Staying Healthy While Sitting All Day
Humans are an active, mobile species. Staying in place makes us wither. We aren’t meant to stay put, but made to move. Research and (inconclusive) authority sites have time and again shown that staying stationary is bad for your health.Yet humans just love to sit. Whether slouching in the couch at home or spending hour after hour at the desk at work, we love our sitting.
This had been left unchecked until modern times when empirical data backed age-old wisdom about links to severe declines in health from overextended periods of sitting or lying. When this blew up years ago, myriad solutions were attempted, to varying degrees of success and effectiveness, but they were neutral at best, and truth be told, most failed to address the root problem, and it therefore persisted.
Thankfully, it is also in our nature to seek out that solution no matter how long it took. And as funny as it may sound, such a solution had been found that marries the ability to sit and work with the health benefits of constant motion, and it’s called the bike desk. This site is dedicated to showing everything you need to know about this underrated yet extremely useful machine. It isn’t just about the device, but the wonders it can do for your body, your fitness, and the comfort of doing it during work time at the office.
In today’s world where technology does the brunt of the heavy lifting, as well as tools requiring more time spent at rest, almost half of all jobs are based in the office. And therein lies the problem: Most of the time spent at work in the office is spent sitting down. And prolonged sitting is bad for you. Or worse.
Backed by empirical data, it isn’t the act of sitting that has been hazardous to peoples’ health over an extended period; rather, it’s the stationary, unmoving portion of the process that has been the culprit.
Attempts at Solutions
There have been many attempts to solve this, including the standing table where workers stand while working on their documents and computers on elevated tables, as well as working treadmills where the working desk had been integrated onto a working treadmill that a worker is supposed to walk on while doing work.
Why Earlier Attempts Fail
The problem with the earlier ideas is that people are uncomfortable (at best) standing or doing treadmills for an extended period of time— especially while you’re trying to juggle that with your work, and especially in trying to do that all day, everyday.
What’s more, the jarring, headache-inducing motion of walking while trying to keep your hands steady while reading, writing or working with documents make this all but impossible to efficiently and effectively do.
“A” Best Solution: The Bike Desk
While the jury is still out on a perfect, proven solution (including various configurations such as a step-machine pedal instead of a regular one for bicycles), one system has consistently shown promise beyond shadows of a doubt; a way to get the health benefits of not sitting… while sitting. This is its premise: You can do all the work while seated, with the comfort that sitting brings, and without the bouncing, migraine-making elements of working on top of a treadmill all day.
It’s a solution that is as useful as it is simple, and is a good whack in the head making people wonder why they didn’t come up with the idea sooner themselves or why didn’t such a machine arrive earlier. That’s because this device exists, and it’s called a bike desk.
A bike desk combines the benefits of keeping fit and healthy from exercising, with the comfort of being seated. And doing this in any regularity or interval while you do your work on your computer, documents and just about any work you already do.
What’s more, you don’t need a huge apparatus the size of a tank (or with a weight of one) to transport into the office that disrupts your lifestyle. All it takes is a relatively small device, made of pedals on a machine less than the size of a bike, that fits neatly into the bottom of your desk that you can conveniently put your feet on and pedal away just as easily. In fact, some of these are even specifically made for use in an office environment, whether it’s the home-office or a corporate environment.
Enter the Indoor Under Table Cycle
The Bike Desk entered the health and fitness market starting its incarnation as a version of the popular gym staple, the exercise bike.
These fitness cycles didn’t really blast open the popularity in desk bikes immediately, but did get the proverbial shot in the arm when reports started coming out about how sitting down was potentially hazardous to peoples’ health.
It may sound like an irony that the solution to the health risks of sitting down was a machine that required you to well, sit down. But there’s a bit of a roundabout way that happened.
At first, as more and more reports, research and studies came out about the damage wrought by extended sitting, recommendations started by telling people to exercise often, as vigorously as one can permit.
Hitting the gym is the most effective place to start and the most logical selection. Unfortunately, studies have refuted its all-encompassing advantage because new research has shown how rapid bursts of activity isn’t enough to counter the long-term damage wrought when that gym routine is tempered with sitting at the office the rest of the day, as well as more sitting at home such when watching TV or virtual carousing with friends on Facebook.
Standing and the Standing Desk
Another way this was addressed was the idea that instead of sitting, people should be standing most of the time instead. Standing at work, standing while watching TV, standing while everything. (You can be sure visions of the Flintstones are invoked when considering standing while driving.) The standing desk seemed like a great idea.
Then, as you might imagine, as more studies arrive, it turns out, standing isn’t all that great after all. Doing that is the same as siting all day, and not save anyone from the dangers of sitting.
In fact, standing in some ways can be worse. That’s because you get all the risks of sitting down, while suffering from the effects of extended standing, including varicose veins, weaker knees (instead of stronger ones), fatigue, constant fidgeting, and the effects of eventually leaning, as anyone is prone to do when you get tired from standing for too long.
As such, the standing desk, for all its hopes and promise, was eventually relegated to the “could’ve been”.
