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'Gamercize' Cardio at Our Desk 176

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the fewer-leotards-tho dept.
Gustoman writes "A new device that hit the market this week may not be able to help you put in fewer hours in the office, but it can help you get a good cardio workout while you're troubleshooting that laptop or reviewing that spreadsheet. Gamercize, a British company, this week launched the GZ PC-Sport & Power Steppe, which is designed to fit underneath a standard-sized desk so someone can sit at their computer or talk on the telephone while using the stepper. Gamercize officials note that the machine is not just a small version of a StairMaster machine that you'd find at the gym. The machine can be hooked up to a keyboard or mouse through a USB port. The user can set it up so they can use the stepper whenever they want, or they can prevent their keyboard or mouse from working unless they're exercising. There are five settings on the under-desk step machine. The lowest setting lets workers simply exercise their legs at an easy pace whenever they want. At the top level, the work out is much harder and the user must exercise to keep his or her keyboard or mouse working. At the lowest setting, a user could burn 100 to 200 calories an hour. At the top level, it is possible to burn as many as 500 calories an hour. (That's like burning off the equivalent of an entire milk shake.)"
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'Gamercize' Cardio at Our Desk

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  • Ok, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot AT exit0 DOT us> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:22AM (#21363447) Homepage
    So why don't they set it up to recharge your laptop battery too?
  • Come on . . . (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:27AM (#21363539)
    . . . is it *really* that hard to get to the gym or outside to exercise? Sometimes a break away from your desk is a good thing. Stuff like this just preserves the sweatshop mentality already too prevalent in many IT shops. Just my .02.
    • Re:Come on . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

      by barzok (26681) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:37AM (#21363703)
      Yes.

      I get up at 6:15, get myself ready for work, eat breakfast, get my kid ready for daycare, go to work, get home, make dinner or feed the kid, spend quality time with him, put him to bed, and by that time it's 9 PM or later. I have 2 hours left in the day to do anything else I need to do (pay bills, manage some household stuff, etc.) and then I'm back in bed.

      I tried exercising after 9. It kept me up till 12:30 AM while my body spun down and I was useless the next day.
      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:49AM (#21363861) Journal

        I get up at 6:15, get myself ready for work, eat breakfast, get my kid ready for daycare, go to work, get home, make dinner or feed the kid, spend quality time with him, put him to bed, and by that time it's 9 PM or later. I have 2 hours left in the day to do anything else I need to do (pay bills, manage some household stuff, etc.) and then I'm back in bed.
        You have a kid... this implies you have had sex.

        Speaking for a large portion of the slashdot population...

        What's it like?

        Seriously, though, I'm in the same boat. What I've discovered is that there is unused time to at least go for short walks (lunchtime, for example -- 10 mins (maximum) to eat, 20 minutes to walk around the parking lot/campus. I've also discovered that 4:30 AM is a great time to go for a walk -- I bring a bottle of water, and this wake-up ritual has replaced my early-morning coffee. It's amazing how much more energy I have throughout the day if I begin with some moderate exercise. I suppose an exercise bike would serve the same purpose, and give me a better workout while allowing me to still catch the news.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SQLGuru (980662)
          My youngest is 9. I'm home when she gets off the bus (I work 6am to 3pm, thanks to flexible work hours). We spend 30 minutes a day walking around the neighborhood and chatting about her day. Some days we stop at the neighborhood park (less exercise for me, but keeps her motivated to continue). Sure, it isn't heart-pumping cardio, but movement is movement. I start cooking at 4 and supper is ready by 4:30 (when the next one gets home from middle school). Homework and housework are allocated about an hou
        • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @12:19PM (#21365301)
          You have a kid... this implies you have had sex.

          Speaking for a large portion of the slashdot population...

          What's it like?


          Actually it just implies that his wife had sex. ;)
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        Have you considered running your kid to daycare on your shoulders?

        Sorry, that was just a funny image to me.
      • by hal2814 (725639)
        You make time for the things that are important. In your estimation, working out isn't important enough. That's fine but don't act like there isn't time because there is. You just don't want to bump anything to do it. While my kids were younger and in need of more attention, I would work out before work. Yes, that meant getting up at 5AM, but it's better than the after 9PM scenario you mention for the exact reason you mention.
        • by barzok (26681)
          But to get up at 5 AM, I'd have to go to sleep at 10 AM. Which reduces my time to do the other things I need to do by another hour.
          • But to get up at 5 AM, I'd have to go to sleep at 10 AM. Which reduces my time to do the other things I need to do by another hour.
            Well if you're only up for 5 hours I can see how you're running out of time :P
        • by barzok (26681)
          You're partially right. In relation to spending time with my infant son, "working out" definitely is not important enough.
          • by hal2814 (725639)
            Partially right? I'm completely right. I also don't blame my children for my own lack of exercise.
      • by Flammon (4726)
        I exercise 2-4 hours per day.

        5:00 - Alarm
        5:00 - 5:30, 6:00 Do the odd thing on the computer, read news, work on website.
        6:00 - 7:30 Excercise. Run about 18km
        7:30 - 8:30 Shower, get to work.
        8:30 - 17:00 Work
        17:30 - 18:30 Run for another hour
        18:30 - 19:00 Eat with family (Wife and two children, 9 and 10)
        19:00 - 20:00 Calisthenics (while watching TV)
        20:00 - 21:00 Spend more time with family
        21:00 - 5:00 Sleep

        I can run a 5k in 16:33 [sportstats.ca] and I'm also geek. My UID should be enough proof. This is an average schedule. S
      • by yarbo (626329)
        I work out for an hour during my lunch breaks 3x a work week. I eat at my desk when I get back. Your workout doesn't even have to be an hour if you can't spare it. Do a few body weight squats (as a warmup), an upper body pushing exercise (pushups, dumbbell or barbell bench press or overhead press), an upper body pulling exercise (rows, pullups/chinups), and a lower body exercise (weighted squats, deadlifts, lunges, stepups, etc...) each for two sets and you could easily be done in 15-20 minutes. You cou
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)
      Or ride your bike to work.

      Instead of wasting time in the car/bus on the ride to/from work, you can get in a lot of your excercise.
      • by Amouth (879122)
        i have a 30mile 1 way drive to work.. and that is with the interstate - something i really don't want to be on a bike anywhere near.. hell i don't feel safe on it and i drive a volvo
    • . . . is it *really* that hard to get to the gym or outside to exercise?

      Yes. YES. It's hard to get the TIME. Many people have so many demands on their time, both business and social, that taking an hour (or make it 1h30, what with changing, showering, warming up/down etc) is very difficult. If you can take that long for your lunch hour and go during the day, lucky you. I know I can't, and I would much rather use the time I am sitting at my desk letting my brain do the work, to exercise my body at the s
      • by MrCrassic (994046)

        Even as an intern, I can attest to this. I am a cyclist and training to race, and it didn't take long before my weekly mileage went from somewhere in the 100's to struggling to fit in 40 or so.

        When the boss wants you in at 8:30A, wants you out at 6:30P, and then there are meetings and the commute to worry about, it can get really tough to find time to do much of anything. Plus, it's just not safe to ride in the night, which is difficult to avoid now.

    • by Kelbear (870538)
      I lift weights 3 times a week for an hour and a half, and try to squeeze in a half-hour of cardio after lifting. It's not easy to break out huge amounts of time to dedicate exclusively to exercise and nothing else. There's a great deal of things I'd rather be doing with my time outside of work but I don't have the option of not going to the gym, and I'm still barely getting enough to keep fat at a "normal" level.

      Light cardio can be done for a long long time and burns off large amounts of calories with relat
    • I have not done anything remotely related to execise after I crushed my stress-reliever ball last year.

      Damn, and I liked that ball too. It laste me a whole month.

    • Alternatives (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ed Avis (5917)
      Some exercise professionals recommend [sf-chiro.com] that instead of sitting on a chair at work, you sit on a Swiss ball. Then your core muscles have to work moderately hard to keep you stable. I haven't tried it but it's said to be fairly tiring to do it all day long.

      If you prefer to just burn some energy, there's always the desk treadmill [computerworld.com.au].
  • Milkshake? (Score:4, Funny)

    by onion2k (203094) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:27AM (#21363547) Homepage

    That's like burning off the equivalent of an entire milk shake.

    If you're drinking 500 calorie milkshakes then this is probably something you need. If you can fit it under the desk with your huge fat legs. ;)
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      If they're talking junkfood quality milkshakes, they'll probably be 500.
      If you make one yourself with good ingredients (low fat milk and icecream, artificial sweetener, fresh fruit), it'll be about 250 for the same size.
      • If you make one yourself with good ingredients (low fat milk and icecream, artificial sweetener, fresh fruit), it'll be about 250 for the same size.

