Desk Pedals

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Desk pedals you can use at work or home – Use while on your phone, watching TV, playing video games or any time you’re sitting!

Get an effective workout while working or gaming – passive, low-attention exercise promotes leg movement and improved circulation in a non-distracting way.

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Desk Pedals Help Reduce Damaging Effects Of Prolonged Sitting

We stress ergonomics to reduce strain while sitting. There are a number of solutions including sit/stand desks and other ergonomic interventions to reduce pain from long periods of sitting. Desk pedals are an interesting strategy that can be used alone or in combination with other ergonomic interventions; we certainly recommend the latter.

We know strain on spinal structures results from poor postures when sitting, however; there is a reason it is being said that “Sitting Is The New Smoking”. We focus on something called endothelial dysfunction that relates to more than just back pain.

desk pedalsThe endothelium is positioned between the walls of the blood vessels and the blood, forming a large organ in the body that responds to mechanical factors like motion and pressure. The response is releasing inflammatory chemicals which negatively affect blood vessel function or cause dysfunction.

This endothelial dysfunction is related to degenerative disc disease[1] through microcirculation, but is also a factor in peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and diabetes. Healthy endothelium is critical for cardiovascular health and dysfunction results in cardiovascualr problems like hypertension and atherosclerosis.[2]

The risk of death from all causes increases approximately 5% each hour of daily sitting incrementally for adults that sit seven or more hours per day![3]

When sitting, the legs are still and pooling of blood can lead to endothelial dysfunction that can cause pain, difficulty walking and sores or tissue death in the legs. This peripheral artery disease and lead to formation of clots. Desk pedals are one solution to this problem for those who sit for long periods.

Desk pedals are portable pedal exercise machines that can be placed under the desk and used to increase activity of the legs. This is good for circulation and to activate the lower core muscles to help with back pain. Those who spend 4-8 hours per day in a sitting position find these especially beneficial, and there is an indication that women may prefer desk pedals to standing desks.[4]

I spend excessive amounts of time sitting at a computer and experience back pain as well as vascular issues in the legs like tingling and my legs falling asleep. I incorporate ergonomics in numerous ways including a standing desk. I like the elliptical desk pedal personally and use this one, although, there are many models that are great including the Desk Cycle.

For me, using a variety of measures is best and allows modification and variation based on the work to be done and any symptoms experienced. I also take breaks and do half jacks – small motion jumping jacks, only takes a few minutes. I do 4 sets of 30 repetitions. I use the elliptical version of the desk pedals because I like the smooth motion and it suits my particular body mechanics.


You should take into consideration the height of your desk – you need to be able to have some knee room. I think the low profile elliptical desk pedals reduce this motion and they should fit under most desks, are easily portable, an adjustable tension is nice so you can begin slowly. The eliptical also has visual monitor to view you stats.

It is easy to use and thus low distraction, but can also help keep you focused, especially good for kids who tend to fidget a lot.

Desk Pedal References

1. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Mar;84(3):249-51
2. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;956:511-540.
3. CMAJ. 2006 Mar 14;174(6):801-9
4. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jun 12;15(6)

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.