belt width, this is one of the sturdier under desk treadmill models we found. It only goes up to 4 mph, so it’s truly just for walking, but it’s easy to set up and with its longer belt length (47.5”), it’s good for those with a longer stride.
Smaller than most, this is the perfect treadmill for apartments or home offices that are just a corner of your room. The motor isn’t particularly strong, and it tops out at 3.1 mph, but it’s solidly built and small enough to fit in your SUV cargo area or trunk of your car. It also has a 5-inch fixed incline, which is better than walking on a flat surface as it improves your heart rate and activates your core.
Best Under Desk Ellipticals
Ellipticals are a great option for people with joint issues or injuries, as it’s low impact and easy on the body. The Cubii elliptical is one of the better-known brands, and this model has eight levels of resistance to work with while tracking your stats on an easy to read display. Reviewers did comment about the weight of this unit, making it a little difficult to move around the house.
This under desk elliptical is smaller and a little more lightweight than the Cubii, and comes with a floor mat and tether straps to keep the elliptical in place. Additionally, caster stoppers let you comfortably keep your chair in place during your workout. The eight tension levels allow you to adjust your workout as you need, and the device connects via Bluetooth to an app on your phone to track your progress.
A more price-friendly model of compact ellipticals, the Stamina InMotion strider can be used sitting or standing and can pedal forward or reverse. Much lighter than other models, it even has a handle to make it easy to pick up and move around. It’s not overly fancy, but it doesn’t need to be to get a good workout in.
Best Under-Desk Bikes
Reviewers love how quiet this pedal exerciser is, as well as its adjustable height, which gives you a bigger range of motion, although at the highest setting it might not fit under your desk. Its smooth flywheel mechanism makes it feel like a real bike, without dodging traffic. Plus with up to 39 pounds of resistance, it can be a tough workout.
If the higher price points of some under desk exercise equipment makes you nervous, then this might be the pedal exerciser for you. At under $40, it’s not very big or complicated, is lightweight, and stores away easily by folding up. It’s so light you can also use it on a table top as an arm exerciser.
We couldn’t resist including this desk chair slash exercise bike in the roundup. Not only is it a comfortable and customizable desk chair, it’s also an exercise bike. Better yet, when you’re not using it as a bike, the chair lowers to a more normal height so there’s no collapsing and storing of your equipment. And it’s surprisingly quiet, according to reviewers.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.