Getting outside for a run, Skillen says, will make you more engaged, pushing you to work harder and burn more calories. “Think about using the desk like taking the dog for a walk,” she says, “it’s a good way to get your steps in.”
Brown isn’t quite so quick to dismiss them, citing convenience. “Under-desk treadmills present a reliable means of engaging in physical activity throughout your workday,” he says. “This consistent movement can gradually help you burn calories and contribute to weight loss over time.”
Like Skillen, however, Brown also agrees that getting outdoors offers a more varied – and interesting – experience. “Outdoor running provides the advantage of diverse terrains and intensities,” he says. “This variety can be more effective for weight loss as it continually challenges your body and prevents adaptation to a single workout routine.”
What about strength training?
None of us go running purely to build up our legs, but a nice bit of definition is a side product of bashing out 10Ks on the reg. Can an under-desk option do the same? Brown thinks their low-impact nature could prevent injury, meaning we can remain consistent without throwing our knees or shins out – which is nice.
Apart from that, they don’t have much going for them. “Outdoor running typically engages a broader spectrum of leg muscles due to variations in terrain, elevation, and natural obstacles,” says Brown. “This comprehensive engagement can lead to more effective leg strengthening.”
“The decision between an under-desk treadmill and other home cardio equipment hinges on your available space, fitness preferences, and financial considerations,” says Brown. “But, if you have ample room and prioritise vigorous workouts, then traditional treadmills, rowing machines or stationary bikes could be the superior option.”
If after reading this you’re still set on getting an under-desk unit (and please, we can only tell you so much), try following Brown’s weekly plan, below, for a more rounded workout.
Morning (Under-Desk Treadmill): Kick off the week with a revitalising 20-30 minute morning walk on the under-desk treadmill. This gentle activity will invigorate your body and get your circulation going, setting a positive tone for the day.
Evening (Outdoor Run): After your workday, venture outdoors for a 30-40 minute run at a moderate, sustainable pace. This run focuses on building your endurance, making it a solid start to your weekly fitness routine.
Morning (Under-Desk Treadmill): In the morning, keep your productivity and energy levels up with a brisk 20-minute walk on the under-desk treadmill while tackling your work tasks. This multitasking approach keeps you active even during office hours.
Evening (Strength Training): For your evening workout, engage in a 30-40 minute session of strength training. Incorporate bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, and planks to enhance leg strength and core stability. This not only improves your physical fitness but also complements your running goals.
Morning (Under-Desk Treadmill): Stay consistent with your daily movement routine by dedicating 20-30 minutes to a morning walk on the under-desk treadmill. This steady habit is vital for sustaining an active lifestyle.
Evening (Interval Run): For the evening, venture outdoors for a 30-minute run that features intervals of higher intensity. You can incorporate one-minute sprints followed by two minutes of jogging. Interval runs like this boost cardiovascular fitness and add variety to your training.
Morning (Under-Desk Treadmill): Undertake a 20-minute walk on the under-desk treadmill while working. This serves as an active recovery session, allowing your body to recuperate while staying productive.
Evening (Outdoor Run): Opt for a longer run, aiming for 45-60 minutes at a steady, manageable pace. This extended run focuses on building endurance and provides a mid-week challenge.
Morning (Under-Desk Treadmill): Jumpstart your day with a brisk 20-minute morning walk on the under-desk treadmill. This boosts productivity and ensures your workday begins with energy.
Evening (Cross-Training): Incorporate cross-training into your Friday evening routine. Engage in activities like cycling, swimming or yoga for 30-40 minutes. Cross-training not only prevents overuse injuries but also introduces variety to your workout regimen, keeping things engaging and effective.
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