        Hmm. Artificially filtered milk, artificially filtered and sweetened ice cream, artificial sweetener -- and fresh fruit. Yep, them's good ingredients! Just like Grandma used to make!

        • How do you artificially filter milk? I had to do some work at a dairy for several month a while back while I was working on a food technology project (in the old chem eng days). The pasteurizer did nothing more than heat the milk quickly and cool it back down quickly (HTST Pasteurization). Anther centrifuge separated out a lot of the fat to make it skim, 1%, 2%, etc. Another machine homogenized it by putting it through a tight pored filter. It was still milk when it came out. It just makes sure the fat
        • by mwvdlee (775178)
          Actually, the fruit is probably sprayed with artificial pesticide.

          If low fat milk means "artificially filtered", then I guess peeled potatoes are "artificially filtered" too. The only thing remotely "chemical" on the list is the artificial sweetener.

          Your grandma probably used worse (more poluted, less healthy) food than any of those.
    • by bitt3n (941736)

      If you're drinking 500 calorie milkshakes then this is probably something you need. If you can fit it under the desk with your huge fat legs. ;)
      it's "big boned" you insensitive clod. all those milkshakes have a lot of calcium.
  • I wouldn't recommend using it while on the phone. People might get the wrong idea from your heavy breathing. (Or the right one, depending on who you are calling).
  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:30AM (#21363581)
    How - puff pant - can I help you - pant puff - your account's locked - puff pant - certainly - pant puff - I'll reset your password

    Sorry, I forgot, we're never that helpful.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      From RTA: "She laughed and added that most people don't work out hard enough on the stepper to be out of breath when they're on a business call or to work up a good sweat there in the office. "You don't want to break out into a sweat and be horrible in the office."

      I read a study a while ago that very light yet prolonged exercise can actually do you some good. Alas, I can't remember the catchphrase for this type of exercise.

  • Does it work with Linux?
    • by kimvette (919543)
      Yeah I know it's cliche, and someone expects this to be posted in every thread, but I was serious. :)
      • It'll work with Linux as soon as someone writes a walker for it.

        /Table 19, your pizza's ready. Don't forget to tip your waitress.
        • by Skraut (545247)
          Come on Mods, that was the funniest thing I've read all day. Excuse me while I get back to my cobol programming.
  • by kacksperky (1189485) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:34AM (#21363633)
    Honestly, every day I wonder about the lazy people surrounding me.

    Simple steps to get some exercise without going to and paying for a gym.

    • Leave you car at home, ride a bike to go to work, visit your friends
    • Dont use escalators or elevators
    • Run a few blocks in the morning or evening
    • Get a hobby that does not involve sitting in front of a tv or monitor
    Its just that easy and in the end might get you a few more years of healthy living.
    • by darthflo (1095225)
      Cycling to work, climbing stairs and running a few blocks every now and then sure are nice ideas, but all you're really going to tone with 'em are your legs. If you're going for the healthy living, don't forget about the "Get a hobby" part or add half an hour of pushups and/or situps before and/or after work.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Get a hobby that does not involve sitting in front of a tv or monitor
      Don't sit in front? You mean like FIXING tvs or monitors? How will that make me exercise more?
    • by bobetov (448774)
      "Honestly, every day I wonder about the lazy people surrounding me." ...says the guy without a kid and family and house to take care of.

      If you're young, free, and have time to spare, then sure, desk-based cardio is a lazy choice. If, however, you have a life full to the brim with responsibilities, you can't just "Run a few blocks in the morning or evening".

      Enjoy the luxury that is free time, and don't talk down to those of us who don't have it.

    • by steveo777 (183629)
      Yeah, I started biking to work in the summers. 7 miles each way and I loved it until I tore my ham string. It had be significantly weakened by strains throughout the year due to over use (see my 'homepage'). The only thing I didn't love was the lack of a way to shower at work.

      But watching TV is not a hobby of mine. Though I did sit and play Assassin's Creed for four hours last night... So now I've had to resort to, you know, not eating everything in site. Which I'm usually pretty good at anyways.

