Lately I've been thinking about ways to try to increase my activity during the day. Typically, I will work out before work, then when I get to work, I'm in front of my computer for 8+ hours. I go home, and then don't do much physical activity until the next morning when I work out again. Trainer Rob encouraged me to start taking nightly walks with my pup, which was good until it turned freakin' freezing and dark before I even leave work.
So, here were some alternatives I came up with:
- Add an evening workout at the gym: Even if it's just walking around the track or swimming, it would be a good evening activity. The time investment in that though is a lot after the commuting back and forth and fighting the evening gym crowd.
- Get a treadmill desk: If you haven't seen a treadmill desk, you should check them out (video below). Basically, it's a tall desk that is designed to hold your computer and it mounts around your treadmill. You just walk while you work (even at just 1MPH). I think this is brilliant. Really. I would LOVE to try it. But for now, it's cost prohibitive for me. I don't have a treadmill, nor do I have the desk element. I have a great employer who I'm sure would ALLOW this, but the personal investment is out of my reach right now.
- Exercise at lunchtime: This would be good to start bringing my lunch and do a shorter walk around the office neighborhood. But the cold weather leaves me completely unmotivated to do this right now. Also, I'm the worst about packing lunches. Pre-planning and me don't go well, so I usually run home at lunch and try to scrounge something to eat. Still leaving this as an option for the spring though, even though I'd have to pre-plan by bringing different clothes and shoes to change in to.
I was spending time on Amazon looking for Christmas ideas. My husband asks for a list, and I had no idea what I really wanted this year. I stumbled upon a pedal exerciser. I'd seen these before in nursing homes or physical therapy places. I started seeing how inexpensive some of them were and reading the reviews. I decided I would add a less expensive one to my Christmas list and then take it to work to try out. What could it really hurt to have it under my desk to use periodically throughout the day?
It arrived way early, and in a labeled box (so I knew exactly what it was). The box was damaged pretty badly, so I asked hubs if I could go ahead and open it to make sure it wasn't damaged, and he agreed. I already knew I was getting it anyway. Thankfully, no damage. I took it to work yesterday and tried it out. Here's a short, wobbly video I took with my phone:
This particular pedal exerciser is a pretty inexpensive one. It has a single manual resistance knob. There are other devices that have magnetic resistance (like on your gym's bikes) and digital tracking devices.
- Fit: My biggest concern was that my knees would hit the desk. I'm 5'10 and my desk height isn't adjustable. Unfortunately my legs are a wee bit too long for them to be able to pedal quickly and easily under my desk all the way. I could scoot myself and my chair out like I did in the video where my knees come to the desk edge. I had to bring my computer to the front edge of my desk, but it was fine.
- Chair: I have a swivel desk chair with wheels. The wheels weren't an issue and I didn't slide back too much (if I do, I hit a wall), however when I am pedaling, the swivel of the chair has my hips moving a little much to go too fast.
- Noise: the noises on the video are of the chair swiveling, not of the exerciser. The thing is very, very quiet. Being all manual, I had hoped this was the case, and it is. I have a door I can close if I'm worried about the noise (or about looking goofy), so I'm lucky in that respect. If you work in a cubicle, this might be a little awkward.
- Heat: I had read on several reviews that the metal-on-metal action of this device generated a lot of warmth near the center of the device. I wouldn't have noticed (considering the boots I had on), but I did feel it just to see if those reviews were accurate, and WOWZA you could cook an egg on it! As long as you have pants and shoes on, I think you'd be fine, but it could be a concern for some.
- Shoes: Speaking of the boots I was wearing- not a good choice for the bike. The spiky heels kept knocking the metal base, making it pretty awkward to pedal mindlessly while doing anything else. I'm sure it would be fine with flats, or if I had an alternate pair of shoes in my desk to wear while pedaling.
- Typing: In the short time I tested it out so far, I haven't mastered the typing and pedaling thing. I did manage to read some reports, take some hand written notes on them, and chat with coworkers while pedaling! Like any device, it's only as good as long as you use it. I'm going to use it more next week trying to find the best way to use it and hopefully be able to type while pedaling. I'm not planning on pedaling all day, but if I can get an extra hour of physical activity in during the day (even if it is super light and slow), it can't hurt, right?