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Under Desk Elliptical vs Walking: Which is a Better Workout?

A low-impact cardio workout is a type of exercise that is easy on the joints. It involves movements that are gentle and fluid in motion. A low-impact exercise is considered the best for individuals who are new to working out, recovering from injury, or getting back into exercising. It’s also a great workout for those who just want to hit their physical activity levels and burn calories without having to put stress on their joints.

There are many activities that can count as a form of low-impact workout, such as walking and using an under-desk elliptical machine. Both activities are easy on the joints, help burn calories, help you build muscle, and can be done anytime. However, when it comes to weight loss and achieving your fitness goals, you may be wondering which one is better: walking or the under-desk elliptical?

In this article, we noted down a number of things that you should consider when it comes to choosing the better workout. Read on!

What is an Under-Desk Elliptical?

An under-desk elliptical or under desk bike is an exercise machine that a person can pedal on while seated. Unlike a traditional elliptical fitness machine, an under-desk elliptical is smaller in size and more portable. This fitness equipment can be used at home or in the office as it doesn’t take up much space and can be operated while doing various tasks.

Under Desk Ellipticals for Weight Loss: Is an Under-Desk Elliptical as Good as Walking?

“Is using an elliptical trainer equally good as walking?” is a question that gets asked a lot. There is no true yes or no answer to this as the benefits reaped from walking or using the elliptical can vary between a person and their fitness objectives. There are matters that one should consider when choosing which low-impact workout to do: walking or the desk elliptical machine.

Which Burns More Calories?

Walking and the under desk elliptical machine are low-impact cardio workouts that can help with weight loss. The question now is, how many calories can one burn between each form of workout?

There are many factors that come into play when it comes to burning calories. These include the person’s weight, body composition, age, metabolic rate, and intensity of the activity. An individual who weighs 150 pounds can net about 145 calories burned if they walk at 3.5 miles per hour at a brisk pace.

On the other hand, the same person using an under-desk elliptical may not get their heart rate up by a lot. This can result in not having a significant amount of calories burned. 

It is still worth noting that whether you choose to walk or use desk bikes, the true amount of calories you burn depends on the intensity of your effort. You can burn more calories if you walk on varying terrain and you can increase your calorie burn on the elliptical by raising your resistance levels.

Which Works the Upper Body?

If we were talking about the traditional desk workout machines, then there’s no doubt that that would be the clear winner of this portion. However, unlike the traditional elliptical trainer, an under-desk elliptical doesn’t come with handles that can help work your upper body. By its name, the under-desk elliptical is great for a lower-body workout as you use your feet, legs, and other lower body muscles.

Walking makes use of your lower extremities as well but it’s easier to modify this exercise and turn it into a full-body workout. You can burn more calories and work more muscle groups by walking faster, adding a light jog in between, walking on an incline, using free weights, adding exercise moves, adding intervals, and so on. 

Does an Under-Desk Elliptical Count as Steps?

According to research, most adults are only able to walk roughly 3,000 to 4,000 steps daily. If you’re stuck at your workstation all day long, your step count may be lower than that. You can always increase your steps by taking a break and doing a short workout in the office. 

Taking a walk counts as a short workout break from office tasks. When walking, you may use a workout accessory such as a pedometer to count or track your steps. There are also fitness watches that not only count your steps but also track your heart rate, calories, and the like.

If taking a walk isn’t available to you, fitness equipment such under desk bikes can help you with your step count. Most under-desk elliptical workout machines have basic features that allow you to track your progress. 

Which One is More Convenient?

Both walking and the under-desk elliptical are convenient workout choices. The good thing about walking is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and most of all, it’s free. You can customize a walking workout to your preference by adding exercise intervals or using weights. Walking is a great way to increase your fitness levels and add more movement to your daily routine.

On the other hand, while an under-desk elliptical may come with a cost, it can be a good fitness investment, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of your computer. If you’re in the office, you can pedal away while in a conference, and if you’re at home, you can work out on the elliptical while watching TV or reading a book.

Which is Better, Under-Desk Treadmill or Elliptical?

A cardio desk can help break up the monotony of sitting for long hours by incorporating more movement into your day. Both an under-desk treadmill and an under-desk elliptical are great options that can help with weight loss and other fitness ambitions. Whatever you choose, both can bring physical and mental benefits that can improve your overall well-being.


Both walking and an under-desk elliptical are low-impact activities that can help you burn calories and lose weight. If you’re having a hard time choosing between them, consider the points mentioned above and ultimately pick the type of workout that you enjoy the most so that you’re more likely to stick with it, which can help you achieve your fitness ambitions.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.