We all know how important exercise is for our overall health and wellbeing.
Not only does it provide a whole host of physical benefits, such as weight loss and improved strength, but it can also help prevent stress related illnesses, improve our mental health, reduce the risk of heart disease and even improve our brain function.
There’s no two ways about it… exercise is a fundamental pillar for healthy living.
But what happens when you’re stuck in the office all day? Sat at a desk for long periods, unable to get down to the gym?
Well, instead of throwing in the towel and accepting defeat… there is a solution.
Welcome to the innovative world of desk exercise equipment. This equipment isn’t a gimmick, in fact, it can really help boost your fitness and health during the working day. It may sound unorthodox at first, but this equipment is likely here to stay and likely to become a very normal part of office life.
Most of this equipment is designed to fit under/on your desk or to be used in small areas, such as an office cubical. It is also very well suited to a home office set-up.
We’re not talking about installing a monster squat rack with Olympic barbells in the middle of the office… we appreciate that probably is going to be a bit of a distraction. Instead, all this equipment is more subtle, allowing you to move when you’re sat at your desk, avoiding long periods of inactivity, which is proven to be bad for our physical and mental health.
To make things easier, we’ve filtered through the noise and created this ultimate checklist of the very best affordable office desk equipment, with links to our favourite products that won’t break the bank.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Office Desk Exercise Equipment – Our Top Picks
Resistance bands are small tubes of rubber, often with handles on each end, which are used for resistance training. They come in different levels of thickness, reflecting the resistance of the bands – i.e. the thicker the band, the more resistance it will create, consequently meaning more strength is required to move it.
Resistance bands are incredibly versatile, making them ideal for the office.
Resistance bands are also easy to transport. This is useful if you’re someone who travels a lot for work and may want to exercise when you’re on the go.
One of the reasons we love resistance bands as part of an office exercise kit list is that they are very well suited to help combat poor posture created from sitting at a desk. Either stand up and sit at your desk, holding the resistance band shoulder width apart in front of you. Pull your arms outwards by squeezing your shoulder blades together. This exercise helps address the common issue of rounded shoulders from working at a desk all day. Doing a few sets of those each day could make a world of difference and that’s why we think every office would benefit from resistance bands.
(They’re also really cheap which is a bonus too!)
Under Desk Elliptical
An under desk elliptical is a fitness product designed to help users burn calories and stay in shape while working on their computer. The elliptical is designed to conveniently fit under a desk, while users walk or run on it as they work.
You won’t burn the same amount of calories using a desk elliptical as you would doing an intense HIIT workout or a long run, however, they do keep your muscles moving, helping you avoid long periods of inactivity.
Gentle stepping may not sound like much, but doing it for an hour a day, for example, will certainly have an impact.
Ellipticals typically come with handlebars and are larger, so for use at a desk, the best ones are pedal only, fitting nicely under the desk.
If you wear a fitness tracker, you can monitor your progress as you use it.
The under desk elliptical is another great piece of equipment for everyone, creating an inclusive fitness environment.
The treadmill desk is a product that is designed to make the user walk or run while working at their desk. It is the most expensive item on our list, but has become a popular product in offices all over the world.
The treadmill desk has two major parts. The first is the treadmill which is designed to be used by the user while the second is the desktop. The desktop is designed to hold the user’s computer and other desktop items.
The treadmill desk is the perfect solution for those who spend a lot of time sitting at their desk and want to avoid being sedentary.
There are several things that you need to consider before buying a treadmill desk. These factors include the treadmill desk features, the size, the speed, the weight capacity and the price. It might be quite expensive for everyone in the office to have a treadmill desk, but you could buy a handful and place them in a dedicated area so employees can opt to spend some time using them whenever they want.
Under Desk Treadmill
If you like the idea of a treadmill, but you’ve already got your dream desk, then an under desk treadmill could be for you.
A treadmill for under your desk is a great way to help burn calories, improve your health, and increase your productivity all at the same time. These treadmill desks allow you to walk while working at your desk. It is one of the best ways to burn calories while you work.
It has been proven that walking while working at your desk, instead of sitting down, can reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity while increasing your overall well-being.
Walking can also burn up to 500 calories per hour, improving your cardiovascular health and strengthening your muscles.
Treadmills can be large bits of equipment, so for office or home use, its important to select a smaller one. These often won’t have the handlebars and can fit under your existing desk.
