Cycling is an exciting and challenging sport with a long and storied history. Cyclists have been testing themselves against others and against the clock to see who can push their two-wheeled machine the fastest and the farthest since the mid-1800s.
Cycling has been an Olympic sport since 1896, and some of the earliest professional races not only still survive to this day. But also have grown into some of the most prestigious professional races in the world. Indeed, races like Liege-Bastogne-Liege, established in 1892, and Paris-Roubaix, established in 1896, are just as famous now for their demanding courses and brutal conditions as they were over 100 years ago.
The world-famous Tour de France, as well, got its start around this time, making its first run through France’s countryside and onto the Champs.
But in that time, cycling has evolved from a niche sport practiced by a few tough Europeans to a global phenomenon enjoyed by millions of people and in myriad ways.
This article aims to explore just one of the countless ways to enjoy and benefit from the wonderful sport of cycling: indoor cycling!
So keep reading to find out all about the benefits of indoor cycling and the variety of ways to engage in this modern take on a timeless sport.
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Health Benefits of Indoor Cycling
Cycling offers more than just an exhilarating way to explore the outdoors or pass the time. As an aerobic sport, it offers a multitude of health benefits, many of which do not take long to realize once you take upcycling.
And because the motion of pedaling a bicycle is obviously the same whether you cycling outdoors or indoors. It’s possible to realize all the benefits of cycling by cycling indoors.
Cycling indoors also comes with the added benefit of avoiding traffic, not having to deal with bad weather, and being able to cycle at any time of day without worrying about it getting dark outside!
Some of the health benefits of indoor cycling include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower resting heart rate, higher endurance, and higher strength in the legs and core muscles. Indeed, the health benefits of indoor cycling 15 minutes a day has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes.
Indoor cycling also increases lung capacity, allowing you to breathe deeper and more efficiently. Indoor cycling also prompts the body to release a substance called endorphins. Those are the hormones responsible for the naturally-occurring “high” we experience after exercising, accomplishing a goal, or doing something else that makes us proud.
Lastly, indoor cycling is a low-to-no-impact activity, meaning people that may not be able to tolerate the intense impact of running. That can still reap the health benefits of aerobic exercise without putting added stress on the body.
Methods of Indoor Cycling
You may be thinking that indoor cycling is starting to sound pretty good, yet wondering where to start. After all, there are several types of machines that allow you to cycle indoors. We’re going to take a look at a few of the most common in the next sections.
Recumbent Bike Benefits
The first type of indoor bike we’re going to look at is the recumbent exercise bike. This machine looks the least like a traditional bicycle, but it still offers all the health benefits of the recumbent bike. It also makes indoor cycling accessible to people that may have some trouble sitting in a more traditional bike-riding position.
To use a recumbent bike, the user sits in what almost looks like a “chair” and extends their legs directly in front of them to reach the pedals instead of beneath them as with a traditional bike. This is much easier on the lower back, so people with back troubles. That may find they are able to ride a recumbent bike even if they cannot ride a regular indoor bike.
Additionally, of recumbent bike benefits, the seat of a recumbent bike is much more supportive than a traditional bicycle seat. For this reason, people that may not like the harsh feel of a traditional bicycle seat may find riding a recumbent bike more enjoyable.
Spin Bike Benefits
The second type of indoor bicycle we’re going to look at is the spin bike. These machines somewhat resemble more traditional bicycles in that the user sits on the machine as they would on a regular bicycle. Spin bikes have seats that look like standard bike seats and flat handlebars that resemble the handlebars you’d find on a hybrid bike you’d use to ride around town.
Spin bikes differ, however, in the way they create resistance. In this respect, they use a very large, weighted flywheel on the front of the bike that is connected to the pedals. Pedaling the spin bike turns the flywheel.
Designed to mimic the feeling of cycling outdoors, turning the pedals gets a bit easier as the flywheel gets up to speed. For this reason, many spin bikes come with a resistance adjustment knob of spin bike benefits, which allows the user to increase the effort it takes to pedal throughout the workout.
Because the adjustment knob makes it possible to very quickly adjust the spin bike’s resistance level, users have the ability to do an infinite variety of workouts consisting of periods of hard effort followed by periods of rest.
Stationary Bike Benefits
The final type of machine we’re going to look at is the standard stationary bike benefits. These machines somewhat resemble spin bikes in that they require users to sit in the typical bike-riding position. But they differ from spin bikes in that they do not use a large, external flywheel to generate resistance.
Many stationary bikes, instead, use smaller flywheels tucked away inside the machine, combined with a series of electronically-controlled brakes or magnets, to control resistance. Still, users pedal the machine just as they would a spin bike or traditional bicycle.
Stationary bikes allow users to do a wide variety of workouts, too, ranging from long endurance rides to shorter workouts with hard efforts. Many stationary bikes also come with more bells and whistles than spin bikes.
Taking advantage of their modern electronics and on-board computers, many stationary bikes come with built-in timers, precise resistance selection mechanisms, and built-in fans. Indeed, some even come with pre-planned workouts that make it easy to know exactly when to pedal hard and when to take a break.
Exercise Bike Benefits Weight Loss
We touched on the health benefits of indoor cycling earlier, but one benefit, in particular, deserves some special attention: on exercise bike benefits weight loss. Losing weight is hard, and it’s often even harder to keep it off. But indoor cycling can often be the crucial component that’s missing from a comprehensive and effective weight loss plan.
Indoor cycling, like all other forms of aerobic exercise, is a great way to lose weight. Indoor cycling burns fat, and it does so efficiently and without the added stress put on the body by an activity such as running. Combined with a healthy diet and plenty of sleep, indoor cycling is the perfect exercise for those people looking to lose weight and get in shape.
Exercise Bike Benefits Stomach
Losing weight, however, isn’t the only visible benefit of indoor cycling. Because indoor cycling makes full use of all the leg and thigh muscles, along with the core and to some extent the upper body muscles. Indoor cycling is a great way to improve your physique and overall body composition.
Indoor cycling can help tone your leg muscles and burn off stubborn fat around the stomach area at the same time as exercise bike benefits stomach. But that fat loss, of course, isn’t limited to just the stomach area! Rather, indoor cycling will help you burn fat from all areas of your body.
So whether you’re looking to start exercising for the first time or whether you’re just looking for a way to change up your workouts. Indoor cycling could be just the thing you need to get over a plateau and achieve the body you’ve always wanted.
As you can see, indoor cycling offers countless benefits for people of any fitness or experience level. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist looking for a way to ride safely after dark or in bad weather or a person just looking to get into shape, indoor cycling can help you achieve those goals.
There are a variety of ways to engage in indoor cycling. Recumbent bikes, spin bikes, and traditional stationary bikes all have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you to pick the one that’s right for you.
Regardless, indoor cycling allows you to do countless different workouts. So, if you’re interested in losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, getting into shape, or doing your first bike race, we highly recommend giving indoor cycling a try.