11 Great Under Desk Exercisers
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There are many benefits to working from home. You can eat whenever you want, exercise during the day, and even take naps during your lunch hour. One of my favorite things about working from home is getting to work in exercise throughout the day.
I’ve raved on and on about my standing desk. But the other secret to my success is my under desk bike.
The truth is, I didn’t buy this for my home office. I actually had it under my desk at my real office, but only used it a few times. That’s because every time I used it, my coworkers would make fun of me!
Now that I’m working remotely, I don’t have to worry about jokes from my team when I cycle away. Sure, they might notice that I’m breathing a little heavier when I’m on a call, or that my face is flushed when we’re video conferencing, but even their perspective has changed now that we’ve been working from home for so long.
We’ve all realized by now that it’s not necessarily easy to stay healthy while working from home. We don’t get in as many steps now that our commute involves walking from the couch to our desk, and it’s much easier to snack throughout the day when a fully-stocked fridge is just a room away.
That’s why it’s important to squeeze in some exercise however you can. You’d be surprised how much of a sweat you can work up with a simple under desk exerciser! Sure, it’s not a replacement for your Peloton or an outdoor run, but you can definitely burn some calories and get your heart rate up with these cycles and ellipticals. And I’m a firm believer that any movement is better than none.
If you’re working in an office, most of these options can still be used! Unless your office is super strict and conservative, most people probably won’t even realize you’re using one. They tend to be pretty quiet and unobtrusive.
If your work doesn’t require much talking and your coworkers keep to themselves, they may not even notice you’re using it. My coworkers and I like to joke around, and I made it a point to talk about my new “toy,” but unless you bring attention to it, your desk neighbors may not even realize you’re using an exerciser.
Benefits of an Under Desk Exerciser
If you have a job that requires you to sit in front of the computer all day, you probably already know that sitting is not good for your health. I’ve shared a few times how much I love my standing desk because it encourages me to move around during the day.
Health Benefits of a Desk Cycle
Sitting is so bad for your health that studies have shown that sitting for eight or more hours a day can up your risk of death to levels similar to those caused by obesity or smoking. However, moderate exercise can help counteract those dangers.
One study found that under desk cycling can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that just 23 minutes of peddling a day could counteract the dangers of sitting. Participants in that study burned as many as 500 calories from using the desk cycle, which would certainly add up if you did that every day!
Productivity and Mental Benefits of a Desk Cycle
Using an under desk cycle can also help you get better at your job! A teacher discovered that when her students used desk cycles, their focus improved and they performed better in class.
This isn’t surprising, as studies have shown that regular exercise helps improve memory and thinking skills. Additional studies have shown a marked improvement in focus, attention, and energy when students are active throughout the day. Those same benefits would likely apply to employees working during the day.
Anecdotally, I can say that I’ve found that I’m less fidgety and can focus better when I pedal during the day. I also experienced the same benefit as a reporter from Insider, who found that using a desk cycle kept her warm in her freezing office. As studies have shown that cold offices can negatively impact job performance, that’s a pretty significant benefit!
Exercise is also great for your mental health. When times are tough, adding even a little bit of activity to your day can go a long way. Exercise can reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods, while improving self-esteem and cognitive functioning. All of these benefits are welcome improvements for any office worker.
What to Consider Before Purchasing an Under Desk Exerciser
Before you buy your under desk exerciser, I recommend considering a few important factors that will make a big difference in your experience. It doesn’t matter how slick or functional a bike or elliptical is if you can’t use it because it doesn’t fit in your office. The three main points you should consider are
1) Desk Height
The height of your desk will be key to figuring out what exerciser you can use. Measure the clearance you have under your desk, and consider the length of your own legs and the height of your chair to make sure you’ll be comfortable. If you’re taller than average, you may need to have more under-desk clearance to make sure you don’t knock your knees every time you peddle.
If you plan to use your exerciser in an office or while you’re on calls, you’ll want to make sure it’s quiet so it doesn’t disturb anyone. If you’re alone in a home office and aren’t concerned about a minor whirring sound, this may not be as significant of a concern for you.
Of course, price is also a major factor in choosing your exerciser. You can find basic under desk cycles for under $50, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the features and may have to compromise on the noise levels or height. On the high end, bluetooth-connected under desk ellipticals can cost upwards of $300. With such a wide range of prices, cost might be the primary driver of your decision.
My Pick for the Best Under Desk Exerciser Overall
The DeskCycle 2 is my pick for the best under desk exerciser. Unsurprisingly, it’s the exerciser that I personally use, and the one I chose after doing extensive research to see what would work best for me.
I love the DeskCycle for a few reasons. One, it’s nearly silent. In fact, the only reason my desk neighbors knew I was using it was because they’d hear my labored breathing when I was pedaling on the higher settings.
It also fits perfectly under my desk (both at my corporate office and in my new home office,) and I never had to worry about banging my knees. With a clearance of 27 inches, it’s one of the best bike options for those with lower desks.
My favorite part about the DeskCycle, however, is its range of resistance levels. Most competitors only allow you to adjust the resistance between a few levels, but the DeskCycle has 8 different resistance settings. When I’m planning on cycling for a while, I keep the resistance pretty low at around a 3, but when I want a quick cardio burst or only have a few minutes to squeeze in some activity, I pump it up to a 6 or 7. The higher-level resistance settings are actually pretty strong, so even seasoned cyclists will see a benefit from this under desk bike.
For those concerned about keeping track of your exercise statistics, the DeskCycle 2 has an LED display that shows time, distance, speed, RPM, and calories burned. This can be super helpful if you’re starting a fitness or weight loss routine and want to carefully track all of your activity.
Overall, the DeskCycle 2 has worked really well for me over the last year and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. With a 4.7 star rating and over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, it’s clearly a fan favorite.
Other Under Desk Bicycle Options
The MaxKare Under Desk Exercise Bike has 4.5 stars from over 600 reviews on Amazon. Reviewers mention that they didn’t have any issues with their knees hitting their desk when using this and that it’s nice and quiet. Like the DeskCycle, it has several resistance levels. It also comes with resistance bands that you can use to add in an arm workout during the day. At just over $100, it may be a better option for those who are more cost conscious.
The Sunny Mini Exercise Bike is another good option for those who are looking to stay in the $100 range for their under desk exerciser. I haven’t tried this bike, but I’ve used several other inexpensive Sunny machines and found them to be well-made and a good value for the money. This bike has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon and a rating of 4.5, so it seems customers agree that it’s worth it!
Like the other options, the Sunny Mini Exercise Bike has several resistance levels and an LED display. Customers who reviewed the item on Amazon say the bike fit under their desks without any challenges. However, some users complained that they had issues with a pedal falling off, so this should be considered when evaluating your options.
Best Under Desk Elliptical
If you’re looking for an exerciser with all the bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with a Cubii Pro. At about $350, it’s certainly not cheap, but with a 4.6 rating from almost 2,000 reviews, it seems users think it’s worth it.
The Cubii Pro is whisper quiet and claims to burn up to 125 calories an hour with a super smooth, stable feelt. What really sets it apart, is its bluetooth connectivity. The elliptical has its own iOS and Android Apps that connect to both FitBit and Apple HealthKit, allowing you to effortlessly track your fitness goals. Cubii also offers virtual live exercise classes if you want to kick your efforts up a notch.
This is actually the machine that piqued my interest in under desk exercisers. One of my coworkers owns it and let me borrow it for a little while when she was out of the office. I loved how smooth and effective it was, and definitely understand why people like it so much. However, I prefer the motion of a bike and didn’t need the extras, so I opted to get the DeskCycle instead. Cubii also offers several lower-priced ellipticals for those who don’t need the mobile app.
Other Under Desk Elliptical Options
The Stamina InMotion Compact Strider is a solid option for those looking for an elliptical in the $100 range. With a 4.3 rating from over 5,500 reviews on Amazon, it’s a reliable choice if you’re not looking for anything too fancy. Reviewers mention that it fits fine under their desks and that it’s nice and quiet for an office environment. For those concerned about aesthetics, it comes in three colors, so you can match it to your office decor.
That’s right, DeskCycle now has an elliptical! The Ellipse is a newer product from DeskCycle, but has earned a 4.6 rating from over 300 reviews on Amazon. Reviewers mention that it’s even quieter than the Cubii, and just as well-made as DeskCycle’s bikes. Like the bike, it has a wide range of resistance levels and fits well under most desks. At a similar price to Cubii’s lower-priced Cubii Jr., this might take the top spot in my elliptical ratings once their planned companion app is released.
