Working for hours while sitting by a desk can be cozy. But, it gets tedious at some point. Staying motionless can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. Besides dips in energy levels, you experience eyestrain, back pain, and aches and pains in other body parts.
Sure, a walk to the water cooler, some stretches, or occasionally taking a stroll to a colleague’s cubicle can reduce these symptoms. However, that’s not all.
Most people ask how I can maintain or take my workplace wellness to the next level?
Standing desks offer a unique solution. For one, they allow you to keep working while on your feet. You can also add an under-desk workout solution to help you burn some calories while working out your muscles.
You've probably seen under desk exercise bikes and wondered what they're like and if they actually work. They seem like a great idea, but how well do these contraptions really work? Are they worth buying or not? Read on to learn more about under desk bikes and whether or not you should buy one for your home or office.
What Is an Under the Desk Bike?
An under the desk bike, also called a pedal exerciser or stationary bicycle is a device that allows you to exercise while sitting at your desk.
Adding some physical activity to your static office desk can help break the monotony and improve your health. However, that's easier said than done until you factor in an under desk office bike. These are compact pedal exercisers that you can slot under your desk.
Under desk bikes are not as intensive as cycling on the road, using an elliptical or a full stationary bike. But, they offer a satisfying level of resistance and allow you to log more exercise into your day. You can also ramp up the intensity by dialing up the resistance levels or speeding up.
Under-desk bikes are not only good for your legs and lower body muscles. Getting a set of dumbbells or adding a removable resistance band allows you to work out your upper body too.
When Is It Good To Use an Under Desk Bike?
These little exercise bikes are great for when you want to break up sitting in front of the computer. They're also useful if you just want to get in a quick workout while sitting at your desk or on the couch. While using one of these bikes, you can easily work away at some emails, write a few pages for your book, find a great recipe online, and more.
What Gradual Results Can You Expect from Using an Under the Desk Bike?
Staying in peak physical form is a labor of love. By this, we mean it requires you to watch what you eat, plan a routine and stick to it. However, most office workers have tight schedules that don't allow them to stay too long at the gym.
However, you can also get a lot of things done with a 30 minutes session. The rest can be supplemented by an under desk bike in the following ways:
Toning Your Leg Muscles and Bone Density
Peddling on an underdeck bike offers an easy way to tone leg muscles. This activity not only helps you drop body fat. But you'll gradually start to notice improved muscle definition on your hamstrings, calves, and even glutes.
Better muscle definition also increases your bone density. These two concepts work in tandem because stronger muscles need to be supported by tougher bones. Cycling does this by stimulating an increase in the retention of minerals in the bone tissue.
As you age, this reduces bone shrinkage and the likelihood of developing osteoporosis and other arthritic conditions.
Enhance Blood Circulation and Cardio-Vascular Health
Regular workouts are good for your body as it helps you stave off heart disease. Cycling or any aerobic routine can supercharge your cardiovascular health. The more often you do it, the better your blood circulation. In turn, this strengthens your heart.
Studies also link 30 minute daily aerobic sessions to improved High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. This is the good kind of cholesterol that translates to a lower likelihood of developing clogged arteries.
Doctors recommend getting at least 5 days' worth of cardio if you want to keep type 2 diabetes under control. This may not be possible if you have a busy office schedule. But, an under-desk bike comes in handy as the workout isn't as intense. So, you can do it in the comfort of your workstation.
Every time you peddle, more glucose is released from your muscle tissues. Aside from increasing your energy levels, this helps to balance blood sugar levels in your body. It also leads to heightened insulin sensitivity, which is a positive effect that can last up to 72 hours after you work out.
Improves Your Mood
Thus far, we've seen the positive effects that under-desk cycling can have on your physical health. But, it's also worth noting that you can also reap some mental health benefits from this machine.
Cycling also helps your body to release a higher than usual level of endorphins into your bloodstream. Endorphins are "feel-good chemicals" that our bodies release when we're euphoric or in pain to make us feel good.
The more aggressively you pedal, the more endorphins you release. Consequently, the better you feel about yourself and how life is going.
Even moderate levels of pedaling can stimulate the release of other hormones like serotonin, adrenaline, and cortisol. These hormones reduce stress levels when they reach your bloodstream.
