The Best Desk Exercise Equipment: Fitting in Exercise While You Work from Home

woman using under desk elliptical


One of the many lasting changes we've experienced over the last few years includes the work from home revolution. Embracing and improving home fitness trends has included seeing a boom of improved equipment, better practices, and more support for people trying to improve or maintain their health while adapting to new work norms. The best desk exercise equipment allows you to get your job done without letting it get in the way of your health and fitness goals. There are a plethora of options available, all depending on your own goals, needs, and home setup. From under desk treadmills and ellipticals to bands, balls, and weights you can use in your personal space, check out these highly rated options for your own desk or office.

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The Best Desk Exercise Equipment - Our Top Picks

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Best Under Desk Treadmill - Sunny Health & Fitness TreadPad Slim Under Desk Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness TreadPad Slim Under Desk Treadmill

SPECS

  • Weight: 66.3 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 51.8"L x 25"W x 5.4"H, 17.5" x 51" running surface

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Under-desk treadmills have made it possible to get your work done and knock out your daily steps at the same time. This slim under-desk treadmill by Sunny Health & Fitness allows for both walking and jogging up to 4 miles per hour on a surface that is wide enough to be safe and comfortable while staying sleek and slim enough to fit into your home workspace. Shock absorption technology protects your joints, which is important for a piece of equipment intended for daily use. Quality materials and construction are designed for longevity, ensuring that this treadmill will stand up to long-term, frequent use.

The built-in display lets you track your time, distance, speed, steps, and calories. A slim remote control allows you to adjust your speed without having to hop off and manually make changes. Transportation wheels make this treadmill easy to move when needed, and it is designed to be smooth and quiet in addition to slim and portable. A safety key turns off your treadmill when not in use and is required to start up the machine, so kids can't accidentally turn on the treadmill during your off hours. If you're looking for a quality treadmill pad to fit under your desk, the TreadPad is an excellent choice.

What We Like

  • Slim and portable design
  • Smooth and quiet when walking or jogging (even when taking remote meetings!)
  • Excellent way to get in your steps or cardio minutes while working
  • Durable and built for daily use

What We Don't Like

  • Speed tops out at 4mph, no incline options
  • Weight limit of 220 lbs. doesn't work for all exercisers

BUY: Sunny Health & Fitness TreadPad Slim Under Desk Treadmill

Best Folding Treadmill - Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill

Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill

SPECS

  • Weight: 156 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 69"L x 31"W x 49"H while in use, 10" tall when folded, 55"L x 20"W running deck

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If you don't have a desk set up for a treadmill pad underneath or you want a little more versatility than an under-desk treadmill offers, getting a folding treadmill to use throughout the day is another great option for staying active while you work. The Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill folds down to just 10 inches tall at the press of a button. When in use, the handlebars provide stability and have heart rate sensors integrated. It has a transportation handle and wheels that make it easier to move around, and its deck is designed to absorb impact to make it easier on your joints and quieter to use.

A built-in device holder allows you to attach your phone or tablet in place and stream classes or workouts. This treadmill has 12 incline levels and maxes out at 12 miles per hour. There are 8 preprogrammed workouts that come with the attached console screen, or you have the option to access thousands of on-demand workouts and live classes through an Echelon membership. If you're looking for versatility, quality, and portability combined, this folding treadmill is our top choice.

What We Like

  • Auto folds down to just 10 inches high
  • Great adjustability for varying speeds and inclines to allow for highly varied workouts
  • Echelon membership gives you access to thousands of recorded workouts, live classes, fun playlists, etc. for a more holistic fitness experience

What We Don't Like

  • Much larger footprint than under desk treadmills
  • Higher cost than other desk equipment options

BUY: Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill

Best Ankle Weights - Bala Bangles

Bala Bangles

SPECS

  • Weight: 1 or 2 lbs. each
  • Weight capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 13" x 3" x 1/2" per Bangle

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Ankle weights can be great for people who want to add a little resistance and strength training to their day. These Bala Bangles are versatile (can be worn on ankles or wrists), portable, small, and easy to store. They come in their own carrying case and can be stored in just about any drawer or corner. 1- or 2-pound options add small but significant resistance to your daily routine.

