If you’ve read any of our other resources and guides, you’ll know that we’re very concerned about the dangers of prolonged sitting.
In fact, our Meredith Chandler (Licensed OT) strongly recommends getting up and taking a break every 20-30 minutes.
Of course she recommends a lot more, which you can read about in her articles like creating an ergonomic workstation.
One thing worth considering is buying some desk exercise equipment to keep yourself active while working.
Here are my 13 favorite things you can do it keep yourself healthy and productive.
Active Sitting Stools
If you’re looking to fix your posture and engage your core while sitting or leaning then the active sitting stools might just be the thing for you.
Be careful though, this type of chair takes some getting used to, meaning you’ll need to begin with short intervals of usage.
You can choose between a balance chair, a pilates stool, or saddle chairs.
They all work in a similar fashion to bring you the following benefits:
- Improve your posture – The active sitting stools encourage you to use your leg and back muscles to stay in an upright position. Especially the balance ball chair is known to help people with back pain and it allows for better circulation.
- Strengthen your core – By constantly moving while sit you engage different groups of muscles, thus strengthening your core. This can be a bit challenging at first, especially if you haven’t been exercising in a while. People that feel fit and need to stay fit can choose a pilates stool.
- Minimize muscle tension – Most of our sitting injuries have to do with muscle tension and uneven weight distribution. Sitting slouched for long hours can cause serious back and neck pain. The saddle chair solves this issue by encouraging you to sit upright, and distribute your weight evenly. Most of the customers that bought stools love the freedom of movement that comes along.
A word of advice: Active chairs work by engaging the muscles you wouldn’t ordinarily use so expect to feel some soreness in the beginning.
Also make sure you only use them not more than 1 hour a day in the beginning as they do require time to get used to.
This chair engages your legs back and core, and can be adjusted for height. You can choose to stay active while you sit at your desk, or if you have a height adjustable desk, you can also raise the chair and lean on it while you work.
The Varidesk chair comes with a very low back rest which encourages a straight posture while you work. The seat is cushioned and has a bouncy feeling to it.
People that use this chair love the freedom of movement they get.
On the downside, the seat tends to get uncomfortable after 2 hours. This would be a good time to take a break and walk around for a bit.
The Aeris chair works with a spring system to allow you to tilt, sway and bounce while you sit. This is especially beneficial for people that are fidgety and can’t hold one position for too long.
Most of the people that got this chair love how comfortable it is, and you can sit on it for longer periods of time. The Aeris Swopper also engages your core while you sit.
Adjustable Standing Desks
If you’re not an active sitting type, or prefer to switch between sitting and standing, then you might consider an adjustable standing desk.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits associated with standing desks:
- Keep a correct posture – Being able to switch between sitting and standing can do wonders for your back. There are so many health issues related to sitting including weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
- Eliminate these risks by alternating between sitting and standing at home or in your office. We recommend setting an alarm for 30 minutes at a time.
- Increased productivity – Sitting in one position for many hours drastically decreases our productivity. After a while we get an uncomfortable or even painful feeling forcing us to stop working and move. With the adjustable desk you can keep changing your position and eliminate the pain that curbs your productivity.
- Improved brain function – Allowing yourself to stand while you work improves your circulation bringing more oxygen to your brain. This means better focus and stronger memory span while you work.
- Chronic pain relief – The adjustable desk doesn’t only work by preventing sitting associated health hazards. It can also alleviate certain chronic issues, especially when it comes to the lower back.
If you’re looking for a good quality standing desk then Varidesk might be a worthy choice. The hype behind this product is real, people love using it and it is made with high-grade materials.
The idea is quite simple yet brilliant, you get a desk that goes from sitting to standing position with the help of a spring loaded lift (other models have cranks or a button).
The ProPlus 30 model comes with a 30’’ wide platform and 2 tiers. The upper one will fit one monitor and the lower tier holds a keyboard and a mouse.
Varidesk comes fully assembled and should be placed on top of your existing desk.
The trick with the desk isn’t standing all the time since that can be hard on your feet. Most users report they end up standing 50% of the time.
Remember the golden rule, changing positions every 30 minutes is ideal for your body, spine and circulation.
This is another great standing desk that comes with a 35’’ platform and rises vertically. This is a good option for people looking to save space.
Also the lower tier is larger adding more space for the mouse.
The keyboard tray is removable and can be clicked out of place. When it comes to the pricing, both products are in the similar range.
If you already have a height adjustable desk, and wish to further explore the active desk life style, a balance board might be a good choice for you.
The principle is simple: You engage your leg muscles constantly by keeping a balance.
The board is not fitness equipment but it does make you stronger.
While it is fun to keep yourself balanced, we should mention the real benefits: the movements you make keep you healthy in many ways.
- You improve your posture and strengthen your back muscles
- You gain increased awareness and improved focus
- Alleviates back pain and chronic pain issues
- Good for rehabilitation of injuries
There are many exciting models on the market, some better than others.
We really liked the Revolution focus board because of its smart design, safety and stability.
The makers of Revolution Focus (recent office workers) wanted to come up with an adjustable easy to use board that will break the office routine and present a challenge if necessary.
They came up with a 2 piece design. The base presents an air cushion that can be adjusted for difficulty. It grows as you grow.
The second (top) piece is a duragrip deck that gives you enough traction to keep you safe, and the quiet stop bumpers will keep your floors safe. It can hold up to 450 lbs.
If you can’t get yourself to go to the gym, but you have a spacious office, consider using the benefits of a portable gym.
