E xperts say that the best way to live a long healthy life is to get moving. Skip the elevator, take a walk to the market, do some gardening, or join the gym – these are their recommendations. But do you really have time to do all of these? When you come home drained of energy after a meeting or a very busy day, and you need to cook dinner, wash the dishes, clean the house, and on top of that, help your kid do their homework, the last thing on your mind is getting out your old Pilates mat and doing some exercises. We completely understand. But what if you could do your workouts while at work and get some stress out of the way? This is the precise reason for which you should get an under-desk elliptical, especially if you are sitting all day long. This machine is already on the radars of scientists who started looking at the effects it has on productivity. Well, the results may surprise you, so keep reading to find out more.
This investment may be the best you can do for your health and completely change the way you feel every day. A lot of factors can make you feel tired and out of focus, including a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to boredom and an accumulation of physical energy that prevents you from sleeping well at night. An elliptical helps you fight these factors and brings you a lot of benefits, as we explain below:
The idea that you need to work out for 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week, has been challenged by this study performed during a period of 4 years, which showed that the number of minutes spent training should be correlated to the number of hours spent sitting. The new recommendations say that, for each hour you spend on the chair, you should exercise intensely for 3 minutes or lightly for 12 minutes. This, say the experts, can help you extend your life by 30%, and they recommend that, for the best results, you don’t let the exercise minutes gather and push them at the end of the day, but take a break every hour and move.
This is almost impossible to fulfill, especially if you work in a highly demanding environment where your presence at the desk is required almost all the time. However, with an elliptical under your desk, you can exercise after every hour and rip all the profits of staying active without having the workouts interfere with your work.
Even if it may seem that you won’t be able to focus on answering an email while moving your feet under the desk, the research that was performed in the field says the contrary. This clinical trial, for instance, says that the physical activity of striding can make your brain more alert while helping you relax. This leads to being more prolific in your work and feeling less tired at the end of the day.
You can pedal with your feet while working and when you have a break, place the machine on your desk and pedal with your hands. This way, you will train both your upper and lower body and maintain flexibility in your arms, as well. Moreover, you may discover that the hand workouts are more challenging and will raise your pulse faster. They will also help you build strength, which according to this study can decrease the risk of all-cause mortality by 23% and the risk of cancer mortality by 31%
When you sit, your blood flow is slowed down, which can, in time, lead to cardiovascular problems, especially if it is paired with a high-fat diet and smoking. On the other hand, if you exercise throughout the day, you can improve your cardiovascular system, according to this study, and moderate the risk of suffering from high blood pressure, all without making any change in your diet. Of course, dietary changes are encouraged for even better results.
While it is clear that you won’t be able to burn with a mini elliptical the same amount of calories you would if you were using a full-size elliptical cross trainer or playing basketball, the important thing is that you are moving at moments when you used to stay still, and this counts as energy expenditure, according to this study. In fact, depending on how much your weight is, you may burn between 270 and 378 calories in only half an hour of working out. To maximize the results, trainers recommend that you try high-intensity interval training, which will send your heartbeats to the roof and help you burn fat faster.
There are two types of workouts you can try depending on your final goal, although mixing them will not do any harm and may even make your routine more fun. Let’s see what the elliptical has to offer.
Now that we have established that the mini elliptical can help you lose weight, better your cardio, and grow stronger, there is still one aspect that needs to be discussed. Since this is a low-impact type of training, it may not be challenging enough for some people. Since you are sitting, all the effort is concentrated on your feet, which don’t need to work that hard either as they no longer need to sustain your weight. When walking or running, your weight contributes a lot to the number of calories you burn, as when you are heavier, you need to spend more energy on every move you make. This is not as visible with an under-desk exerciser.
Another aspect to point out is that you are working only a limited number of muscle groups, especially if you don’t have the option of placing the elliptical on the desk and working out your upper body as well. In this case, some strength exercises with a dumbbell or an ab roller can help you engage other muscles and get the desired results.
What the mini elliptical gives you is a way to work out when you thought it is not possible to squeeze an hour of exercise into your busy schedule. It is not the most challenging machine, so it is perfect if you are going through a recovery period. On the other hand, it gets you moving daily and helps you burn some of the calories you eat, so it can help prevent weight gain. It also helps you have better circulatory health and counteract the effects of living a sedentary life. Luckily, it was proved that using it doesn’t affect your capacity of giving your best at work. On the contrary, studies say that you are more likely to think clearer and work better.