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Working Out at Work: Best Standing Desk Treadmills, Under-desk Ellipticals and Cycles

Repetitive movement while working is proven to increase focus, stimulate creativity, and reduce back and joint pain - not to mention the added bonus of passively burning calories at your desk. That's why treadmill desks, pedal machines, and under-desk ellipticals have increased in popularity.

Sitting for extended periods of time, just like what happens during working hours, can be damaging to your health. A major culprit behind issues related to back pain and even obesity is because of prolonged periods of sitting with improper posture, without moving at all. In an office desk, one can sit in front of a computer for hours, without taking a break. This can lead to serious back issues and high risk of lifestyle diseases such as coronary heart diseases, cancers and type 2 diabetes. Working out while at work is a very attractive solution to both of these problems.

So much has changed in the way that people behave in offices. Instead of treating a job as 9 hours in the middle of the day spent in a little box, office jobs today tend to be more liberal in terms of hours, the work environment, and multitasking. Solutions that allow people to exercise while working are commonplace. There are even dedicated workstations that allow for standing, walking, or cycling. One can also comfortably sit at a regular desk and work out with a device underneath it.

Benefits of working out at work

For people who have long work schedules, exercising at gym or during the few hours that you actually spend at home might seem pretty inconvenient. That is why you should consider working out at work.

Here are other benefits to keep in mind:

  • Exercising changes your overall attitude. It will make you more positive minded to view your work, colleagues and even yourself in a better way. This changes the way you work and interact with your teammates.
  • Keeping your body active throughout the day increases your creativity. Research has proved that a working out has a great impact on the mind. A study conducted by Stanford University showed that walking had great effects on certain cognitive activities such as creativity, especially convergent thinking. People who work out at work have higher abilities to come up with solutions and to think beyond matters at hand.
Exercising while at work can keep you positive and energized, enhance your creativity, and even change the way you interact with your colleagues. That's even without going into all of the health benefits!
  • Exercising regularly keeps your health at check. This works best for people who are extremely busy and would miss out several workout sessions if they signed up at a gym. A chance to exercise at work means you can always maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Working out at work will help avoid or reduce back pains. In most cases, back pains occur after prolonged hours of sitting in one position for several days. Taking some time during the day to walk and stretch can reduce their occurrence and also help alleviate the pain by  a higher percentage.

Features to consider

When it comes to working out at work, several options are available, which might be a little confusing to a newcomer. Here are some of the important features you should consider when buying the right tool for your office workout:

  • The amount of space you have: To buy a desk treadmill, pedaler, or under-desk elliptical, you need to determine just how much space you have in your office. To buy a treadmill desk for instance, you need enough space to accommodate both the treadmill and the desk. If you're constrained to a cubicle or an office block, you may have to get special permission from your superiors. Consider how much space you have under your current desk too, for a pedaler or the under-the-desk elliptical - you don't want your knees to be banging up against the bottom of your desk.
  • The noise levels: If you are planning on working out in an office where other people are working, you need to consider the amount of noise your workout tool will produce. A silent one is best. to avoid distracting your colleagues, but if you work from home you have some more flexibilty with your options.
It’s important to determine the kinds of tasks you can comfortably do while working out in order to incorporate your exercise routine into your work schedule.
  • Type of workout: Do you prefer walking, stepping or pedaling? The kind of work that you do is also important - it's all fine to walk briskly while talking on the phone, for example, or pedal while brainstorming or sitting in a meeting, but if you're writing up important reports very intensely, it's easy to get distracted if you're exercising. That being said, this greatly varies from person to person. It’s important to determine the kinds of tasks you can comfortably do while working out in order to incorporate your exercise routine into your work schedule.
  • Flexibility: Unsurprisingly, your productivity will take a hit while you're getting used to exercising while working. If you have a big deadline coming up, or you have an extremely high pressure job, maybe put off adding a major change to your work routine until the stakes are a bit lower.
  • Safety: Are there possible injuries or issues that could come as a result of multitasking? If you opt for a treadmill desk for instance, consider its maximum speed, whether or not it has the side rails and its step-up height, among other safety features.

1) Sunny Health & Fitness Peddler SF-E3626 available for $175 on Amazon

Key features
  • Rubberized non-skid mat
  • In-built carry handle for ease of transportation
  • A digital monitor for ease of operation
  • 3 manual and 3 auto operation modes

Coming from a company that has been a premiere distributor of high quality health and fitness products for over a decade now, Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3626 Motorized Under Desk Elliptical is an amazing choice of elliptical that will keep you on the move. Selling at under $200, you can be sure that this is one of the most affordable options you have for those that want to work out while working.

The elliptical is portable, motorized and can fit under the desk or in front of a chair. It features a digital monitor that allows users access to manual and auto modes; forward and backward pedaling and the step counter. A non-slip floor mat is also included in its package.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The Sunny Motorized Auto Assisted Elliptical is best to use for rehabilitation or active recovery. Its motorized features allows the user’s legs to move automatically to activate the muscles, increase blood flow in the affected areas as well as promote the growth of bone mineral density. The elliptical is best to use for low-intensity workouts and can be used while performing other activities such as writing, reading, typing on your computer or watching your favorite TV program.

What's not so good about this device?

The device can only be used while seated, limiting the people who prefer to work out while standing. Besides, it is meant for low impact exercises. There is therefore nothing much one can achieve if you are aiming for weight loss or developer muscles.

  • Very easy to use
  • Promotes healing and restoration
  • Allows for multitasking
  • Adjustable speed
  • Can't be used while standing
  • Only meant for low-intensity workouts
  • Not the best quality of build materials

2) Cubii Smart Under Desk Elliptical

Key features
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Adjustable controls
  • Whisper quiet
  • Patented ergonomic handles

Cubii claims that their Smart model is currently the only Bluetooth-enabled under desk elliptical on the market, allowing users to connect to other devices during workouts. You can use it to track down your calories, minutes, miles, strides and RPM. For ardent exercisers, you could even set goals to achieve every day. The device could be a little more expensive than the others but its exceptional features and capabilities make it worth the cost.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The Cubii Smart is an under the desk workout device that can be incorporated into any kind of daily routine. To make your workouts more fruitful, connect it to your Cubii OS and Android apps to keep track of the amount of workout you do every day. You could personalize your workouts, keep track of the amount of calories you are burning, and set goals. In addition to calorie counting, this is a device that will allow you to improve your posture as well as include your muscles, abs, calves, glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors into your workouts. It is the best alternative to working out at a gym if you're short on time.

What's not so good about this device?

You can only use this device while seated, which is a limiting factor for people who enjoy working out while standing. Besides, some knee discomfort could be experienced especially if you are having trouble positioning it in a good angle. You might get used to it after some time, however. 

  • Can connect to other devices remotely via Bluetooth
  • Allows for full lower body workout
  • Can be used for both high and low-intensity workouts
  • It is sturdy, durable and designed to last
  • Whisper quiet feature allows for discreet workouts in the office and at home
  • The plastic parts can get squeeky and a bit noisy during workouts
  • Only meant for working out while seated
  • It is a little pricey

3) FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

Key features
  • Large pedals that are easy to find under the desk and comfortable to use
  • A desk stand to give users quick access to the six function display
  • Low pedal rotation height of only 8 inches.
  • Whisper quiet resistance to allow for discreet workouts.

The FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical has been designed to help you integrate some cardio into your day-to-day work. It is basically an under-the-desk elliptical that will give your legs some backward and forward shuffle movement while you go on about your work day.

Selling at under $100, this is one of the most affordable of these tools that you can find on the market today.

For people who would love to enjoy more activity without necessarily leaving their desk or comfortable couches, the FitDesk Under the Desk Elliptical will work very well for you. This product uses a pneumatic fluid to power it, which pushes the pedals in a forward or backward motion, just the same way larger elliptical machines work.


Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

Unlike many under the desk ellipticals on the market today, the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical uses a fluid to achieve a natural backward and forward elliptical motion. The fluid allows it to create a smooth motion for your legs, while the angled pedals keep your knees from hitting the bottom of your desk. With the FitDesk, you also get a digital meter to help you track your progress.

What's not so good about this device?

For users who are using an under-the-desk elliptical for the first time, assembling it may be a little challenging. Some people have also complained of the product being a little stiff to pedal on the first days of use. The meter on the device is not visible while it is in use, so you'll have to stop pedaling and look under the desk to see your step count and calories burnt.

