Bike Desk Buying Guide
What is a bike desk?
By now, you’ve probably heard of the numerous scientific studies conducted over the past five years pointing to evidence that living a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our health and well-being. This detriment has less to do with the act of sitting and more to do with the lack of movement and activity. Bike desks allow users to stay active while working at our desks and computers. While some bike trainer desks can be used for a cardio workout, the true benefits are attributed to slow pedaling over longer periods throughout the workday. The goal is simply to trade motionless sitting for light activity. While it is certainly possible to pedal fast enough to speed your heart rate up and produce a sweat, your work productivity can be greatly hindered by this kind of activity. Slow and steady tends to win this race.
What are the benefits of a bike desk?
Newton's Law states that an object in motion stays in motion, and that could not be more true when describing the benefits one receives from pedaling while working. Research at Clemson University reported an improvement in mood, motivation and task engagement for bike desks users, without sacrificing or hindering professional output. Bike desk usage also counteracts that afternoon crash we've all become so accustomed to. From a health standpoint, besides the obvious benefit of burning more calories while pedaling, studies also found heart benefits, reduction in diabetic pain and increased flexibility.
What type of options exist?
There are a variety of bike desks on the market from under-desk bikes and pedal exercisers to fully integrated bike desks. Some options offer resistance or workout programs, while others simply allow pedaling at your desk. Prices for pedal exercisers can begin as low as $15, while commercial quality integrated workstations can run upwards of $1600 or more.
Which option is right for me?
Top considerations include:
Single user vs multi-user
Setting: Where do you plan on placing your bike desk?
Options are wide open if you are looking to add a bike desk to your home. Anything from a simple pedal exerciser to an integrated bike desk will work as long as you have the space for it. If used in your personal office or cubicle at work, a pedal exerciser can easily be placed underneath your desk – just make sure you have leg room. If you have access to a height adjustable desk either at home or work, an under-desk bike can roll up to the desk when you need a break from standing. If you have the space for an additional desk, or if you’re looking for something that can be shared by employees, students or patrons, a stationary bicycle desk is the way to go.
Budget: What are you budgeting constraints if any?
Setting a budget is always important but you should be flexible to ensure that you get the right product for you or your business. For example, if you expect the bike desk to garner multiple hours of use per day, it would be wise to budget for a commercial rated bike desk to better stand up to wear and tear. A bike desk does no one any good with an out-of-order sign posted to it.
Single vs Multi-Use: Will the bike desk be used by just you or will there be multiple users?
Strictly speaking, the more users you expect the better quality the bike desk should be. As you move up in price you can expect higher quality and more reliable components. While budget friendly options are just fine for a single user at home, common areas such as a coffee shop, classroom or airport lounge should invest in top-quality products to ensure reliability and durability over the years.
Goals: What health or cognitive outcomes are you looking to achieve?
Are you looking for simple activity during the workday, an exercise bike to burn calories and lose weight, or a combination of both? As mentioned before, most of the benefits come from slowly pedaling during the workday but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from cardio exercise if the bike desk is built for it. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to do any real work while pushing yourself physically, but reading emails or surfing the internet is more than doable. Some bike desks have readouts similar to what you would find on a quality gym bike such as calorie counting and distance cycled.
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