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My family has quite the history with little bikes that go under the desk.
It was a small metal stand with cranks and pedals sticking out of it. This was the deluxe model, so there was a little knob for adjusting the resistance.
I’m not sure it ever made it to her office. We grandchildren used it as a plaything. The one time I did try pedaling it like a bike, it slid all over the floor, and I slid out of my chair.
(Since I was only six at the time, we can’t blame the fitness equipment.)
Several decades later, my father-in-law picked up one just like my grandmothers for $5 at a yard sale. Frankly, I was impressed they were able to get that much out of him.
He tried it for awhile under his seat but ran into a lot of the same frustrations I had as a kid. We soon figured out that it worked well on his desk as an arm workout.
So he’d set it on his desk, and pedal it with his hands while he answered calls.
Sure looked funny, but hey, he was burning more calories than the next guy!!
A Solid Weight Loss Strategy
For better or for worse, we Americans spend a lot of time sitting down.
This suppresses our metabolism and makes weight gain unavoidable.
As you suspected, pedaling at your desk can significantly boost your caloric burn. When I set my Deskcycle to the lowest resistance setting and leisurely pedal along, I’m burning an extra 100 calories per hour.
Over the course of an 8 hour day, that’s an added 1800 calories!
And I mean, I am barely going anywhere (we’re talking 4 miles an hour, here.)
But this little bit of action triples the calorie burn I would otherwise be doing.
Here’s the thing, it is not just the calorie burn that matters. It’s the hormone jumpstart.
You see, when your body is sedentary, it boosts insulin production and other hormones related to fat storage and prepares your body to hang onto fat in case you need it in the future.
When you start exercising, that triggers your body to produce an entirely different cascade of hormones. Hormones related to BURNING that fat.
So that even when you skip gym day… Even when you accidentally break diet and have a scoop of ice cream…
Your body is now predisposed to process those calories as energy instead of storing them as fat.
A Better DeskCycle
The under desk cycling devices have improved a lot over the one my grandmother had.
Not what you want in a modern working environment.
The DeskCycle takes these concerns head on and strives to deliver the best desk cycling experience.
A lot of offices are going to standing desks.
Standing desks are great. They engage your core and get you up off your tush.
But for those of us with weak knees and backs, standing has its limitations
In fact, OSHA has guidelines for how long and under what conditions employees can stand.
Even if your office offers standing desks, you may not be able to use them for an eight hour work day.
The DeskCycle offers a low-impact way to burn calories. You don’t have to stress your joints, and it is an ideal way to workout if you have bad knees or a bad back.
Plus, the DeskCycle May burn more calories. According to JustStand.org, I would burn around 30% more calories at a standing desk. I can easily double my caloric burn (100% increase) by doing some super-light pedaling with the DeskCycle.
The height of this trainer is only 10 inches. A lot of the competition, like the Magnetrainer, is 15 inches. Sunny Fitness’ version is 14 inches tall.
This lower profile means that you can use it with desks as short as 27 inches. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an office desk that low.
But when you figure that your legs are going to be going up and down — you want as low of a profile as possible, so you aren’t knocking your knees on the top of your desk.
The Deskcycle delivers that.
Granted, most of these devices are easy to pick up and move around. This one comes in close to the same weight as the Magnetrainer.
I couldn’t find an exact weight, but I think it is about 20 pounds.
This is important if they move you around in your office quite a bit, or if you are buying it for an elderly person.
You also want it to be heavy enough to stay in one place while you pedal it. And, thanks to the Deskcycle’s low center of gravity, does that quite well.
One of my biggest complaints is the noise some of the machines make.
Thanks to the use of a fluid resistance mechanism, this one is extremely quiet. Which is key for me because I don’t like being noticed or annoying to my coworkers.
Typically you don’t see the fluid resistance units used on these machines. So this is a nice feature that gives you real-world resistance.
You can pedal this under your desk all day, and few folks will give it a second glance.
A Stable Base
This one has 20″ wide legs on the front and 15″ on the back. This creates an unbelievably stable workout machine.
It’s not wobbling all over as you try to pedal. And it means that you can pedal along absent-mindedly while you stay focused on your work.
Improves Focus – No Sweat Required!
If you have used a stationary bike at the gym you undoubtedly associated working out with sweat.
For pedaling at work, you want to keep the resistance low. Set it at one. Or maybe two.
You’ll still burn plenty of calories, but you aren’t working up a lather.
Furthermore, it boosts circulation and thereby your oxygen. We all know that going for a walk break is great for boosting the focus.
Think of what will happen when you are boosting that focus all throughout your workday!
Working out is only a good as the bragging rights.
I’m not joking.
I love being able to compete with my friends. I love coming home and bragging about pedaling 12 miles during my shift.
I love the competition. I love beating my averages from the week before.
The LCD screen measures your distance, your speed, your time and gives you a calories estimation.
It records your distance whether you are pedaling forward or backward so you can workout both sets of leg muscles equally.
Using A Fitbit With The Deskcycle
Most of us have some kind of activity tracking device that we wear (mine is the Samsung Galaxy S2 Watch).
It would be nice if there were a way to wirelessly integrate your deskcycle workout with your tracking system.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any good systems for this. There are those who attach their Fitbit to one of the legs. The Fitbit One can be clipped to your sock, for example.
However, it tracks movement like walking, which is an entirely different level of calorie burn than cycling is.
A much better system is to track your activity manually. You can take the calorie and workout estimates right from the LCD read- out, and then you can input your height and weight into the Calculator tool on their website.
This will give you a much more accurate way to track your daily activity levels.
There are some excellent desk cycle alternatives.
The Magnetrainer brand is one that also offers special hand grips for working out the arm. But it is taller, so for
working out at the office, I would choose the DeskCycle.
However, I think the Magnetrainer might be my top pick if I was going to use it at home a lot and wanted it for the arm workouts.
The Sunny Cycle also looks like an excellent alternative. It has a handle on top for easy transport.
For offices where the cycle will be going from desk to desk, the handle can be an excellent feature. So if several of you are chipping in together, the handle makes it easy to move around throughout the work day.
For the desk jockey, staying active is a life-or-death decision. The Deskcycle is a stealthy way to burn some calories while at work.
However, if a lot of the employees in your office are hoping to use it, you might be better off investing in a Fitdesk 2.0 since it is more accessible than lugging the device from desk to desk.
The other downside is that your desk and seat may need to be adjustable to work with this.
You need to be able to lift your feet about 10 inches off the ground, and still have clearance for your knees.
For the call center employee, secretary or work from home entrepreneur who wants to stay in shape, I believe the Deskcycle to be one of the best ways to keep the calorie burn high throughout the day.