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The coronavirus illness COVID-19 has more and more state governments ordering more than 80 million Americans to stay at home — which consequently has millions of Americans working from home. I've been at it for years. And I was a ride-or-type guy until I got a FitDesk 2.0. I had an exercise bike in my home office for more than a decade, and I had an office desk in my home office. It’s only during the last three years that I’ve had a FitDesk — an exercise bike with an attached desk — in my home office. And since I no longer have to choose between work and exercise, I’ve found myself working out more.
In this article
- FitDesk alternatives and other considerations
- FitDesk 2.0 specs, taking a spin
- FitDesk 3.0: What FitDesk changed in its new model
- Other exercise desks to consider
FitDesk alternatives and other considerations
Writing often means sitting at a computer often, which could entail some notable health issues, among them tight muscles and lack of exercise. I wanted to be more active, so I decided to look into alternatives to an office chair.
An eventful morning on my wife’s Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball taught me my balance is not good enough to forgo a chair with armrests. And after a friend offered up a trial on their BestOffice Standing Desk, I parked myself with it for an afternoon. However, no longer requiring the added step of getting out of a chair, I kept finding myself distracted and wandering away for a cup of water or a bathroom break.
Eyeing some cycling options, I’ll admit I had some doubts about whether I’d be able to work and pedal at the same time. I’ve always liked controlling all of the elements around me in my home office. And I felt adding this variable might upset the delicate balance I’d built. Before I jumped into the FitDesk, I took a literal spin on the DeskCycle Under-Desk Cycle. The compact machine, which looks like what's left after somebody sliced off the front of an exercise bike, fits easily under a desk. I placed my feet on top of the pedals and pushed off. While the under-desk option made it clear that I could handle two tasks at once, I kept forgetting to keep pedaling without a visual reminder that I was on an exercise bike.
So I started looking into desks that have a built-in exercise option. Under-desk treadmills felt like trying to take notes while walking. I have done this as a reporter and would not recommend it. But an exercise bike with an attached desk felt sturdier. I could lean slightly forward and type, although my back occasionally barks at me to lean back against the backrest.
FitDesk 2.0 specs, taking a spin
The FitDesk 2.0 has been lauded most for its stability: More than 1,700 reviewers left it a 4.1-average rating. The non-slip sliding desk is 16 inches high x 19 inches deep, which fits my 13-inch MacBook Air with space on either side. It includes a sliding drawer underneath, where I keep my headphones and phone, and what FitDesk calls a "massage bar" for resting my forearms while typing. An optional Extension Kit, which I don’t use, offers space for larger laptops or a notebook.
- The seat has a backrest and an extender, fitting riders from whose height falls between 4 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 6 inches. The FitDesk ended up being a fit (pun intended) because it could be adjust for someone with shorter legs like me — I’m 5 feet 3 inches tall.
- The resistance is controlled by a knob underneath the desk. I’m typically riding at a two — out of the possible eight resistance levels — so I don’t have to think too hard about pushing the pedals.
- The bike comes with resistance bands that hang under the seat, if you’re into that. I have never used them.
- The performance meter, a display at the top of the desk, tracks time, mileage and calories. However, if you have your laptop open, you won’t be able to see the display.
- The bike is foldable, collapsing into 16 inches by 28 inches — it’s nice to have the option to put the bike away.
FitDesk 3.0: What FitDesk changed in its new model
The newest model is the FitDesk 3.0. There are three main differences from version 2.0, the one I own: The FitDesk 3.0 supports 300 pounds, 50 more pounds than the previous model. It includes a sliding drawer under the desk, which can extend your work surface and hold a tablet or book. Finally, the straps have been removed from the pedals.
The FitDesk 2.0 changed the way I approach my daily routine. I’m no longer just working at home and trying to squeeze in 45 minutes to exercise. Now, I can work — and work out — at the same time.
Other exercise desks to consider
Not sure the FitDesk is for you? Here are some other exercise solutions for your workstation to give you an idea of what's out there.
A console that controls the treadmill can attach anywhere on the desk so it can avoid interfering with your work devices. It's programmed with three quick speed controls for switching back and forth. And both the desk and frame fold to free up some space when the treadmill isn't being used.
The Cubii under-desk elliptical allows you to cycle while you work or are sitting with other tasks. It connects to your smartphone to track your stats, as well sync with your steps and burnt calories. Designed to be especially quiet, it should be less distracting to fellow remote workers than other options. A more affordable option, the Cubii Jr. cuts out the smart connection and replaces it with a small display to track stats.
The highly-rated Deskcise Pro is designed for quiet operation and sturdy operation. The seat is adjustable, as is the height of the desk and its distance from the rider. To complement your space, you can choose between four colors of the exercise desk.
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