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Under Desk Bike Vs. Treadmill: Which One's the Best for Me?

06 December 2022

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining peak physical performance and mental health. In today's busy world, however, finding the time to work out can often be challenging. This is especially true if you have a demanding desk job or many social commitments. But what if there was a way to fit exercise into your daily routine, even while working at your desk?

As it turns out, this is indeed possible – with the help of a standing desk and an under-the-desk workout machine (under-the-desk bike or treadmill). By pairing these two tools, you can easily fit exercise into even the most hectic schedules.

Why work out like this instead of saving it for the gym? For starters, you don't need to slot in workout time or make your way through crowded fitness centers. A standing desk & under-the-desk workout equipment combo allows you to work out anytime you want.

Then, you don't have to max out your energy on rigorous routines. You can work at a good pace while retaining focus on your tasks at work. It does so by enhancing blood circulation and effective calorie expenditure for more energy and focus – Studies back such claims. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

With that in place, you should finish the day feeling less stressed and tired. The only question is under desk bike vs. treadmill: which one is the best for me?

It's a Matter of Preference

Under-the-desk cycles and treadmills are both excellent pieces of cardio equipment. But, they have inherent advantages and disadvantages. That is why we've taken the time to compare both to help you decide which is the best for your situation.

Today, we'll compare under-the-desk cycles and stationary treadmills by putting them in various criteria. This includes things like difficulty, versatility, weight loss, and more.


Adjustability is an important factor to consider; after all, every individual has different fitness goals, training needs, and comfort preferences, so it only makes sense that you should be able to tailor your workout equipment to match these.

Every under-the-desk treadmill allows you to adjust the speed you want to run. But you may need something more advanced to change the treadmill's incline. This will enable you to up the challenge by simulating uphill/downhill climbs or a run through rugged terrain.

Stationary bikes offer more adjustments, especially towards enhancing your comfort. You can adjust the seat post and handlebar for easier access. But that's not all. Most products also allow you to change the resistance levels to up the challenge when cycling.

Budgetary and Footprint Considerations

Both pieces of office workout equipment vary in price depending on specifications. But, under-the-desk cycles cost comparatively less than treadmills. You could probably get a top-of-the-range bike for what you spend on a decent treadmill.

Beware that "affordable" treadmills have their shortcomings. They offer limited speed and incline. They also have poor cushioning and weak motors, which affects their durability. And once the motor goes, you may spend so much on repairs that you're better off getting a new one instead.

On the other hand, you can get a lot more, even from a cheap stationary bike. They don't have motors and feature fewer parts. This reduces wear & tear, so you can spend more time working out than maintenance and care.

There are foldable and compact under-the-desk treadmills that reduce the use of space. However, even the bulkiest under-the-desk bike uses less floor space, is easier to move, assemble, and consumes less electricity when compared to a treadmill.

Posture Correction

Both allow you to strengthen your core muscles. However, treadmills do more to correct your posture by preventing you from working all day with your back hunched toward your computer screen. This prevents the accumulation of body fat around your hips and back, which usually gives you a hunched pear shape.

You can also use an under-the-desk treadmill to improve your gait and posture by:

Aligning your neck and head as you train

Keeping your monitor at eye level by adjusting your desk's height

Relaxing your shoulder

Keeping your elbows close to your body and bending them at 90 degrees

Aligning your hands with your elbows

On the other hand, you may need to pay closer attention to your posture if you're using a bike. In most cases, you need to arch your back, especially when you hike the intensity and duration of your workout.

Effectiveness in Burning Belly Fat

Are you struggling to lose or control your protruding belly? You can achieve this by burning more calories during the day. Working out burns calories, and the resulting calorie deficit forces your body to burn excess fat for energy. Both exercise equipment can help you do this through high-intensity workouts. Crank up the incline on your treadmill or the mechanical resistance on your bike for the best results.

In this regard, both are equally effective.

Back Pain Reduction

Leading a sedentary office lifestyle deconditions your core muscle groups. This leads to fatigue, RSI, and chronic back pain. Fortunately, a 2018 study shows that using a standing desk decreases this by 50%. Adding under-the-desk treadmills effectively strengthens your upper body's lumbar and core muscle groups.

They do so by forcing you to get up, correct your posture, and work out your upper and lower body muscles. Aside from releasing spinal pressure, it also allows you to stretch your hamstrings and gluteus (buttock) muscles.

Under the desk, bikes focus mainly on your legs and blood circulation. So, you may need to add dumbbells, resistance bands, and other accessories to get the full cardio benefits of hopping on a treadmill.

Weight Loss

You burn more calories when you increase the duration and intensity of your workout routine. Therefore, you can achieve this with either of these pieces of under-the-desk fitness equipment. Peddling on an exercise bike burns fewer calories than running on a treadmill. However, walking on a treadmill burns fewer calories than riding a bike.

Does that sound confusing? Let's explain it by looking at a Harvard health review on using both pieces of equipment for 30 minutes.

Peddling on a Stationary Bike for 30 Minutes

A person weighing 125 pounds can burn 210 calories while pedaling at medium intensity. This number increases as the individual's weight go up; someone who weighs 155 pounds can expect to burn 252 calories in the same amount of time, while someone who weighs 185 pounds will burn even more – up to 294 calories.

And with just a slight adjustment to your workout's intensity, you can easily double these gains. For example, if you increase the resistance on your bike and use it for twice as long, you could easily burn over 400 calories in half an hour.

Working Out on Under-the-Desk Treadmill for 30 Minutes

Walking on a treadmill at medium intensity for 30 minutes allows you to cover up to 8 miles without leaving your desk. However, you burn fewer calories compared to a leisurely ride on a stationary bike. A person weighing 125lbs gets to burn 107 calories, fewer calories compared to riding a stationary bike.

On the other hand, the same 125lbs individual will burn around 295 calories by running for 30 minutes which is higher than the 210 calories from riding the stationary bike. Both pieces of gym equipment offer effective weight loss strategies, but it depends on how well and how often you use them.

Footwear Requirement

Cycling on a stationary bike is a low-impact form of exercise. This means you can get away with wearing anything you want. Therefore, you don't need any specialized or costly fitness gear like special running shoes. You can even cycle barefoot if the pedals don't hurt the soles of your feet.

On the other hand, running on your treadmill while wearing dress shoes is ill-advised. It ruins your shoes and can cause stress and pressure on your ankles that can travel up to your knees and calf muscles. Sure, you can get away with running barefoot, but you only get the best out of your treadmill by using specialized running shoes.


Under-the-desk bikes are relatively quiet compared to treadmills. They also offer a more leisurely pace due to their no-impact nature. So you can use them in cultivating a steady rhythm, which helps you to stay focused on your tasks as you exercise.

But, as mentioned earlier, you can get a more intensive workout from peddling vigorously compared to walking on a treadmill. So, again, there is no clear winner in this category since it boils down to your intensity and pace.


Getting a height-adjustable desk helps you get up from the slump of your sedentary office life. But, it's not enough for people that want to correct their posture and improve their health and physical form. You will need to add accessories that allow you to work out even as you carry out your office tasks.

Standing desk treadmills and under-the-desk cycles make the ideal workout companion for your standing desk. They may have distinct features and offer close to the same benefits. So, it's hard to decide which is the best merely based on price or functionality – It's a matter of preference.

If you're looking for the best standing desk and related ergonomic office accessories, hop onto our website and browse our endless catalog to find excellent products and unbeatable deals.