When buying an under desk treadmill, you want to pay attention to the features, as these will vary from model to model. For example, if you want to increase your motivation, then the best option would be a treadmill that comes with an automatic speed adjustment. This will prevent you from getting bored or opting for a slower pace.
A balance pad is a rectangular mat made of dense foam with a textured surface that allows you to practice balance exercises. Balance pads provide a cushion for your feet to rest on while you stand on them, and the textured surface helps you to grip the mat while you stand on it.
Balance pads come in a range of sizes, from a small mat for use by young children to a large mat that can accommodate children or adults of different sizes. Some balance pads are designed for use at home, while others are designed for use in physical therapy sessions. For an office, a small balance pad is all that’s needed.
We often don’t think of balance exercises when we think about fitness, but improving our balance is a key aspect of lifelong fitness and avoiding nasty falls in older age.
There are all sorts of balance exercises that you can do on a pad, making it a versatile piece of equipment to have around. As well as standing on it, they can be used during yoga if users have sore wrists as the foam will absorb some of the weight.
The desk exercise ball is designed to be used in place of a chair to sit on. You sit on the inflated ball while you are working at your desk. It is said that sitting on the ball instead of a chair can help prevent back pain and improve your posture. It is hard to slouch or adopt poor posture when sitting on the ball, so you’re more likely to sit with an upright, straight back.
An exercise ball is made of air-filled plastic or rubber that is designed to hold your weight. The ball is designed to move with you and to provide a stable foundation for sitting.
There are several benefits to using a desk exercise ball instead of an office chair. For one, the ball will keep you active, avoiding long sedentary periods. Sitting on the ball will help improve your posture and will also strengthen your core. The ball will also help improve core strength in your legs.
Slowly bouncing may not sound like much, but it will require your core muscles to engage, helping tone your abs.
Balance Ball Chair
The “balance ball chair” is basically a fancy exercise ball. It usually takes the standard exercise ball and adds additional features, such as a frame, or upholstery to it.
In contrast to just using an exercise ball, the ball chair has a flat chair-like seat that allows the user to rest their back and sit on it as if it were a normal chair. However, it still has the underlying appearance of a large exercise ball, and the user can still sit on it, roll around on it, and use it to do various exercises. This allows the user to work out while they are sitting, and the ball chair has become a popular choice for office workers and students to help them stay active and fit.
A standing desk is quite self-explanatory – it is a desk you can stand up at. There are two popular options. Firstly, having a desk that can move up and down. This means you can sit at your desk and then choose to raise the height and stand for a period. This means you can take breaks from sitting. Often a simple press of a button will raise the desk.
This first option is more expensive but very convenient for those using it. Everything on the desk raises, so you can continue working stood up.
The alternative standing desk, which comes in much cheaper, is basically a laptop stand. Placing your laptop on the stand will mean you can continue using it whilst stood up.
Standing at your desk comes with a whole host of benefits, including:
- Burn more calories
This is the most obvious benefit of standing desks. The extra calories you burn can be huge in terms of weight loss. Some studies have shown that standing desks can help you burn up to 50 extra calories per hour.
- Reduce back pain
Back pain is a common problem these days. It is caused by the strain on the back and bad posture. Standing desks will help to reduce the strain on the back, which will help you to minimize your back pain.
- Improve your mood
Studies have shown that standing up while working can help to improve your mood. This is because standing up will help to boost the levels of the neurotransmitters like dopamine.
- Improve your productivity
Studies have shown that people who work at standing desks are more productive than those who work at sitting desks. This is because standing desks help to improve your blood circulation, which allows the body to function properly.
A stretching strap is a type of resistance training equipment that helps you to stretch and to strengthen the body. The stretching strap is made of heavy-duty material and allows you to perform a wide range of stretching exercises.
When looking for stretching straps, look for ones with loops as this will give you more versatility in the type of exercises you can do. Softer straps may also be preferred within an office too.
Stretching straps are particularly useful for stretching out tight hamstrings, a common cause for back pain, so although this may not be an expensive piece of equipment, it really can be worth its weight in gold.
It’s easy to use stretching straps whilst sat at a desk, making this a great tool for any office.
Yoga mats are extremely useful for practicing yoga, stretching or performing any sort of bodyweight exercise. The mat provides comfort to your body and it protects the floor from any damage.
The mat should be long enough to fit your height and wide enough to allow you to practice various yoga poses.
