Editor’s note: In April we wrote about studies showing people who sit for long periods of time each day had more instances of illness and a shorter life span. We asked readers for input, and several suggested standing or treadmill desks. DeskCycle ( deskcycle.com) offered us a stationary bike that fits under the desk to try out for review.
I sit a lot. A lot. Between a 45-minute-each-way commute and a job where increasingly everything I do is online, I am a prime candidate for all the newly discovered consequences of the sedentary life. So I’m always in the market for a way to get more exercise during the day.
The first thing we discovered when the DeskCycle ($149 on Amazon.com) arrived was that there was some assembly required – but don’t let that dissuade you. The instructions are clear, and all the tools you need are included. It took about 15 minutes to put together (and I felt much more accomplished than I deserve).
The DeskCycle was much sturdier than we expected. It’s made of fairly heavy plastic and metal, so it stays in place, which is more than I can say for my chair when I started cycling. There is a strap provided to keep your chair from rolling back, but I ended up just lodging one of my chair wheels inside the legs of the DeskCycle. That put me at just the right distance to pedal and still read my computer screen.
It attracted a lot of attention the first couple of days. Most people wondered if it would be too noisy for the close quarters of an office. Not at all. All of the working parts are enclosed and there is essentially no noise.
I always like to measure my progress, so I liked the LCD display monitor showing speed, distance, time pedaled and calories burned. Without much effort, I was putting in about 15 miles a day. The monitor attaches to the DeskCycle on the floor, or with the extension cord and desk stand provided, it can sit on your desk at eye level. I liked the desk stand, but carelessly let the extension cord get caught up in the pedals, causing it to rip out the connection.
There were a few things to get used to with desk cycling – like how to pedal in heels. And I found the motion of pedaling to be slightly distracting while I was trying to work, but lowering the pedal resistance helped. Also, research suggests that even occasional movement is beneficial, so I soon stopped worrying that I wasn’t continually pedaling.
Verdict: I don’t know that I’m happier, less stressed and more productive, as the DeskCycle’s website claims, but it is an easy way to painlessly sneak in some exercise – and just maybe it will extend my life span.