      • by Kintanon (65528)
        I politely mock you for your choice of martial art and direct you to www.bullshido.net.
        If you are taking that with the idea that you are doing anything actually related to fighting you should also look up Matt Thornton's video on Aliveness in martial arts. If you're just doing it for fun and they aren't claiming to teach you The Ultimate Deadly Combat Mastery for The Streets then continue as you were.
    • by SQLGuru (980662)

      Dont use escalators or elevators
      Escalators are GREAT for exercise, better than stairs......just go the wrong way on them.....

      Layne
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      * Leave you car at home, ride a bike to go to work, visit your friends

      It would take me an hour or so to bike to work, everything added in (like a shower). That's an hour (or two if I go both ways) I could have spent on something else. Yes a full hour, it's oddly difficult to read a book while biking to work but not that difficult when taking the bus. You can also read a book (or watch tv) when doing cardio in a gym or at home.

      Also, biking to work entails a non-trivial chance of death or severe bodily harm for me due to the route I'd need to take.

      * Dont use escalators or elevators

      Decent idea, a few of my co-

      • by Profound (50789)
        >> It would take me an hour or so to bike to work, everything added in (like a shower). That's an hour (or two if I go both ways) I could have spent on something else.

        How long does it usually take to get to work? You need to subtract that time off. Also that time isn't a waste, it's exercise - you can reduce your exercise time elsewhere.

        Don't exercise? You are an animal that is designed to - your brain and body will work much better and you'll get less sick and weak with age if you exercise.

        You don't
      • by Profound (50789)
        Oh, another thing is presumably you would have had to have a shower anyway. There's no need to shower at home before a bike ride, just have 1 a day at work. That's what I do.
  • Noise and Smell? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I was just wondering how it would effect the work place, if everybody was doing this. Wouldn't it cause a major sweat and thus a terrible smell? I am also worried about the noise level, from the machine, but also as a previous poster commented, the puff puff from human beings.
    • by fbjon (692006)
      Sweat doesn't actually smell, you know. It's the bacteria that grow in it aftwerwards, if you don't remove the sweat.
  • ... as an excuse for breathing heavily down the phone.
  • My sister-in-law-to-be bought one of these things on a home shopping channel a year or so ago. Or more accurately, one of those mechanisms. From what I can see in photographs shown in another web page [gamercize.net], it looks quite similar.

    Hers hadn't been marketed as an under-the-desk exercise solution, but instead came with a handlebar support one gripped while standing on the pedals. In that capacity, I found it ridiculous. The piston mechanism under each pedal readily collapsed under my weight, though they might indee
  • by Panitz (1102427)
    Could this be fitted on airplanes as a help to stopping DVT on long flights?
    It could stow away under the seat if you didn't want it... plus you wouldn't have to watch the silly 'inflight exercises' video.
    • It could stow away under the seat if you didn't want it...

      Haven't flown lately, have you? Airline cabins are so small and the seats so tightly packed that I highly doubt people are going to be willing to give up any of what little leg room is left (more leg room is actually sold as part of premium fare tickets on United, for example). Also, with fuel prices being what they are, the weight-conscious airlines aren't going to be willing to increase the weight of the plane with lots of these things withou

    • by darthflo (1095225)
      It's *going* to be fit into planes as soon as we run out of mineral oil. You won't be able to stow it away, though. And there won't be any more sleeping on long flights, it'll all be exercising. :)
  • ...this can give online games like ET an whole new dimension...Fuel Depot where every inch is conquered with a drop of sweat mixed with tears...in the end the neighbor downstairs calls the cops...
  • I have yet to see any exercise machine that doesnt make any noise, except maybe "power grips".

    Sure, most office environments are noisy, but it's office noise, not gym noise.

    My suggestion is get a nice folding bike, like a Brompton for example, that you can keep in your cubicle and go for a relaxing ride during your lunch break.

    As a bonus, it'll reduce your stress levels
  • In this age, any machine that is manually operated especially those designed for the sole purpose of offering physical resistance to muscles, needs to have a generator attached to it so that the exercise charges a battery.

