As more and more health organizations warn of the risks of sitting a whole day without moving that much, smart entrepreneurs try to find solutions that bring at least some movement to a sitting workforce. One of the solutions that should improve the health of people at risk of heart attacks and other dangers is HOVR, a rocker for your lower body. In this xl8 review we put HOVR to the test.
HOVR review: what is the HOVR?
The HOVR is called a “desk swing” by its producers, promising users to “unconsciously burn more calories at work,” which sounds interesting.
The product can be described best as a platform with two “pedals” where users can put their feet. The platform is suspended either to the bottom side of a desk by means of a strap or to a portable stand. Users can then put their feet on the “pedals” at both sides to rest them. The desk swing, however, promotes users by its design for moving their feet either consciously or unconsciously. The firm behind the HOVR desk swing claims that users rocking their feet on the HOVR will burn 17% more calories than while sitting. Using the HOVR should also lead to an improved blood circulation and stimulate cognitive productivity. Users who want to measure their performance can buy an optional device that connects to a smartphone app and offers insights into their movements, calories burned and daily progress.
By rocking their feet on the HOVR users will burn 17% more calories than while sitting
Putting the HOVR to the test
Those are interesting and innovative features, and of special interest to translators and other professionals who are sitting almost all day long. That is why HOVR was invited for the xl8 review project. HOVR decided to send a HOVR desk swing for review. While the company initially wanted to send a version which is to be attached to a desk with a strap, we finally agreed to review the version with a portable stand. That version can be used without visible impact to the desk and should do a proper job. That is why I receive a decent box after a couple of weeks, containing a stand, the “platform” and a strap to combine them. The stand is delivered in two parts and can be mounted by the user.
That sounds easy, but for some reason mounting the swing is a bit of a crime. The included screws do not fit easily and can only be fastened with above average force. Even then one of them won’t fit properly, so I end up with a stand that is not entirely fitted. Fitting the strap and the platform however is a piece of cake. Let the swing begin.
The included screws do not fit easily and can only be fastened with above average force.
Using the HOVR desk swing is as easy as placing it underneath the desk, stepping up with your feet and swinging. The anti-slip feet of the stand prevent the assembled HOVR from moving when you apply to much force to the swinging platform.
However, finding the right position for the stand and the right height for the platform requires some time. When the stand is too far from your knees, it is difficult to swing, while too short a distance to your knees make it difficult to move your feet properly. Also the height is important because a platform that is too high ends up with your knees against the bottom of your desk – which is uncomfortable.
Once I have found the right position, the real swinging can begin. Owing to the concept of a platform on a strap only a little movement is needed to get the desk swinging. Every now and then I end up typing while swinging with my legs. On the other hand the constant swinging is sometimes simply annoying so I put my portable stand out of reach.
After two days of use I get severe back strain.
There is, however, a problem. After two days of use I get severe back strain. For some reason, the HOVR is activating the wrong muscles or blocking others. Using the HOVR simply gives an uncomfortable feeling and ends up with my having a sore lower back. That is highly demotivating and after a couple of days I put the HOVR aside: useless and not helping me to reach my goal of more movements while working. After a couple of weeks I give the HOVR another try, but with the same results. Adjusting the strap, changing the position of the platform and various modifications do not work: the HOVR simply creates back strain every time I use it. I need to get into an unnatural position to move, thus losing contact with my ergonomic chair.
HOVR review: the pros and cons
I like the concept of the HOVR. The idea is simple but seems useful for almost any office environment. You can place the stand wherever you want to work or mount the strap to whatever desk you use. The idea of burning calories and moving while working is attractive. Nevertheless, the HOVR does not work for me. The unavoidable back strain is simply too heavy to avoid and I cannot get to grips with the HOVR. Furthermore, movements are limited to a certain distance because your feet will otherwise lose contact with the platform when you move it too far away or you end up in an unnatural position when you move it too close.