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Should You Cycle…at Your Desk?

Topics: Work Culture

Getting to the gym can be hard and riding your bike in the snow and cold means having to deal with…snow and cold. So to keep up with your exercise resolutions, you might look to new ways to keep fit while you work.

From treadmill desks to workplace yoga, you’ve probably tried a few ways to get some movement in between meetings — but have you tried a pedal desk?

Pro: Cycle Desks Can Be Discreet

A cycle desk or pedal desk doesn’t have to mean getting an indoor bike trainer and setting up your whole bicycle at your workstation (though it can, if you’re into that).

Instead, it involves a small version of a bike pedal setup that you put under your desk while you type away. A few writers at the Huffington Post tried them out, and they had positive things to say about cycling at work. They found it interesting, but not necessarily easy to pick up automatically.

“I’m not a fitness multitasker….[but] the DeskCycle was a pleasant surprise. I was able to answer emails and move my legs,” says Meredith Melnick.

Pro: No More Fidget Spinners

If you’ve got a natural tendency to jiggle your leg or tap your feet at your desk, then a desk cycle setup could be right for you.

“I’m a natural fidgeter already — I’m that annoying girl who’s shaking her foot while sitting down — so I guess this just gave more ‘purpose’ to my movement. Even though I didn’t pedal straight through the whole day — I did it for half-hour chunks at a time, spread across the workday — I still felt that nice soreness in my legs by quitting time,” says Amanda L. Chan at HuffPost.

Have a child who can’t sit still? Lots of classrooms have found innovative ways to help kids expend all that energy while still hanging at their desks and being productive, which include pedal desks, balance balls and bouncy cords underfoot. Restless adults benefit in ways that kids do, with the added bonus of burning a few more calories.

Con: They Mean More Sitting

If you love your standing desk, or just find yourself working more on-the-go than while seated, then a cycle desk wouldn’t be likely to fit your lifestyle. If you have a day filled with back-to-back meetings and hardly even see your desk except to grab a different file or two, then it won’t be quite right, either.

Or, if you’re trying to get out of the sitting habit, since studies have shown that sitting all day can do more harm than even the gym can erase, then it’s not too clear whether a cycle desk can erode that seated damage. Although, at least one study found some hopeful signs that even a little desk cycling can help us be healthier, despite all the sitting.

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