If you’re interested in delving into the fray of a new fitness routine, cycling is an effective and versatile option. Riding a bike is a skill most people acquire as children, and people capitalize on bikes by using them as an effective tool for both transportation and overall fitness. Stationary bikes can provide the same benefits as mobile bikes, but there are naturally some differences between indoor and outdoor cycling. Below are the most notable advantages and disadvantages of indoor cycling when compared to its outdoor version.
If you’re looking for a practical way to build muscles on bike rides and increase your physical fitness to the max, indoor cycling might just be the best solution. The appeal behind it lies in the fact that you can tailor your workout routine after your own schedule, especially if you own an indoor bike yourself. Do you prefer to work out early in the morning to energize you for the day or are you more of an evening exerciser? If you start spinning, choosing this will be even easier.
Unless you choose to join a spinning class or engage in a personal training session, cycling indoors can be a completely private activity. You don’t have to worry about social drama or having to put on a cheerful visage to strangers when you feel down. By cycling at home, you can choose to make your bike session private, personal and introspective. If you have a busy, chaotic life, it may even be one of the few opportunities you get to disengage.
3. Avoid Bad Weather
Exercising in the great outdoors can be inspiring, but it can certainly put a damper on your mood when an unwelcome cloud decides to blot out the sun. And if that cloud brings rain along with it, then your exercise routine is pretty much over for the day. Therefore, cycling indoors can provide you with a great alternative. Indoor cycling allows you to eliminate the frustration and annoyance brought by bad weather, while at the same time ensuring that you don’t skip even a single day in your routine.
4. Less Distractions
If you’re are easily swayed by people and events in your general environment, it’s probably a good idea to consider cycling indoors. Distractions can be dangerous when biking on the road, and sometimes you just want to complete your workout without having to worry about traffic signals, cars, and even other bikers. For a more peaceful, focused experience, spinning may be right for you.
Exercising in a safe environment can make all the difference between a successful workout and a mediocre one. Indoor cycling eliminates the need to be anxious about traffic and wayward pedestrians. You also have more accessibility to hydration and other resources if you feel ill, particularly when you’re in your home.
1. Miss Nature
When you choose indoor cycling over its outdoor counterpart, you’re opting out of the refreshing experience a bike ride into nature can provide. Nothing compares to the feel of wind across your skin or the sight of plush, autumn leaves burning against a blue sky. Biking outdoors may also give you the opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat, which is certainly less likely if you stay in your living room or gym.
2. Not Real-World Training
Indoor cycling will certainly make positive changes in your workout routine and overall lifestyle, but it isn’t an exact match for the experience of biking on real roads and trails. Indoor machines can simulate the resistance of hills, but copying the kinetic intensity and effects of terrain and gravity can’t be truly replicated. In fact, studies show that the same amount of effort is perceived differently when cycling indoors versus outdoors. Indoor cycling is less engaging and even seems harder due to the lack of real-world scenery and situations behind it.
3. Less Lost Weight
As previously mentioned, cycling indoors can feel even harder than doing it in the great outdoors due to the different way in which our brains and bodies perceive the effort we spend on it. According to a recent study, the drawback to this is that you lose less weight while indoor cycling rather than outdoor cycling. To some people, that might seem like a lot of effort for nothing. However, the difference is not that notable, so if the advantages of spinning outweigh this disadvantage for you, then don’t be disheartened so easily.
4. Can Be Monotonous
As with many indoor cardiovascular machines, using a stationary bike can get boring. While there are many modern programs and virtual games that make indoor cycling a more immersive, interactive and competitive experience, it can still get repetitive over time. You can switch up the boredom by using different music, utilizing cycling DVDs or trying a spin class.
5. Lack of Utility
Even if you own the most high-end stationary bike affixed to the latest software and virtual reality simulation technology, indoor cycling can never transport you from one location to another. Stationary bikes were meant for once purpose; training, but real bikes are obviously also a vessel of transportation. If you don’t own a set of wheels, you may want to consider the potential of bikes in the real world before investing in a machine for your living room.
Personally, I own an exercise bike which I gladly use in the comfort of my own home with any occasion I get and I can safely say that it was the best fitness choice for me. However, each person has different needs and tastes, which means that you need to weigh in both the advantages and disadvantages of taking up an indoor cycling routine to ensure that you take the best decision.
Cycling indoors can benefit your cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and even mental clarity, but it’s not necessarily a replacement for a real bike. Consider the pros and cons of both machines and consider using a balance of indoor and outdoor training methods if you want to pursue cycling. At the end of the day, the choice is yours and you need to take the best decision that will suit your body and your lifestyle equally.