There are a lot of things that you need to consider when you are buying a yoga mat. Check out the following things to get the best yoga mat for you.
- Firmness – When you are buying a yoga mat, you need to consider the firmness of the mat. A firm mat will give you comfort, a soft mat will give you a slippery experience. It is usually recommended that you should buy a firm mat for the first time. As your level of yoga increases, you can buy a softer mat.
- Thickness – The thickness of a yoga mat will determine the comfort and stability of the mat. If your mat is thin, you might experience discomfort in your knees and joints.
- Length and width – You need to consider the length and width of your yoga mat. The length of the mat should be enough to cover your height. The width of the mat should be enough to allow you to put your knees and hands on the mat.
- The material – You need to consider the material of the mat. Yoga mats are made of different materials. Some of the popular materials for yoga mats are cotton, foam, and cork. You can choose the material based on your preference.
A stress ball is a squishy ball that you squeeze with your hands. They are a great way to relieve stress, which is bound to come in use at some stage in an office environment!
A stress ball can help with concentration, improve your hand to eye coordination, help you relax and eliminate stress.
But that’s not all…
Stress balls are also great for anyone who works on a computer for a long period of time. Stress balls can help avoid hand cramps and help improve circulation in the hands.
A grip strengthener can be considered a step-up from a stress ball. It is a tool that helps strengthen your hand by using a resistance (often metal coil) that you can squeeze.
Improving your grip and hand strength is very practical for everyday life, so well worth doing a few squeezes every day!
They come in all different sizes, often referred to as strength levels. Beginners can start with the lowest grip strength and work their way up to the higher levels.
Hand exercise putty is a special type of putty designed to help you get a good workout while playing with the putty. It is a popular tool used in physical therapy and for good reason too.
It acts as a way to strengthen the muscles in the palms of the hands, fingers, wrists, forearms, and upper arms. The product is made from a special blend of ingredients that offer a unique consistency that lets you workout with it easily. Because of the unique blend of ingredients in the product, workout putty can be molded into any shape, and is able to retain its shape indefinitely.
For those sat at a computer all day, using hand putty can help avoid repetitive strain injuries or hand cramping.
You can just have it on the desk and use it after a long period of typing, for example.
A balance board is any board that challenges you to balance on it. There are many different types of balance boards, and they come in a variety of sizes. A balance board can be a short plank or a long plank, it can be a narrow plank or a wide plank, it can be flat or it can be a dome shaped board with a slight incline.
Balance boards help to not only improve your balance, but offer a fantastic core and leg workout too. To balance yourself will require your core to be engaged and stabilize your upper body.
Balance boards can also be a fun piece of equipment in the office to boost morale and create friendly competition between employees.
A slant board is a great stretching tool, particularly for hamstrings and calves. Our recent guide outlines all the benefits of slant boards.
A slant board would fit nicely under an office desk and allow you to stretch out your legs while you work. Tight hamstrings and calves can lead to further aches and pains, such as lower back problems, so by stretching out these muscles passively at work, you can keep your muscles feeling loose and supple.
Slant boards also offer additional uses, such as decline squats, providing an alternative to the regular air squat.
It’s possible to make your own slant board out of wood, but they are relatively inexpensive, so it’s unless you’re DIY handyman, you’re probably better off just buying one.
How can I stay fit and active when I sit at a desk all day?
You can’t avoid sitting at a desk all day, but you can do a number of things to make sure you stay fit and maintain your strength and mobility. Using a standing desk, treadmill desk, taking frequent breaks, using resistance bands, stretching straps, are all examples of how you can be more active if you are sat at a desk all day.
How do under desk exercise machines work?
Under desk exercise machines come in all shapes, sizes and functionality. From under desk treadmills, to slant boards, and everything in between. They work by engaging your muscles and keeping them working while you work at your desk, helping avoid inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.
What I can use to exercise at my office?
You don’t need any equipment to exercise, you can just use your bodyweight to create resistance. However, equipment such as treadmills, balance chairs, bands, and boards can all help make exercising easier and in most instances, allow you to exercise whilst continuing to work.
How can I keep fit when I work in an office?
Little and often, that’s all it takes. Avoid long periods of inactivity by keeping your muscles working.
Can I lose weight when I work in an office all day?
Yes absolutely. Your diet will play a key role in losing weight too, but to begin with, being more active at work will definitely help.