The Treadmill Desk
Then came the treadmill desk. There is a lot to be said about the treadmill desk, and for the most part, it actually held the true and real potential for fixing the problem with over-sitting. It keeps you moving, gives great cardio, makes one sweat, and so on.
But therein also lay its myriad problems: sweating at the office on a treadmill desk isn’t as savory to officemates nearby. The noise and distraction brought by the treadmill is very significant at best, downright annoying as well as disturbing and distracting at worst. Logistically, the treadmill desk requires more effort and cost to transport to the office or around it, limiting your mobility once installed.
Ultimately, the biggest problem is the user’s effectiveness and ability to work. That’s because when you’re briskly walking on a treadmill, the up-down motion, your efforts to balance and keep pace with the speed of the machine, and a host of other factors severely limit your ability to do your work.
Try walking (or running) briskly (as on a treadmill) and you can see how disruptive the movement can be in your vain efforts to try to write those paperwork properly, make reports cleanly, or use that computer to code, design or make Powerpoint slides.
The Bike Desk
Enter the desk bike. It gets all the benefits of a treadmill desk, addresses all the issues all other routines and machines engendered, and ultimately addresses the risks of stationary sitting.
What’s more, it isn’t very disruptive so you can go about pedaling and doing your exercise on the machine, with little noise and distraction to coworkers, it enables you to have an optimal cardiovascular workout without sweating so much (depending on how you set the machine’s resistance and your desired level, or the amount of effort you would like to put into the exercise, all of which you choose to do on the fly).
You can transport it to and from the office or home, and easily move it around once installed. And all other benefits that are mostly unique to it.
Easy to Transport, Install and Use
Best of all, a desk cycle isn’t even something you think of as a bit lump or set. It doesn’t necessarily have to be integrated so the desk is attached to the bicycle or pedal apparatus.
In fact, you can simply use any existing desk at your leisure, and simply plop the pedalling exercise machine (after a little assembly or installation of batteries if required) on the floor right under your desk at work, or below your feet at the sofa at home while you watch TV. Then voilá, that’s all there is to it. You put your feet on the pedals and exercise away.
There are different types of machines too, from a choice from a really manual, cheap one to a moderately-priced fancier ones with multiple resistance levels and monitors.
In fact, there are many DIY possibilities too as many people repurpose their regular bicycles by putting a stand on them and putting them next to their desks, effectively making their version of a desk bike right there.
Even if You Exercise All Day
What really gives it the advantage is because unlike being in the gym that requires you undergo spurts of exercise (lest you stay there all day), the pedal desk allows the user to vary their routine, or do it when it’s convenient for them. They can stop or go easily without breaking momentum, or just continue exercising without disrupting their writing or work. It can almost be invisible in your routine.
Yet it gives you the exercise edge, make the blood flow, and even if done the whole day, not compromise your work.
Therefore, as more and more studies came out about the hazards of extended periods of sitting— especially those on a consistent basis like millions of people find themselves at their office jobs lately, and after other solutions came up short— the humble desk cycle emerged like a Superman to become the solution to this growing threat and need, providing the kind of benefits required to combat the dangers of extended sitting while still enabling people to be productive at work.
All this while blasting away at detractors and functional competition to become the best solution to the sedentary lifestyle.
Even beyond the health benefits, it keeps boredom away by allowing you to do a real exercise while your legs and the rest of your body are not moving. People already wiggle feet or rock their bodies when the boredom and monotony of staying in one position hits.
Fun Way to Exercise
Face it, Some exercise routines are the kind you just have to get done and over with. Others are more fun to do. Standing and walking all day are not fun to do. Sitting is fun. But over-sitting while stationary is bad. So when you enter the pedal-powered fitness desk that allows you to sit while you exercise, it is as close to a miracle as any you can define for a machine, or one’s health.
On a bike desk chair, you fix all that in one swing. In fact, the exercise itself is a pleasure, gaining you more calorie-burning power with less the discomfort or monotony of other exercise routines.
All this while you’re able to do your work as you normally would on your desk, or as you enjoy that TV show for as long as you want. You can pedal away for 20 minutes while doing other things, or have at it for hours on end while you work. It’s just that easy, though by no means relaxed of course, as you’ll be puffing the whole way through, depending on the intensity you wish to have.
It is like the penicillin of exercise: a wonder drug, or wonder-machine, that is underrated yet as effective in combating the worst effects of a sedentary lifestyle or simply as a way to stay fit easily.
Not Even Expensive
It doesn’t cost millions of dollars, require a Herculean effort to do, or hassle you with having to remember steps or intervals.
You just buy it, drop it, then use it for a lifetime as little or as often as you want, as easy or as hard as you set it or desire.
The Real Culprit
This brings us full circle to the main issue. It isn’t sitting or standing per se that causes the damage. We’ve been sitting or standing long before we started working. We’ve done it all our lives as students, after all. But as you age, you become more susceptible to the vestiges of time and why the risks of being stationary is more pronounced.
As such, the point is not that sitting or standing alone being the culprit: it is about being motionless, and the bad effects of being immobile for a longer period than normal, especially if this is something you do all day such as at work.
