Burn Calories with a Desk Elliptical

Burn Calories with a Desk Elliptical

People generally struggle to find time to exercise in their hectic work schedules these days; as such, given that a majority of the jobs involve sitting for long periods, health issues arise. It is generally recommended to do some physical exercise to keep the body healthy and avoid diseases.

An under-desk elliptical is a perfect machine for such time-starved, deskbound people, providing a smooth and low-effort workout, even as one can continue to sit on his desk. Also referred to as under-desk bicycle, under desk exerciser or mini elliptical, an under-desk elliptical trainer is a pedaling machine designed for use under the work desk (home or office). 

As is the case with the stationary bike, one has to utilize his/her feet, and pedal for an efficient and low-impact workout, burning sufficient calories in the process. The elliptical motion of the trainer, as opposed to regular circular motion, helps in preventing the legs from colliding with the desk above. 

You can use some models while sitting on the sofa and watching TV and simultaneously do your exercise, most of the under-desk elliptical are meant for use under work desks.

The need for an under-desk elliptical to burn Calories

A sedentary lifestyle leads to a higher risk of health issues such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc. As such, it is imperative that you engage in some physical activity to exercise your body muscles and burn calories. 

An under-desk elliptical is a great trainer, which will allow you to exercise, even as you continue to do your work; it is thus free of any hassles/distractions that accompany other forms of exercises.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine conducted a study, wherein a group of people was asked to use an under-desk elliptical for a time period of ~16 weeks. The outcomes of the research demonstrated the benefits of using the trainer; the  attributes covered during the study were:

  • Body fat/mass
  • Weight
  • Waist size
  • Heart rate
  • Work output
  • Number of health issues/sick days

During the workout, the number of calories burnt is quite substantial, with the study indicating that on average, the users burnt ~107 extra calories/day, which effectively adds to more than 500 calories/week.

Such an output can help reduce weight by around 1 pound in 2 weeks, without needing to cut down on your diet. More lengthy and strenuous exercise schedules can be adapted to achieve even more weight loss.

How to choose the best option

You should consider the following factors while choosing an under-desk elliptical for yourself:

1. Noise: Since you intend to use the trainer in an office under your desk, you should take care that the trainer has a quiet operational mode and does not make much noise; this would enable an easy usage of the trainer in an office environment.

2. Pedal Height: You should choose the pedal height keeping in mind the height of your work desk so that there is a comfortable margin to enable a smooth workout. There also exist trainers with adjustable pedal heights, which can come in handy for the usage of the trainer by multiple people.

3. Resistance: Different trainers come with different options of resistance levels, mostly ranging from three to eight levels. Since a high resistance directly links to a more strenuous workout, you should factor in your capability and needs before making a choice.

4. Technology: While most trainers have similar operations, they could vary in terms of the features provided, such as connectivity to apps such as Fitbit, workout programs, display monitor options, etc. You should consider your preferences and then arrive at the purchase decision.

5. Versatility: Some trainers also provide an option to be used while standing, thereby allowing you to exercise more muscles of your body; such versatility would however generally come at an extra cost.

6. Price: You should make an informed purchase, to derive the maximum value for your money.


Even as the intensity of a workout using the under-desk elliptical would be lower than a workout on a treadmill or other gym equipment, the simultaneous use of the trainer along with everyday work is something that makes this trainer a must-have for people with sedentary lifestyles. In addition to improved blood flow and calories burnt, your mood and consequently work output is also likely to improve on continued usage of this trainer.

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