Smooth silicone and a variety of colors to choose from make these weights comfortable and aesthetically appealing. The elastic band and hook and loop fasteners allow you to adjust the fit as needed. Whether you plan to wear them during quick workout bursts during your breaks or throughout the day while making your usual movements and adjustments, these bangles upgrade your movements and increase your fitness through regular use.

What We Like

  • Sleek and visually appealing
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Small and portable, comes with a carrying case for storage

What We Don't Like

  • Only come in 1- and 2-lb. options
  • People with very large or very small ankles/wrists may have a harder time adjusting for an ideal fit

BUY: Bala Bangles

Best Under Desk Elliptical - Cubii JR2 Under Desk Elliptical

Cubii JR2, Under Desk Elliptical

SPECS

  • Weight: 18.9 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs. of pressure (note that this isn't body weight, but pressure exerted)
  • Dimensions: 17.8"D x 24.41"W x 8.78"H

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For people who need to sit at their desks for a large portion of the day but still want to remain active and mobile, a mini elliptical machine under your desk can be a great solution. This Cubii Under Desk Elliptical weighs less than 20 pounds and is small enough to fit under just about any workspace. It's also portable enough that it can be carried over to the couch for TV watching and other sitting activities. The Attachable Chairlock prevents your desk chair from rolling away while in use, and the design allows for an exceptionally quiet and smooth exercise experience, all while sitting at your desk.

This low-impact machine is excellent for people with mobility or joint issues that prohibit other forms of cardio. Increased energy, boosted circulation, burned calories, and improved cardiovascular fitness are all possible with regular use of this elliptical. Eight resistance levels allow you to adjust the intensity of your workout, and the LCD display lets you track your calories, strides, distance, and time.

What We Like

  • Small and portable enough to use anywhere
  • Low-impact for protected joints, good for people with limited mobility
  • Exceptionally smooth and quiet to be used throughout the workday
  • No plugs or cables required

What We Don't Like

  • You have to bend over to manually adjust the resistance levels on this machine
  • No Bluetooth compatibility for tracking or syncing

BUY: Cubii JR2 Under Desk Elliptical

Best Under Desk Bike - Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Magnetic Cycle Pedals Mini Exercise Bike

Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Magnetic Cycle Pedals Mini Exercise Bike

SPECS

  • Weight: 19.1 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 20.5"L x 16.5"W x 10.5"H, peak pedal height of 10" and bottom height of 3"

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For another alternative that allows you to keep your body in motion and burn calories while you sit at your desk, an under-desk bike can check all your boxes. The portable and sleek Under Desk Magnetic Cycle Mini Exercise Bike by Sunny Health & Fitness comes with eight adjustable resistance levels and a battery-powered digital monitor for tracking your speed, time, distance, and calories burned. The non-slip base keeps this machine firmly in place, and the attached carry handle lets you use this mini exercise bike anywhere you'd like.

Dual foot and hand action means that you can keep it under your desk for lower-body usage or set it on your desk for upper-body exercise. Magnetic resistance makes for an extremely quiet workout and little to no maintenance is required over time. There's no need for cords or cables since this machine doesn't need to be plugged in.

What We Like

  • Since this is designed to be used while sitting, there is no weight limit for users
  • Can be used for under-desk pedaling (like a bike) or upper-body activity (pedaling with your arms)
  • No cables or cords required, can be used anywhere
  • Magnetic resistance is exceptionally quiet

What We Don't Like

  • 7" stride length may feel small for taller users
  • Must bend over to adjust resistance during under-desk use

BUY: Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Magnetic Cycle Pedals Mini Exercise Bike

Best Stability Ball - Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair

Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair

SPECS

  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 22" x 31" x 22", 24-25" sitting height

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Stability balls are effective, versatile fitness tools that can be used in a variety of ways during your exercise sessions or throughout the day while you work. The Classic Balance Ball Chair by Gaiam comes with a latex-free 52-centimeter balance ball and a rolling, lightweight PVC base to turn the ball into an ergonomic chair.

Using this setup as a chair allows for optimal spinal alignment and core engagement as you sit throughout the day. By making sitting a more active and mindful activity, you can turn your work hours into time spent improving your posture and overall health. The wheels are able to lock into place while you work, and the weight capacity works for users up to 300 pounds. You can also remove the stability ball from the chair base and use it as a typical exercise ball for your various workouts.

