Those who know me well, know I’m a big fan of “lifehacking,” which I guess can best be described as utilizing tips, tricks, technology, ideas in different ways to live more effective and efficiently. Sometimes this means using software like TDP to improve your relationship with your wife or in this case it means using an “elliptical” (when you click the link you’ll see why I used quotes around elliptical) machine under your desk.
The fact of the matter is I sit a lot, especially during the week. When you work in front of a computer, as most of us do, you spend the vast majority of your time in a chair, staring at a screen (as they say, “Sitting is the Smoking of our Generation.“). I’ve been obsessed with the Treadputer ever since I first saw it on Brad Feld’s blog over 6 years ago, and told myself I would build one of those, one day when I had more space to work with. Unfortunately, NYC and space don’t really belong in the same sentence. I’ve also been exploring standing desks as an option to be healthier at work, but having experimented with a few versions, I was never really happy with the experience. I wanted an option that would be healthier than just sitting, but also was not too disruptive to my workflow, and didn’t take up a ton of space. Solution? The Staminia Elliptical:
Thanks to Jay, I’ve been using this guy to pedal at my desk for almost a month now and I LOVE it. I had to swap out my desk chair to fit my knees perfectly under the desk, but other than that I didn’t really have to change anything about my setup. I can easily pedal while typing and while browsing. I even pedal while on calls or google hangouts, usually without people noticing. It’s pretty quiet, although I don’t have a mat for it so it does tend to scoot and occasionally bump into my trash bin making a bit of noise.
I know this is not a full workout or a replacement for one and I also know it doesn’t fully negate the experience of sitting for hours and hours on end, but it I really love being able to pedal throughout the day for many reasons including:
- Increased energy. Seriously. I no longer drink coffee after 11am, and I’ve found that when I start to feel a little drowsy come 3pm, kicking into an hour of pedaling really perks me up.
- Better focus. I’m not sure why exactly, but I definitely have better focus while pedaling, almost as if moving my legs is just enough distraction to occupy the “monkey mind,” who wants to open another tab.
- A little sweat. Yes, even though it doesn’t really feel like a workout, I can definitely get in pedaling grooves where I can start to feel a bit of sweat on my brow. I like that.
- Increased heart rate. I’ve been pedaling for about an hour today while at my desk, and I just measured my pulse at 90 bpm.
- I just feel better. At the end of a long day I feel less burnt, and healthier. I know this is vague, and hard to back up in anyway, but I really do feel better. That’s worth it to me.
- I’m burning calories -The digital display says I’m burning 90-100 calories per hour of pedaling. I’m not sure I really believe that, but I know I’m definitely burning something.
A few things you should know if you are considering one of these:
- You need about 7 inches of clearance between your knees and the bottom of your desk with your feet flat on the ground while sitting in your chair. I actually found I had a little bit less than that, but it hasn’t been a problem. You will also need at least 27.5 inches between the bottom of your desk and the floor for this to work.
- Don’t count on the digital display. I’ve seen a number of complaints in the amazon reviews, and mine stopped working after about 4 days. It is stuck on counting the number of rotations and I can no longer see distance or calories burned, not that I trusted those numbers anyway.
- You’ll need good padding on your chair. Trust me.
- Switch directions throughout the day
- I don’t pedal all day and you probably shouldn’t too. I’m usually good for 2-3 hour sessions with an hour break.
Pick one up, and enjoy burning a few more calories while being more focused at work….and yes, I pedaled while I wrote this post: