Guide to Using a Pedal Exerciser

If you ever wish you could combine time at work with time working out, maybe a pedal exerciser can help. These compact pedaling machines fit under many desks and give you the ability to burn some extra calories while wrapping up that conference call. Just like you, a pedal exerciser is an expert multi-tasker, allowing you to get in a upper-body and lower-body workout with the same piece of equipment.

Try It Out

    Before you buy a pedal exerciser, decide what features you need. Most have different levels of resistance to match your exercise mood, but some also have digital displays that track the amount of time you workout, the resistance level you are using and the estimated number of calories burned. Pick the one you like and give it a test drive to see if you like the range of motion, the way the pedals feel and the level of resistance. Find one that feels good and gives you the challenge you're looking for.

Leg Workout

    When you need to squeeze in a quick workout, use the pedal exerciser for some interval training. Slide your feet in the pedal grips and pedal at a medium-high resistance as fast as you can for one minute and then slow down to a more moderate speed for two minutes. Repeat the cycle as many times as you can in the time allotted. Change it up to get in 30 minutes of aerobic activity by pedaling at a consistent speed at a medium resistance.

Arm Exercises

    Pedaling isn't just for your feet. You can get a workout for your upper body by putting the pedal exerciser on a table and moving your arms. Place it on a rubber mat, if it doesn't already have rubber feet, so it won't move around when you get going. Grab the pedals and rotate them forward, changing the resistance as necessary to make the workout more challenging. Go for about 15 minutes and then change directions to rotate the pedals backward for another 15 minutes. Work up to the full 30 minutes if necessary, or dial back the resistance partway through the workout to keep it going.


    Take a tape measure with you to make sure the machine will fit under your desk or in that hidden corner when you're shopping for a pedal exerciser. When you try your exerciser, measure how high your knees come up before you buy it -- you might find one you can use completely under your desk, on a side without a drawer. Or, scoot your seat back so your knees can extend up behind your desk. Look for one with the right kind of feet for the job -- rubber feet help it to hang on to tabletops and slick floors, but carpets need feet with ridges for proper gripping them.

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