What We Like

  • Can be used as a typical stability ball or a chair for use while working
  • Comes in fun colors or professional black
  • Emphasis on ergonomic posture and healthy spinal alignment throughout the day

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for users under 5' or over 5'11"
  • Ball only comes in one size

BUY: Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair

Best Mini Exercise Bands - Gaiam Restore Mini Band Kit

Gaiam Restore Mini Band Kit

SPECS

  • Weight: N/A
  • Weight capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 12" x 2"; light band 0.4mm thick, medium band 0.55mm thick, heavy band 0.75mm thick

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This set of three bands (light, medium, and heavy) from Gaiam can be used for upper- or lower-body resistance exercises throughout the day. The versatility of these exercise bands means you can use them to target a wide variety of muscle groups, and you can download Gaiam's exercise guide with your purchase for ideas.

Whether you're working from home, traveling, or simply trying to expand your exercise repertoire, these mini resistance bands are an excellent addition to your collection. Durable, well-made, and portable, they can upgrade your strength-training experience at home.

What We Like

  • Low cost
  • Easy to store
  • Versatile usage

What We Don't Like

  • Only comes in 3 resistance levels
  • There's a bit of a learning curve when you first start using mini bands

BUY: Gaiam Restore Mini Band Kit

Best Grip Strength Balls - THERABAND Hand Exerciser

THERABAND Hand Exerciser

SPECS

  • Weight: 0.17 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 2" diameter

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Whether you have specific goals for improving your grip strength (for example, rock climbers or pianists), wish to treat conditions such as arthritis or injuries, or simply want something active to release stress throughout your workday, a grip strength ball is a great tool to keep at your desk.

These hand exercisers by THERABAND can be heated or chilled for therapeutic relief, and they are great for increasing range of motion, motor skills, and stress relief through regular use.

What We Like

  • Grip strength is important yet often overlooked
  • Small size makes this easy to store
  • Provides stress relief while working

What We Don't Like

  • May become sticky or "tacky" over time
  • Not ideal for total-body fitness improvement

BUY: THERABAND Hand Exerciser

How to Choose the Best Desk Exercise Equipment

Size

Depending on the setup of your workstation, finding a piece of equipment is largely dependent upon the space you have available. A full-on elliptical requires a significantly larger space commitment than a mini exercise band, for example. Take stock of your workspace and decide what you can realistically fit without disrupting your ability to perform your duties. A tape measure is a good idea when choosing something like an under-desk treadmill or another large piece of equipment.

Your Fitness Goals

Of course, you should choose exercise equipment that will actually bring you closer to meeting your fitness goals. If your goals include getting 10,000 steps in a day, a treadmill pad may be your best bet. If you want to improve your strength or muscle tone, ankle weights or exercise bands may be better suited to your needs. Be honest and realistic about your goals and intended use when shopping for desk exercise equipment.

FAQs About Desk Exercise Equipment


Are under-desk exercise machines effective?

Under-desk exercise machines can be an incredibly effective way to increase your fitness while you work. Rather than just sitting for 8 or more hours a day, you can be actively engaging in cardio or strength exercises throughout your workday.

How can I exercise while sitting at my desk?

Under-desk exercise equipment is typically designed to use while working. This means they are quiet, simple to use, and don't require complete concentration. For instance, an under-desk bike allows you to pedal while taking meetings or working on reports, accomplishing both tasks at once.

Are under-desk ellipticals as good as walking?

In general, an under-desk elliptical won't burn as many calories as walking, since you engage fewer muscles while sitting than standing. However, when you compare how much you benefit from utilizing your elliptical versus simply sitting and working all day, you still are much better off with the elliptical than without it.

About the Author

Kialei Kappel

Kialei Kappel is a fitness expert with a degree in Exercise Science from BYU, over 10 years of field experience, and more than 10 industry certifications. She is currently working on her Masters in Public Health.

See More from Kialei

Kialei Kappel is a fitness expert with a degree in Exercise Science from BYU, over 10 years of field experience, and more than 10 industry certifications. She is currently working on her Masters in Public Health.

See More from Kialei

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