Among our sea of height-adjustable standing desks, an elliptical trainer floats around, being enjoyed by motivated folks who want to move more during the day. I’d always looked at it (and those using it) with a mixture of intimidation and disinterest (working out at work!?), but this week I put my reservations on hold, and hopped on. Eight hours later, here’s what I learned:
Working out while you work is basically killing two birds with one stone. After work, I didn’t feel compelled to go the gym, and I didn’t feel bad that I didn’t have the time to do it. I’d gotten enough of a workout at work. The elliptical allows you to set whatever resistance you’re comfortable with, so you can work out as hard or as casually as you want.
Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes or really nice clothes. You are working out. You will sweat. Wear gym shoes and clothes you don’t mind sweating in. I sweated the most during the first half hour, but as my body acclimated to the pace of the workout, it wasn’t as bad. (I also turned the thermostat down a couple degrees, inadvertently freezing my poor colleagues.)
Tasks that didn’t require much creativity (like researching, reading or posting on social media) were all great to do while on the trainer, while tasks that required a high level of focus (like writing a blog post or composing a paragraph of copy) were more difficult.
During the first half hour or so, I was incredibly distracted by the unusualness of my endeavor, and thus, all I wanted to do was tell everyone what I was doing. I tweeted, I messaged, I exclaimed, I emailed. “I’m on an elliptical trainer at my standing desk at work!” Prepare for a distracted, excitable mind during your first hour or two using the trainer.
Music was a lifesaver throughout the entire experience. It motivated me to keep going, even after 4 hours and legs that felt like jello. I would unconsciously pick up my pace, and it made the idea of being on an elliptical at work feel a little more normal because I always listen to music when I’m on the elliptical at the gym.
In a nutshell, my body had no idea what was going on. I felt very awake throughout the day, but I also felt dazed at times, almost like I’d held my breath for too long. When I got off to go to the bathroom or eat lunch, my legs shook and twitched. But my calves were the hardest hit…they felt like they were on fire. The day after my experiment, my legs felt stronger, but my calves were so sore, I hobbled and shuffled around for a good part of the day.
Don’t try this at home. Spending an 8-hour workday on an elliptical trainer is admittedly absurd, but therein lies the old adage: everything in moderation. Start your morning on it, spend your lunch break on it, or use it while answering emails. Find out what works best for you.
The elliptical trainer is a great way for busy people to fit a workout in during the day, but I also found that using it too much resulted in diminished productivity. Find a balance, a little here, a little there. Your body may be shocked at first, but it’ll be stronger in the end.
We’re giving away two Elevate II sit/stand desks to celebrate our 29th birthday this month! Start standing up for your health!
How do you use your elliptical trainer at work?