office desk exercise machines?
September 20, 2005 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Is there a (silent) exercise machine that an office or cubical worker can use to exercise their legs while working at the computer. Not like a thighmaster, or rubber bands, but something more like a step-stair or cycle or similar system under the desk.

I find myself constantly needing to flex and stretch my legs as I work, and it gets annoying. A step or cycle type exercise would largely solve this, and on top of that, it would be (mild) exercise. I don't really want anything involving attaching elastic to my feet - I need to be able to step out at a whim, not be shackled to the desk. Pedals on the floor under the desk seems the perfect solution, though I guess an under-desk stepper or cycle would presumably hook onto the office chair, or have it's own, else you'd just end up pushing your chair away from the stepper.

(If such a device does not exist, consider this a cue to invent one and make a fortune. :-)
posted by -harlequin- to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm not sure how much of a work out one of these pedal exercisers would actually provide, but my mother has one and I think it would work under a desk?
posted by sarahmelah at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2005

Best answer: How about this mini-stepper?
posted by necessitas at 12:59 PM on September 20, 2005

Best answer: Someone in my office has a mini-cycle from The Sharper Image. It fits under her desk and is very quiet, as far as I can tell.

posted by elquien at 12:59 PM on September 20, 2005

commute to work via bicycle. you'll be healthier, happier in the office, and sleep better.
posted by yonation at 1:11 PM on September 20, 2005

commute to work via bicycle. you'll be healthier, happier in the office, and sleep better.

That's not possible for everyone, yonation, and you know it. I'm lucky enough to work from home, so riding to work on a bike every morning is a bit silly (besides, the handle bars keep getting stuck in the stair railing as I come down every morning).

I'd think a stationary mini bike would do you just fine. My only problem with something like this would be the fact that you're wearing business clothes, which, particularly during the colder months, would be ill-suited to even mild exercise, and may cause you problems. I'm a little overweight, so I tend to sweat when the sun looks at me just casually (perhaps with a twinkle in its eye). When I would work in an office, I typically had a bar of soap, deoderant, tooth stuff, and a brush to work through my hair. I'd suggest the same for you if you go this route.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:16 PM on September 20, 2005

commute to work via bicycle.

Wow, besides not answering the question, that presumes an awful lot about harlequin's commuting distance, not to mention the climate he lives in, the hours he works, and how safe that might be. Riding a bike 20 miles to work in Chicago in the middle of January, for example, isn't exactly a recipe for health, happiness, and satisfying circadian rhythms.
posted by scody at 1:21 PM on September 20, 2005

scody, +10 for the best rebuttal.
yonation, -15 for the smug tude that makes cyclists look bad.

Personally, at the office, I just make it a habit to get up and walk around when I can. Even a five-minute stroll rejuvenates the legs.

Is it possible for you to work on a laptop or anything like that, where you can go change your surroundings every so often? Then you can go stretch wherever it feels right and still get work done.
posted by symphonik at 1:27 PM on September 20, 2005

A recap!

Harlequin asks:
Is there a (silent) exercise machine that an office or cubical worker can use to exercise their legs while working at the computer?

yonation replies:
commute to work via bicycle. you'll be healthier, happier in the office, and sleep better.

In other words, you didn't answer the question. At all. For all you know, he already commutes to work via bicycle. That's irrelevant to the question.

That said, I wonder how high in quality that Spiegel desk bike thing. I'm intrigued...
posted by glenwood at 2:13 PM on September 20, 2005

Best answer: If you have room in your cubicle, you might try getting a big rubber yoga ball to replace your desk chair. This allows you to exercise and stretch your legs, improves your posture, and helps you to productively channel nervous energy/fidgets.
posted by googly at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2005

Maybe it's overkill but check this out. A doctor at the Mayo Clinic changed the physical layout of his office to walk (slowly) all day on a treadmill while working at a stand-up desk. Lose weight! Feel good! And if your boss is after you, crank that sucker up and head for the hills!
posted by mono blanco at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2005

I'm with googly: exercise ball.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:36 PM on September 20, 2005

Third the big inflatable ball chair.

In my casual search for one a few weeks ago, they come by different names, and the name will determine the price for what seem to be exactly the same product. "Yoga balls" tend to run around $30, while "Exercise balls" are more like $15-20.

MAKE SURE YOU GET THE RIGHT SIZE. I'm just slightly under 6', and the 65cm balls are too small for me to sit comfortably at a desk, even at max inflation. The 75cm one is just right (at less than its max capacity).

I got this one, which also ships free if you have Amazon Prime.
posted by Caviar at 8:47 AM on September 21, 2005

Response by poster: A yoga ball is a good solution from a direction I wasn't thinking, and I might experiment with these some time in the future.

I think I'll first check out the Sharper Image cycle though - it looks like it will do the job, and I can presumably fairly easily rig up a strap or something to hook it to the chair to foil Newton's "equal and opposite reaction" catch. At $99 it's more expensive, but the angle I'll be pushing against it will be low, and the shape of the feet and the weight seem better suited to that kind of use.

Sarahmelah's link actually has a range of mini cyclers.

As to cycle commuting, there are indeed many benefits, but I'm already doing this. In fact, I sometimes wonder if being fairly active is part of the reason my legs start to rebel when I'm sitting still. (or maybe it's the other way around :)

Regarding persperation in work clothes, I'm not expecting any problems - I won't be doing a serious workout, just giving my legs some resistance and motion, and the place is nicely air-conditioned. And any speedometer readout will be safely under the desk where there is no risk of me seeing it and trying to get it higher and higher until things spiral out of control :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:23 PM on September 21, 2005

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