  • Pretty easy to assemble for an experienced elliptical user.
  • Affordable
  • Super-quiet for discreet workouts
  • Allows for both backward and forward peddling, depending on your preferred workout intensity.
  • Getting it to work smoothly on the first day might be challenging
  • It is not light and portable - difficult to transport between home and office

4) Pedal Exerciser by Vive available for $59 on Amazon

Key features
  • Compact and easy to use design
  • Quiet and smooth pedal operation 
  • Adjustable resistance allows for customized workouts
  • A large and easy to use multifunction display
  • The Pedal Exerciser by Vive is a portable medical workout tool that is designed for either hands or feet. It is just like a small exercise bike that can be used under the desk for low-impact workouts. The exerciser is very easy to use and can be great for muscle toning and improved concentration.

    The exerciser is also quite affordable when compared to similar products on the market. Selling at below $60, this is a tool can improve your stamina, increase your blood circulation and relieve tension while working.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The Pedal Exerciser by Vive has been simply designed for maximom convenience. Assembling it will be easy and quick, with all the required pieces provided in the package. The tool will not only help you tone your muscles but also improve your concentration for better productivity. It is portable and compact, making it easy to fit under any desk. The exerciser has a low profile design, which keeps it stable while you are exercising. Use the adjustable feature to choose your preferred resistance.

What's not so good about this device?

As expected at this price point, the build quality of The Pedal Exerciser is not the best. Some users have complained of its pedals loosening up during workouts, even coming off completely. It's important to make sure to tighten any loose pieces before every use.  Another major drawback is that it is impossible to increase the resistance of the exerciser to a productive level, so you are just passively pedaling without actually toning muscle.

  • Can be used to strengthen and tone your muscles while at the same time improving your focus and concentration.
  • Its portable and compact design makes it easy to fit under any desk.
  • A one-touch multifunction display allows you to set time, speed, distance and calories burned.
  • Poor quality construction
  • Doesn't allow for high-intensity workouts.

5) LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 available for $999 on Amazon

Key features
  • Console readouts
  • Small and compact size
  • Portable wheels
  • Finely calibrated motor for whisper-quiet workouts

Coming from a company that is devoted to improving its customers’ experiences, LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 is one of the most popular treadmill base-and-console devices that can be used for office or home workouts. It has been designed to support both single users and small teams.

The LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 might be a little expensive when compared to its counterparts, but it has a lot more to offer for people who want to passively exercise than any of the devices on this list so far.

The treadmill is small, and has portable wheels to allow for ease of use and mobility. It includes console readouts of calories burned, distance traveled and walk/run time.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The LifeSpan TR1200-DT3’s small and compact body makes it easy to fit under any standing desk. The small, portable console can discreetly be placed on your desktop to give you quick access to the workout information, so you don't have to stop the device and look down to see the data. The TR1200 features a sturdy walking surface measuring 20 inches by 50 inches, which is long enough for even tall people to walk or jog on. The walking surface that is equipped with six impact-absorbing compression shocks, will support up to 350 lbs of weight. The treadmill motor is very quiet, to allow for discreet workouts in the office or at home.

What's not so good about this device?

The beeping on the treadmill when you turn it on or when you start can be very annoying. You have to press the up button 16 times every time you start the treadmill in order to get up to the max speed of 12 mph - though if you are running at such a high speed, you're probably not getting that much work done. Though the console is highly responsive, having to repeatedly press the button and having it beep every time can be annoying and disturbing.

  • Fully assembled and ready to use out of the box
  • A small and portable console included in the package  with a digital LED display
  • You can customize your workouts to achieve your goals
  • Super comfortable to use and highly capable
  • Too much button pushing is annoying
  • Requires you to already have a standing or adjustable desk to be effective - cannot be used while sitting

6) iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill available for $1599 on Amazon

Key features
  • LCD console with a touchscreen similar to a smartphone
  • Quiet
  • Built to last
  • Its shortened deck gives you more floor space for smaller offices

The iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill is the only treadmill on the market that is able to track walking while standing and sitting. The treadmill has been designed for the office environment and can be used by single as well as multiple users. For people who are aiming to reduce their sitting time in office or at home, this is the tool that will help you track it.

The iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill is however a little bit expensive, selling at over $1500. Featuring a programmable timer, this is the only treadmill that will remind you of when to take a break, or to change between sitting, standing and walking positions.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The only way to stay active while working is by reducing your sitting time and this is what The iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill is designed to do. The treadmill will tell you how long you have been sitting, so you can stand or walk to burn more calories. Featuring an easy to use LCD console, you should be able to tell your walking speed, distance, calories burned and the steps taken.

The treadmill’s high-torque motor is designed for office walking speeds. With a maximum speed of 2.5 MPH, you can comfortably walk for hours. 

What's not so good about this device?

The ThermoTread GT is a little heavier when compared to similar treadmills on the market. For someone that wants to move it between the home and office, this can be a little challenging.
As well, the treadmill is designed only for walking - not jogging or running. So if you wanted to use it outside of work hours to sweat a bit more, it won't be much help.

  • Its sleek, touch-screen LCD desktop console makes the treadmill easy to use
  • It can guarantee total office workout
  • Tracks and helps you reduce your sitting time for better health
  • Made of superior quality materials for long time use.
  • Much more expensive than other items on this list
  • It's bigger and heavier than its counterparts
  • Can only be used for walking (max speed 2.5 mph)

7) DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike

Key features
  • Low pedal height for all types of desks.
  • More resistance range of other pedal exercisers.
  • Smooth and quiet pedal motion
  • High quality components for long time service
  • 5-function display of speed, time, distance, calories and scan

Featuring the lowest pedal level available at only 10 inches off the ground, the DeskCycle is a workout tool that can fit under any desk without hitting your knees against the bottom of the table. This pedal exerciser claims to leave you happier, less stressed and more productive with its low-impact workouts.

The DeskCycle is also is one of the more affordable workout tools on this list. For less than $200, you get five display functionalities to allow you to set your workout speed, distance, time and calories burned.

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How will this help you work out?

For people that work on shorter desks, most under the desk bikes may not fit well and allow for free motion of your legs back and forth. That is why the DeskCycle is specially designed for shorter desks. Featuring a low pedal height, it can be used even on a 27-inch desk by a person that is 5’8” or shorter. 

Because of it's low profile and lightweight size, you can incorporate workouts at work or home, while working or even while watching TV. The lowest resistance setting is one rotation per second, so you don't have to pedal fast to burn calories. It is therefore easy to exercise while you are doing other things.

What's not so good about this device?

The DeskCycle display is not backlit. This makes it hard to read under low light (such as the underside of your desk - because you will have to bend down to see your stats). 

The calories reset to zero once you hit the 1000 mark, so if you are pedaling for hours and hours straight, all of your progress tracking could be lost.

  • Extremely quiet for discreet workouts at home or office
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Comfortable, allowing one to exercise for long without sweating much
  • 8 calibrated resistance levels from easy to more than you need
  • The angle of the pedals may not be comfortable for everyone
  • The non backlit display makes it hard to set it in low light conditions

8) Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Key features
  • Lightweight and compact in design
  • Quiet and un-intrusive
  • Adjustable tension and monitor
  • Several movement options
  • Available in three color choices 

The Stamina InMotion Trainer is for people who want to burn calories, tone their lower body muscles and improve cardiovascular health without signing up in a gym.  Stamina provides a workout tool that can be used while standing, sitting or by pedaling in reverse motion. Selling at under $100, you can be sure that this is the most affordable way to enjoy convenient and versatile everyday workout. The trainer is strongly built for longevity and is very easy to assemble.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

Unlike other machines on this list, the InMotion Elliptical Trainer can be used while sitting or standing, and can go both fast or slow. Its lightweight and compact body makes it easy to bring anywhere, guaranteeing workouts even with no time to spare. The stepping pedals are easy on the joints and are non-slip for your safety. 

What's not so good about this device?

The elliptical trainer however lacks a handle, making it bulky to carry from one location to the other. For people with bad knees, using it under the desk may not be good for you, as it is much more awkward to use in a sitting position than while standing. It's also got a much higher profile than other items on this list, so be careful to make sure that it actually fits under your desk while in use.

