Do Pedal Exercisers Really Work? Know the Pros and Cons!

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Yes, they most definitely do! These mini cardio exercise machines are portable, easy to use, and most importantly, great for workouts. Be it a focused 30-minute aerobic session or a light exercise while you work or watch TV, the under-desk pedal exerciser does it all. And we all know that any form of exercise promotes great physical and mental health.

If you happen to be a senior citizen, then, rather than leading a sedentary lifestyle, it is suggested that you keep your blood pumping using one of the best exercise pedals in the market.

What is a Pedal Exerciser?

It is a small exercise machine that looks and feels much like the pedal section of a bike. Portability and convenience were the foundation of its creation. It is small enough to be tucked under a desk or stored in a closet, and light enough to allow you to carry it around wherever you go.

Most of them don’t have a drive (a drive takes up more space) but have either friction or magnetic resistance.

Other than that, the pedal exerciser has very few noteworthy features. Some of them may have a display and console to track your workout progress and provide analytics, like distance, time, speed, RPM, or calories burned.

Pedal Exercisers are fairly easy to use

Pedal Exercisers are fairly easy to use

Let us look at some key points and features that will provide greater insight into them.


1. Helps You Get a Good Calorie Burn

The pedal exerciser is, in essence, an aerobic exercise equipment. Though it is not as effective in burning calories as a spin bike can, it can still offer a decent cardio exercise and even contribute to weight loss with continuous use over a period of few months.

A study performed for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2015, an average person can burn over 100 calories in an hour with a low-level exercise on the pedal exerciser. It can jump to over 130 calories in 30 minutes with a moderate level of workout.

Putting this together with the findings of Mayo Clinic, the average person can lose a pound of their weight in seven weeks with a casual, light exercise for an hour at work.

Of course, the rate can be increased with more effort!



You can get very good exercise with a pedal exerciser

2. Helps Increase Metabolism

Burning calories not only help weight loss you know? Those extra calories burned are going to use up a lot of oxygen (O2) that your body is going to be taking in. This process will boost your metabolism to the next level.

Metabolism helps you to passively burn calories even if you are not working out, even if you are sleeping! Not only that, a higher metabolism will contribute to your body functions to work more efficiently. Making you fitter and healthier in the long run.

3. Improves Mood and Work Performance

Exercise, and also a better metabolism, causes the brain to release “feel good” chemicals, endorphins. This will naturally lift your mood and make you open to trying new challenges, even doing the most mundane jobs.

The synergy of working and working out is almost mind-blowing in this regard. Tucking your pedal exerciser under your work desk and pedaling on it will not interrupt your work. This working in tandem with the endorphins released by your body can take your performance and productivity to whole new levels.

4. Portable

The portability of the pedal exerciser allows you to carry it anywhere, rather than just keeping it in your home or office. YOu can even fold some models up to take them along on your vacation or work trips. Why miss out on exercise, right?


You can take the pedal exerciser anywhere

5. Low Impact Exercise

One of the main features, of all stationary bikes in general, is its ability to provide a low-impact exercise. And this is carried over to the pedal exerciser.

A low-impact exercise puts little to no strain on your joints as you work out as your feet never leave the machine.

This is taken a step further by the pedal exerciser by making itself more accessible, portable, and easy to use for the elderly and the injured.

6. Can Be Used For The Upper Body

Unlike most exercise equipment where you can only use them for a designated muscle group (like the stationary bike only covers the muscles of the lower body), a mini pedal exerciser can also be utilized for the upper body as well.

Due to being lightweight and portable, these pedal exercisers can be put on top of the desk or counter and work on your arms as well. This makes it possible for you to get almost full-body workouts on this machine.

This may not be a design feature for most models, but there are some like medical peddlers that encourage this use.

Upper body

Here is a small guide on how you can properly use your pedal exerciser:


1. Requires Some Sitting Adjustments

These under desk pedal exercisers do not come with adjustable heights. This means that finding a comfortable sitting position while you exercise can sometimes be difficult to obtain. Even more so if you are a taller person or if your chair cannot have its height adjusted.

The height of the table might also come into play. With a lower table, you can find your knees hitting the underside every time you pedal.

These restrictions may force you to lean back on your chair during work, which is not only uncomfortable but also awkward to look at.

2. Can Become Noisy

Most friction-based pedal exercisers can become noisy over time. This can be due to low maintenance, heavy use, or even by design. In such cases use lubricants and keep the machine well maintained.

Of course, pedal exercisers with magnetic resistance do not have this problem.

3. Gets in the Way of Your Chair

This is more of an inconvenience than a straight-up disadvantage.

The first thing that can happen is that the T-bar of the pedal exerciser can get in the way of your office chair, hooking it in place. This is more likely if you have your machine placed directly under your feet to push downward, as it should be.

Secondly, given that office chairs have wheels on them, you can push yourself away from your desk if you are pushing the pedals forward instead of downward. You may have to lock in your wheels, restricting your movement.

Notice that the disadvantages are mostly situational. With proper preparation and knowledge, these can be very easily avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How long should you use a pedal exerciser?

Ans.: Most experts agree that you should use the pedal exerciser for your cardio workout for at least 30 minutes a day, and if possible, 5 days a week. It is also recommended that you use moderate to high resistance during the session to get the best out of your workout.

For the elderly or the recovering, it is suggested to use the pedal exerciser for around 15 minutes at a time, keeping the resistance mild to moderate. The time can be increased as per tolerance.

Q2. Can you lose weight with a pedal exerciser?

Ans.: Yes. The pedal exerciser is, in essence, a cardio machine that makes it able to burn calories more effectively, thus contributing to weight loss.

But weight loss is not only about losing, it is also about gaining. If you are taking in more calories than you are losing, then no exercise machine on Earth can help you with your weight loss.

Q3. What is the best mini exercise bike?

Ans.: For your convenience, we have put together the best under desk exercise bikes on the market today. Whether it be cardio or convenience, these mini exercise bikes are sure to fulfill all of your needs.

Final Words

The pedal exerciser is a great innovation for the modern person with their packed routines. It allows for the great convenience of getting some exercise done while you focus on other, more important work.

The advantages of the pedal exercisers are many and the disadvantages are strictly situational, making them very effective in their purpose.

So if you have anything over $50 to invest (that’s cheap!), do consider spending it towards better health and get yourself a pedal exerciser.

Dion Lewis

My name is Dion Lewis.I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

  1. Thank you for your information. It told me that I am doing the right thing with my present pedal exerciser. If I had more motivation, I may even be able to walk right now without my walker. My inury was from an accidental fall.

  2. I am disabled. Is doing the pedal machine on automatic as opposed to pushing the pedals myself doing anything besides circulation? I am working up to 40 minutes and hoping one day I can do this pedal machine manually myself but right now I cannot and need the machine to do the rotation. Could you tell me if I am wasting my time. Thank You!

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