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DeskCycle under-desk elliptical machine

This Under-Desk Elliptical From Amazon Keeps Me Active at Home—Even When I’m Glued to My Computer

 A 30-minute session feels like I’ve gone on a power walk around the neighborhood.
By Amina Lake Abdelrahman
March 28, 2021
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When I started working from home during the pandemic, my home-office setup was extremely bare bones. Every day, I simply rotated from my bed to my makeshift standing desk (aka my dresser). Once I realized I'd be working remotely for a while, I gradually made adjustments to improve my workspace. While a real desk and a second monitor definitely made a difference, nothing could even come close to making up for all the movement I'd clock in at the office—until I got an under-desk elliptical. 

Designed to be used while sitting down, the DeskCycle Ellipse seemed like an easy way to stay active while working from home. Putting it together was extremely simple—all I had to do was attach the foot pedals and hook on the LCD screen. There are eight resistance settings so you can adjust the intensity of your workout; I generally keep mine on level five or six so I'm not too out of breath. But don't get me wrong: Just a few minutes gets my heart rate up, and a 30-minute session feels like I've gone on a power walk around the neighborhood—all without leaving my computer. 

Since I can stay on my computer while I cycle, the under-desk elliptical is perfect to use while responding to emails, listening to meetings, and researching for the stories I'm writing. I also use it while reading books or scrolling through TikTok on days I don't get many steps in. I was worried that the machine would be noisy, but thanks to its magnetic resistance, it's actually so smooth and quiet, my roommates don't even notice. 

The elliptical is definitely sturdy, but my desk chair didn't come with wheels that lock in place. To prevent me from rolling around while I cycle, I purchased these inexpensive gliders from Amazon that do the job. One of the best features of this model is that it works with desks as short as 24 inches, unlike many other under-desk ellipticals that require more clearance above your knees. The pedals are long enough that you can adjust your foot placement depending on how much space you have. (Put them closer to your body to prevent your knees from bumping into the desk.)

To buy: $250; amazon.com

If you're interested in keeping track of your stats, the brand's website has a calculator that gives you an estimate of how many calories you burned. It's based on the resistance level, number of revolutions, and duration, while also factoring in your height and weight—and the results are pretty similar to what my Apple Watch says when I put it in workout mode.   

So even though I can't walk around the office to chat with coworkers, grab lunch, or fill up my water bottle, at least I can still add some movement into my day with the DeskCycle. Head to Amazon to order this compact under-desk elliptical yourself, and you'll be able to stay active while working from home, too.