Whether you’re sitting too much as the office, standing all day without much movement, or like lying down in bed all day, the problem is the stationary way the body is effectively at rest for an extended period that is the culprit.
The Bike Desk and Why It’s All About Activity
Therefore, the key solution is as simple as it is sublime: activity. Movement. That’s all there is to it.
You don’t need to be playing tennis at the office all day. You simply need to attenuate long bouts of sitting with sporadic moments of intense activity, such as determining to stand up and do some exercises every hour or so, or to stand up to walk around and get the blood flowing to your feet regularly, or any of the exercises and routines that can be done at the office.
Or, if you want to benefit from the advantages of all that in a more passive way that doesn’t require you to keep watching the clock if an hour or so has passed so you can do a certain regimen or two, all that’s needed is a desk bike.
You can do all you want as much or as little as you choose. You get to do all the activity required to combat the risks of immobility; and best of all, even if you disregard all its benefits, it’s just fun to do and sure beats the boredom and monotony of staying in the office all day and working your hands and mind but have your body, legs and feet doing nothing the whole time.
Benefits More Than Features
Many times, the benefits of a tool or machine is extremely underrated beyond its direct and immediate use.
People may use them for one primary purpose, even though the benefits one can derive from it is plentiful.
The car, internal combustion engine, personal computer, smartphone, duct tape, and a litany of other “tools” are technically intended for one or a few primary uses, but they are indispensable to us in countless ways practically every day.
The desk cycle is like that. Starting as a humble answer to the panic over the dangers of over sitting, it is still primarily used for that purpose but its benefits have ballooned in ways not quickly evident, and its implications go beyond solving motion paralysis while working at the office.
That’s because the little “exercise device that can” at the heart of the bike desk is an entire health and workout megafactory crammed in a little apparatus with pedals attached, that you can place under or attach to a work desk, used as an under desk exercise bike.
Where it really shines, however, is how it can squeeze more bang per joule of exercise and effort you put into it. Unlike, say, the noisy, overtiring, heavy-sweat-inducing, dizzying and discomforting nature of a treadmill desk, with a pedal exercising machine you get to do more work (in fact, as much work without loss, or even more due to its many benefits) with as much or even with less workout and effort.
For the same amount of work or even less, or at least with more comfort, you get similar benefits from the same calories burned and circulation generated from exercising, absent the many downsides and issues associated with other devices like the aforementioned treadmill desk.
This is akin to being able to leverage a relatively small amount of investment in exercise that pays off handsomely in so many levels.
Take a look at just some of the benefits of using a bike desk:
- You save yourself from the dangers of stationary sitting
- You alleviate yourself from the issues surrounding standing all day, especially in an environment like the office
- Minimal impact in your ability to continue working (unlike, say, a treadmill desk that makes your body jiggle and bounce, making it almost impossible to work)
- You get to exercise and gain all the benefits of it to your health and fitness
- This keeps your blood and bodily fluids circulating, even all day
- You can vary the speed, resistance, level or other factors easily without disturbing your regular work style
- There is minimal distraction to your working habits, and minimal distraction to your office mates
- The “stigma” factor and attention-grabbing nature of the machine is greatly reduced all the way to eliminated
- The hassles of transporting the equipment (as is the case with a treadmill desk) is nonexistent
- The relatively small size of the desk exerciser allows you to easily slip it under your desk, or move it to another location easily
- You have the option to exercise in short spurts, pedal for a few minutes, or go for the long haul and even work out all day.
- That is a benefit all its own: you can stop and continue as many times as you want, for as little time or as long as you want. Therefore, it also allows you to even exercise all day
- Because of its lower impact, the “sweat” and stink from huffing and perspiring all day while using the machine are greatly reduced
- Among the many cardiovascular and other health and fitness benefits, this also translates to getting you happier overall.
- What’s more, you become more creative and productive in the process. All that blood happily circulating isn’t just in your lower extremities—it goes all the way to keeping the mind healthy
- You get to use (exercise) your otherwise immobile body while at the same time do your regular work without any disruption
- There are even specialty benefits according to use case or vertical, such as how stationary bike desks can double as arm exercise machines, especially to people who use wheelchairs and other persons with disability
The New Workstation
To cite just one example, though using the cycle desk is exercise, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring. What’s boring is your legs not moving the whole time you’re at your desk working. As such, pedaling at the under desk bike is not only therapeutic and healthy, it can even actually be fun!
FoxNews even has a feature on how the desk cycle gives new meaning to the term “workstation” and agrees nobody now has the excuse to not get fit because they are swamped with work.
This is not all. It scratches the surface. While its immediate use (exercise while at work or seated, especially over an extended period of time) is all-important in itself, it lists benefits beyond its original purpose. In fact, there are more gains to be had from the humble foot pedal exerciser beyond its immediate use. So get pumped and get started.
So dig in and enjoy BicycleDesk.com. We’ve got loads of content, specials, reviews and ratings you can enjoy and find invaluable. We’re glad you made it, and we hope we open your eyes to the wonders, joys and benefits of working out at the office in convenience, for as little or as long as you want.