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7 Benefits Of Indoor Cycling

If you are someone who is getting started on your fitness routine, or you’re someone who’s a seasoned veteran, one thing that you will want to consider is the difference between indoor and outdoor exercise. Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, but as many people have already learned, outdoor cycling can come with it’s drawbacks.

First, outdoor cycling is weather permitting. If it’s pouring rain outside or very windy, chances are, you aren’t going to be that antsy to hop on your bike and get out there. A nasty wind can make your workout incredibly challenging.

There are other great benefits to indoor cycling over this though. It’s not just about being able to not worry what the weather outside is doing.

Let’s look at the seven benefits of indoor cycling so you can see why picking up that at-home exercise bike might just be a wise idea.

The Ability To Track Distance Perfectly

Male instructor leading an indoor spin classThe first excellent benefit is that you can track distance perfectly. You can know precisely how far you’ve gone on each workout you do, so then it becomes that much easier to know how you are progressing.

While outside, if you ride the exact same path every single time, you can track distance that way but then you’re doing the same path every single day. And, as you cycle farther, you don’t know the exact distance unless you choose to drive the path out beforehand.

It’s much easier to just hop on an exercise bike as it will keep tabs on this for you.

 A Good Calorie Estimation

Another good reason to use an exercise bike over an outdoor bike is because it’ll give you an excellent calorie estimation of what you are burning. When cycling outside, you can only use a very rough estimate. While the bike won’t be exact either (as many factors do come into play in determining calorie burn), it can be much closer to what you are hoping for.

If you are on a mission to lose weight, this is important information to know. If you are way off on your estimate of what you are burning outside, it could dramatically impact the progress you see.

For example, if you cycle for an hour outside and think you are burning 700 calories when in reality, you are only burning 300, that is a 400 calorie difference. That will mean almost a pound less lost per week.

Knowing a more precise estimate is key.

Less Risk of Injury

There’s also going to be less risk of injury when riding on an inside bike. Most people wouldn’t even consider this because they tend to think of injury risk as something that is completely internal.

And, often it is. There won’t be any difference in an outdoor bike and an indoor bike in terms of knee pain due to overuse or back pain due to being hunched over while you cycle. If you ride often enough and aren’t strong in these muscles, it’s highly likely that pain will result because of it.

But what people overlook is the environmental factor. If you are riding your bike and hit a divot in the road, this could cause you to actually fall off your bike, being injured in the process.

While it may be a rare occurrence, it’s still there and could lead to a dramatic injury. On an indoor bike, that risk just isn’t there. So generally speaking, indoor bikes are much safer for this reason.

And again, you don’t have traffic to worry about. While a run-in with a motor vehicle is again, very rare, it does happen and when it does, the consequences can be devastating.

Ease Of Listening To Music/Reading/Watching TV

Male gripping on exercise bike handle barsFor those who prefer to distract themselves a bit while they do their workout, outdoor cycling is not going to provide opportunity for this. While you can certainly listen to music while biking outside, you do need to keep the volume to a reasonable level so that you can hear vehicles and even people beside you. If you’re someone who prefers turning up the volume and listening loudly in order to really get into your workout, this just isn’t possible if you are biking outdoors. Not to mention, there could be environment noise coming into play making it hard to hear the music you are listening to as well.

If you’re someone who prefers to watch TV or read a book while biking, doing either of these will be impossible outside. You must keep your eyes on the road or an accident is inevitable.

Inside, you can definitely zone out and do this. If you have an easy long ride planned that isn’t very physically demanding, just time consuming, there’s no reason you can’t read a book or catch up on your favorite TV show.

Workout Anytime

One of the biggest excuses people tend to use for skipping their workout sessions is that they just didn’t have enough time. Life is busy, there’s no denying that. Indoor cycling can make it slightly easier to find time.

For most people, the best time to squeeze in a workout is first thing in the morning. This way, the only thing standing in your way of your workout is whether or not you hit the snooze button too many times. As long as you have the will power to get it done, it will get done.

The problem? If you bike outside, it may be too dark to head out or too cold. Early morning workouts don’t prove to be the most comfortable, especially during the cooler fall and winter months, so this may prevent you from heading out and getting it in.

At home, you control the environment so there’s no issue. Likewise, if you prefer to exercise before bed, this too can be a benefit. Some people, depending on the area you live in, won’t feel comfortable riding their bike around in the late night hours, but indoors they are safe and can do so with ease.

Customizable Workouts

three females riding an exercise bikeAnother truly great benefit of an indoor bike is that you can completely customize the workout session. If you want to go up a hill, no problem, just increase the resistance of the bike. Want to do a speed interval? Again, that’s not an issue, just start pedaling faster at the speed that you want to go at.

Outdoors, you do get some variety in your workout as you will be at the mercy of whatever the terrain has to offer, but this doesn’t make for consistent, regular progress.

When you control the variety, you can ensure to do so in a strategy manner that will enable you to see the results you are looking for.

For instance, if you want to build stronger quads, this is going to mean doing more hills throughout your session. You might get to the point where you want to do a 30 second hill ever 2 minutes. Trying to find this outdoors however is going to be a challenge. On an indoor bike, it’s no problem at all.

The great thing about indoor biking is it allows you to very clearly track everything, so you know precisely what it is that you are doing. Outdoors, you have no way of knowing what the incline was, how fast you went, or for how long, unless you meticulously check your stop watch, so an indoor bike makes this much easier.

An indoor bike also often actually provides pre-programmed options, so you don’t even have to design this yourself if you don’t want to.

Great For Interval Training

Finally, the last great benefit of indoor cycling is that it is terrific for sprint training. All it takes is the push of a button and your resistance is increased or you can simply speed up your pedaling speed.

Outdoors you can certainly pedal faster, but increasing the resistance may be more challenging. And, if you are biking in a city setting, going top speed out of the blue may be trying too. You’ll encounter pedestrians, red lights, stop signs, and other traffic all which may make things harder.

So as you can see, there are some truly terrific benefits to cycling indoors. It’s a much more controlled workout session and something that you will be able to easily progress with over time.

Remember that just because you choose to cycle indoors doesn’t mean you can’t cycle outdoors as well. Why not get the best of both worlds and mix the two up? This way when you feel like some fresh air, you can have it but when it’s time to buckle down and work on progress or you simply can’t go outside due to weather, time of day, or another reason, you aren’t going to be completely skipping your workout session.

Indoor cycling has a lot to offer and most people really enjoy it once they get started.

Photo credit: David Fuentes Prieto/Shutterstock; wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock; CandyBox Images/Shutterstock

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