Best Bargain Under Desk Exerciser
If you’re looking for a no-frills option for an under desk exerciser, you can’t go wrong with the Vaunn Pedal Exerciser. At under $50, this is a great choice if you want to get the feel for an exerciser without spending a lot of money, or if you don’t need any of the extras that come along with the more expensive bikes and ellipticals.
With a 4.3 rating and about 4,700 reviews, it’s clear this is a solid alternative to the expensive cycles available. It’s lightweight and foldable, and even has an LED display for you to track your exercise. Some reviewers mention that it can get a bit noisy, but that it’s easily fixed with some WD40. Users also mention that you won’t get the same amount of resistance as you’d find with the DeskCycle, for example, so it may be better suited to those who are looking to pedal all day long at a lower resistance or for those who aren’t seasoned exercisers.
Other Bargain Under Desk Exercisers
At about $35, you won’t find many options cheaper than the Tabeke Under Desk Bike. Like the Vaunn, it doesn’t have any bells and whistles, but with a 4.3 rating out of almost 1,000 reviews, customers don’t seem to mind. Reviewers mention that you might have some trouble fitting under a desk depending on your height, but they like that it’s nice and lightweight and easy to move around. One reviewer commented that it was perfect for her kids who are home for remote learning, so this might be a great option to share with your own kiddos!
This under desk bike has a 4.2 rating from over 1,400 reviews and is Amazon’s Choice in the category. Like the other low-cost options, you may have difficulties fitting under your desk with this bike if you’re tall, but reviewers like how portable and functional it is otherwise.
Best Standing Desk Exerciser
You don’t have to forgo the benefits of an under desk bike just because you have a standing desk! The Flexispot Adjustable Exercise Bike is designed to fit right under your tall standing desk so you can pedal while you’re not standing.
Unlike the other under desk cycles, this bike isn’t just a set of pedals that you use from your own chair. The Flexispot is more comparable to a traditional stationary bike, with a bike seat that you use as your chair. This may not be the best option for those looking for a more comfortable set up, but it certainly allows you to get a more complete workout at your desk.
The benefit of the Flexispot Adjustable Exercise Bike Desk versus other full bicycle desks is that when you’re not using it, you can simply push it aside or under your standing desk, and go back to standing as you would normally. It’s nice and compact, so you can easily switch between the two positions throughout the day. With 4.5 stars and over 450 reviews, this is a great option for those who have tall standing desks.
Best Desk Bicycle
The Exerpeutic Exerwork Folding Desk Bike is a great option if you want to take your workday exercising up a notch. It’s a full bike with a desk attached, allowing you to pedal more naturally as you work. It comes with 24 workout programs and 24 resistance levels to match your fitness goals. With bluetooth connectivity and a mobile app, you can easily track your activity.
The bike has a 4.3 rating from 1,300 reviews, and at the same price as the Cubii Pro, is a great option if you have the space for a full bike. It easily folds so it doesn’t take up too much room, and reviewers love how quiet it is. For those looking for a desk that can double as a real exercise machine, this may be your best bet.
Best Accessories for Under Desk Exercisers
Once you purchase an under desk exerciser, you may find you need some additional items to complete your office fitness setup. These accessories will help make your office gym perfect.
Furniture stoppers are a must have if your desk chair has wheels that don’t lock in place. Simply slip these under the wheels and your chair will stay in one place as you cycle all day long. These were a game changer for me when I started using my DeskCycle, and I can’t recommend them enough. Trust me, if you can’t lock your wheels, you’ll constantly slip backwards as you pedal, making it much more difficult to complete your work and lessening the effectiveness of your exercise.
Depending on the surface you place your exerciser on, it may slip at times. Place a mat like the Cubii Workout Mat underneath to keep it from moving as you pedal. It’s important that your exerciser stay as stationary as possible, because unexpected movement could cause you to overstretch and potentially injure yourself.
When evaluating under desk exercisers, it’s important to consider your goals and preferences. If you know that you have trouble sticking with an exercise program, you may want to try a lower-priced model at first to see if it’s something you’ll continue using, rather than investing in a high-priced Cubii right away. Think about what’s really important to you, or you won’t use your exerciser, no matter how great it is.
Under desk exercisers are a great option to stay fit during the workday, but they’re not the only way to meet your fitness goals at work. Check out these must-have items to stay fit while working from home.