How Do You Set Up an Under Desk Bike Ergonomically?
Under-desk bikes are highly portable. This makes setting them up seem like a no-brainer. However, getting things like proper placement can result in more harm than good.
Here are a few tips to help you get it right:
Stabilizer Your Body First
Your ergonomic office chair probably comes with casters, as most often do. So, pedaling motions will thrust you backward or sideways, which pushes you away from your unit or office desk. So, it makes sense to stabilize your casters instead of holding on to your desk for anchoring.
You can achieve this by:
1. Tying your bike to your chair
2. Replacing standard casters with lockable ones
3. Improvising a stopper for your wheels
4. Removing the casters and sticking to a stationary chair
Proper Under Desk Bike Positioning
One of the most common complaints among new under desk bike users is bumping their knees under their desks. Sore kneecaps are of particular concern to tall users. So, the trick is establishing the right level of clearance between your knees and desk.
A height-adjustable desk offers a simple solution, but the following tips can help Lock in on the sweet spot:
Start by placing your desk bike underneath your desk
Position your chair in an area that allows you to access your keyboard and mouse with ease
Now, adjust the height of your desk as you pedal to ensure proper knee-desktop clearance
What Things Should One Consider before Buying an Under-Desk Bike?
Ease of Assembly
When you get an under-the-desk bike that you can't assemble, it can be frustrating as it defeats the purpose. Therefore, getting one with a detailed manual or loads of YouTube tutorials on the subject makes more sense. Alternatively, you can opt for a pre-assemble variety if you're not too handy.
A foldable under-desk bike is ideal if you travel a lot. You can also save some money if you’d like to use it at home and in the office. All you need to do is fold it, pack it and set it up wherever you go.
Non-adjustable resistance is such a deal-breaker that most products in the market come with such a feature. The ideal bike allows you to adjust the resistance to your liking.
Why is this so?
You'd be wasting your time if the resistance level didn't challenge you
A higher resistance level that you’re used to can discourage you from using your machine
So, it would help if you had an under desk bike that gives you unfettered control over adjusting resistance levels. It also helps if you can control this via an easy-to-access dial or switch.
The last thing anyone wants is a squeaky or clunky under-desk bike. Such a machine can distract you and others whether you're working from home or the office. You can avoid this by looking at the decibel (dB) ratings on the manufacturer's or vendor's website.
Ideally, you want a bike that produces less than 30 dB. But the best place to gain actionable insight is review sites where other people that use the same product share their experiences.
Connectivity or a lack thereof is not much of a deal-breaker. But, it's a handy perk to have in an exercise bike. Some high-end models come with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Such features allow you to connect your smartphone to the bike via pairing apps.
This allows you to keep tabs on your vitals like distance covered, time, calorie expenditure, heart rate, and blood pressure. With that in place, you can develop a better workout plan as you keep your sights on the gains.
What Else Should You Know Before Purchasing An Under Desk Bike?
They Come With Learning Curves
Under-desk bikes come with some learning curves that make them seem temperamental and difficult to use. So, it’s important to pace yourself. You can start with a lower resistance level and gradually work your way up to a higher level.
They Simulate Various Cycling Conditions
Typically, under desk bikes offer a resistance level of between 1 and 10, depending on the model. You can use these levels to simulate the following riding conditions:
Coasting speed: 1 -2 resistance level
Downhill speed: 2-3 resistance level
Racing speed: 3-4 resistance level
Uphill speed: 5-6 resistance level
Riding in muddy trails: 7-10 resistance level
Is There A Difference Between Under Desk Elliptical And Bikes?
An elliptical is a steeper that allows you to exercise by moving your legs up and down. In contrast, an under-desk bike simulates a circular motion. So, they serve the same primary function of exercising your legs.
As you can see, an under-desk bike makes a worthy investment. Using it improves your physical and mental health. Plus, it adds an air of dedication and class to your home or office space.
The market is flooded with premium, middle of the road and straight-up knock-off models. This makes the price point an undependable metric for settling on what’s best for you. So what helps you pick the right under desk bike are the features you need the most.
We hope this brief but insightful piece shines the spotlight on what matters the most to you. And, we'll see you as you pedal your way to our next article.