The one that kept our interest is called OYO personal gym and was designed to keep astronauts fit while they work at the space station.
OYO is total body fitness equipment that builds lean muscle and keeps you healthy. If your office space is limited or you share it with other people, make sure your boss and co-workers are ok with your portable gym.
The package comes with one 5 lbs and two 10 lbs resistance weights, leg and door hooks, nutrition manual and an OYO coaching app for apple users.
If you’re trying to escape the poor sitting habits you’ve developed, a treadmill desk might be just the thing for you. People that used it recommend keeping it at 1 mph for productive working.
The treadmill desk won’t help you lose a lot of weight fast but it does promote a healthy lifestyle, increases circulation and gives you a completely new approach to your work day.
In order to have the best experience, make sure you invest in a comfortable pair of footwear, and try avoiding heels while you’re on the treadmill.
The LifeSpan treadmill desk is a serious investment in your Ergonomic life-style, so make sure it would be ok to bring it to work. The treadmill desk comes with a quiet motor, but it will attract the co-workers attention for sure.
What you get is a 20’’ by 50’’ of walking platform, and a height adjustable desk to use as your work area. You can track your distance, calories, walk and run time, and you also get a step count.
All this data can be synced with a free ActiveTrac application that works with apple and android.
LifeSpan comes with portable wheels for easier storage.
Under Desk Ellipticals
If you’re not ready to devote yourself to a treadmill experience, but wish to keep yourself moving, why not try an under desk elliptical? They are convenient, and do not draw too much attention.
The trick in choosing the right one for you is in determining the correct height of your desk. Some ellipticals on the market will have you hitting the desk with your knees so watch out for that.
The Cubii is good both to help you stay active at the office or at home. While it is quite stable it is also quite heavy so have that in mind. If your size is petite you won’t be able to move it around at whim.
It is easy to use the Cubii, simply press down with your feet. You can connect to Cubii IOS or Android app and save the calorie count and the progress you make. They even allow you to set personalized goals.
The Cubii engages your core as well as glutes, quads, hamstrings and quads. You couldn’t replace a visit to the gym with the Cubii, but for people tied to their desk it is a healthy alternative.
Cubii was designed specifically to be used under the desk while you’re sitting.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly version of the Cubii that’s also lightweight and portable, then the Stamina elliptical trainer could be just the thing for you.
You can use the Stamina both sitting and standing, and will keep you moving regardless if you’re working or playing video games.
The ellipticals come with resistance levels and you can use them as a fitness tool, but even with regular use on lower resistance you’ll get improved circulation.
Similar to under desk ellipticals, desk bikes while keep you active while you’re sitting and being productive.
Desk Bikes come in many designs and sizes, but in general they’re perfect for the office space since they are small in size, mobile and quiet.
You could also go for the full workstation that includes a desk attached to a stationary bike. For this list we chose the best examples of each: The DeskCycle and Flexispot exercise bikes.
The DeskCycle goes under your desk and will keep you active throughout the day. It has a wide front base to keep it stable. It works with desks that are 27’’ high and up. You can choose between 8 resistance levels, but for uninterrupted work you shouldn’t go over level 3.
You can track speed, calories, time and distance, or check the online calculator that gives you a better estimate of calories spent based on your age, gender and power.
The Flexispot is an interesting hybrid between an exercise bike and a standing desk. You can choose to use them as a compact work station, or if you have a need for a standing desk you can separate them.
The seat and desk are both adjustable for height and suitable for people between 5’1’’ and 6’2’’ tall. The Flexispot is a great equipment to be used at home, might be a bit bulky for the office, depending on your set-up.
The desk surface can fit a 15’’ lap top and a mouse. Some people choose to use it while watching TV, playing games, etc.
Balance Ball Chairs
If you’re a Pilates fan, or understand the benefits of the balance ball, we have a great office alternative for sitting – the Balance Ball Chair.
With the balance ball you make small movements while you work. This stimulates your body and mind giving you increased focus and concentration.
Unlike most balance balls on the market, the Gaiam balance ball chair comes with extra stability and adjustability.
Some people have tried to bring their Pilates ball to work, but it gets uncomfortable after a while due to the lack of stability. The designers of Gaiam solved this issue by placing the ball in a giant ball holder on wheels and with back support.
The design looks a bit awkward, but it does work and it will hold up to 300 lbs. Once it arrives you’ll need to pump it, wait for 24 hours, re-pump it again, and once you reach 20’’ of ball diameter you’re good to go.
Just like most things on our list the balance ball chair needs some adjustment time so make sure you use it 30 minutes at a time in the beginning.
As you become stronger you’ll be able to enjoy it longer.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly option that will encourage you to stay active, you should give resistance bands a try. They are lightweight, and can be used for different body parts.
Use them at home, at the office or even on a business trip, they are easy to carry around. Make sure you understand that they’ll help you tone your muscles but won’t provide any cardio exercise.
The Kootek bands are double layered and made of natural latex that is durable and safe.
We thought this offer is a real bargain since you get:
- 5 resistance tube bands with 2 ankle straps and 2 leg handles for leg and forearm muscles
- 2 gliding discs for abdominal and core workout
- 5 resistance loop bands for strength training and recovery from injuries
The bands are color coded and have the weight labeled on them. Use them separately or combined for a bigger challenge.
The package comes with a black draw string bag that holds everything tucked in.
Now that you’ve discovered the best desk exercise equipment we sincerely hope you’re motivated to start taking care of your health, and continue moving, especially at your work desk.