    I have a cheap crank flashlight. Inside is a small generator with a stiff winder, a NiMH battery, and four high-intensity white LEDs. Cheap and effective. This kind of thing should be inside every exercise bicycle and piece of gym equipment, along with a device that converts bat
    • by Spacejock (727523)
      I built a laptop shelf for my exercise bike, and in 42 mins I can happily pedal 10-12 km on the hardest setting. Just the right amount of time for one episode of a TV show from my DVD du jour. I would love to have a generator on that bike to power the laptop - no pedal, no TV.
  • I have a simple 25 lb free weight I keep at my desk and do a few curls whenever code is compiling. (Cost $20, found anywhere)

    You really, really shouldn't be doing cardio at your desk though. You should become sweaty and stinky by the end of it (assuming you're actually getting a workout) which your coworkers probably won't appreciate. Just jog for 20 minutes after work.
  • If you're playing a stairclimbing game with your stairclimber, then you're no better than the guy that drives 2 miles to the gym, runs 4 miles on treadmill, then drives home. It's a good idea, but a waste of resources unless it is helping to run the computer with your extra wattage.
    • I completely agree with you when the weather is nice. But, running on summer days (90 deg F +, 80%+ humidity) or on winter days ( 10 deg F, no humidity) is a lot harder than running/swimming in a gym. I hate running indoors because of the cotton mouth that usually results, but it is better than not running at all. I do make sure that I don't make extra trips to go only to the gym.
  • I find this stupid.

    Cut calories, cut snacks, you'll drop weight. All this little device is going to do is build up muscles in your legs, and "500" calories an hour? Seriously? Just for moving your feet? I think not unless you're pushing the Rock of Gibraltar. Do you want giant calfs and muscles on top of them? I think not.

    If you can't exercise cut your caloric intake, even on a week where I worked 70 hours I still dropped 3 pounds. The whole secret is watch what you eat. Exercise makes the body look
    • If you only reduce calories without exercising and lifting weights, you're going to end up losing muscle, not fat, and slowing down your metabolism yet to boot. Muscle burns calories, even if you're sitting around the office, and it will make you burn more calories for every minute of exercise you do. Any realistic weight loss/maintenance program includes diet (you can't lose weight if you're eating more calories than you're burning), cardio (burn calories), and resistance training (maintain - not necessari
  • Ah yes, the stairmaster. Row upon row of them sit idle at my gym. I have only ever seen one person use them there. They have quite fallen out of fashion. Everyone goes for the elliptical these days, as well as the old standbys of the treadmill and the stationary bikes. I see a bright future ahead for Gamercize.
  • These new devices just aren't the alternatives to normal exercise.

    First off, eat right. No matter how much you exercise, as long as you're eating shit, your body will look like it too.

    Then theres the gym. Oh that's right, "I DONT HAVE THE TIME!". Bullshit! If you can't find 4 hours a week to put into making yourself healthier than don't cry when you're 50-60 with health problems and have a hard time going up the stairs and have to take the elevator just to go from 2nd to 3rd floor.

    Or is it that all people h
  • I bought a portable mini-cycle from Sharper Image awhile back ( http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/catalog/product/sku__LI112 [sharperimage.com] in case anyone's interested). I put it under my desk and began pedaling. The first problem was hitting my knees. So I moved back a bit and raised my desk up on two wood boards. This worked, but the force of pushing on the pedals kept pushing my wheeled chair back. I wasn't willing to give up the comfortable chair, so I just figured out how to push without pushing myself back. No
  • How To Use Video Games To Keep Fit [videojug.com] The device in question is briefly mentioned towards the end of this amusing video.

  • Now I never got much training in this sort of thing, but as I understand it the recommended sitting position places the majority of your weight on your feet, not your seat. All good computer chairs are designed with the assumption that you do this. You cannot do stepping exercises in a computer chair, because putting your weight on your feet as you step would lift you out of your seat and/or push your chair back.

    Also, the stepping-machine was always sold on a public misconception of exercise: hard work = g

  • Like basically every office chair in the world, my chair has rollers on its feet. How am I expected to use a stair-stepper while sitting in it?
  • If they want to "gamercize" it, why don't they put in some software where you can keep track of how many calories burned or some other scoring method, and allow people to upload their data? Gamers will do anything for points . . .
  • Don't forget, those 500kcal are only the direct amount of work you're performing.

    Factor in the fact that your muscles are only approx. 40% energy efficient.

    and that your metabolic level remains raised for a good few hours after intense exercise. Moreso if you undertake a regular exercise regimen.

    And we're talking about a bit more than just the original 500kcal that went into the machine.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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