  • It is heavy and sturdy featuring a metal construction
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Can be used while standing, sitting or just pedaling
  • The multi-function monitor to track your progress
  • Adjustable tension controls the intensity of your workouts
  • Requires regular maintenance and lubrication to avoid squeaking while in use
  • Works best for 27 inch high desks and higher, to protect your knees.
  • Awkward to use while sitting

9) Marcy Cardio Mini Cycle available for $46 on Amazon

Key features
  • A portable mini cycle with a table top design.
  • Easy to adjust resistance knob
  • Dual use pedals for both hands and feet
  • A computer display for time, total reps, calories burned and scan mode.

Getting the full benefits of upper and lower body workouts while you are still working is not easy but Marcy Cardio Mini Cycle can guarantee it. Featuring an inbuilt handle that is designed to optimize portability, this is a mini cycle you can rely on to stay active and exercising even at the comfort of your living room. At less than $100, this is one of the more affordable workout tools that can be used in an office.

The mini cycle can help you keep track of your workout thanks to its clear display screen that shows the calories burned, total reps and a timer.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

To enjoy the full benefits of Marcy Cardio Mini Cycle, place it on a table to workout your upper body (cycle with your hands) or under the desk to workout your lower body. You can always keep track of your workouts with the clear display screen, which shows the amount of time your workout has taken, calories burned and number of reps taken. Move it from one location to the other, using its inbuilt handle.

What's not so good about this device?

What makes this device so cheapa and lightweight has a downside - it wears out quickly and the parts are not of the highest quality. Because of its lightweight design, many users have complained of the mini cycle moving along the floor or shaking while they are pedaling. This can be very annoying because you have to cut your workout short to readjust it to move it back to the correct spot.

  • It is portable, compact and of versatile design which makes it easy to use anywhere.
  • Can be used to tone both upper and lower parts of the body
  • An inbuilt computer helps you track down your workout progress
  • Very affordable and easy to use
  • It is not of the best quality and can wear out easily and quickly
  • It doesn't stay in place during workout unless you put it against a wall.

10) Rebel Treadmill 1000 available for $599 on Amazon

Key features
  • Fits under a standing height desk
  • Simple setup required to get it ready
  • Quiet and easy walking
  • Compact control console to help you keep track of your workouts

Coming from a company that is dedicated to changing the lives of people for good, Rebel Treadmill 1000 is your best bet to work actively every day. This under desk treadmill is designed to fit in all kind of environment with standing and adjustable desks. 

It is however one of the most expensive under the desk treadmills on the market today, at over $500.

In its simple setup, the Rebel Treadmill 1000 will come fully assembled. Just remove it from the box, use its front wheels to roll it out and you will be ready to start your workouts.

Image Source: Amazon

How will this help you work out?

The maximum speed of the Rebel 1000 is 2 mph, so it's designed for a brisk and steady walking pace. Rebel promises up to a 30 day refund guarantee, so you can take a few weeks to get used to using the treadmill at work before you decide whether you want to commit to it full time. The motor is designed to run quietly, and the console sound can be switched off so you don't have that annoying beeping disturbing any of your coworkers or family members,

What's not so good about this device?

Again, you need to already have a standing desk or high counter top to be able to use this treadmill option, as it cannot be used while sitting.
The stats tracking your distance traveled and calories burnt will only be retained for 20 mins after use, so if you go for a lunch break and come back, you'll have to start the counter all over again. 

  • Gives you the full benefits of walking while working
  • It is quiet for discreet workouts at home or office
  • Comes fully assembled therefore easy to set up
  • It is an expensive option
  • Must already have a standing desk setup
  • Stats lost after 20 mins not in use

In conclusion...

For many people, a day at work or home means sitting all through, with minimal or no physical movements for hours. Sitting for prolonged time takes toll on one’s health, productivity and mood. Regular exercises are recommended to keep your mood and body active for better efficiency, better moods and also to keep away back pain and other related health issues. Getting a workout tool that allows you to work as your workout is an excellent idea. 

Make sure you keep in mind your budget and office environment while making a choice of under the desk bike or treadmill. With the right tool, you can lose weight, boost your energy levels, heighten your creativity and lose weight among other benefits.