With the rise in urbanization & digitization globally, people aren’t giving sufficient time for physical activities to keep themselves healthy. Even kids don’t love to go outside and play physical sports.
Our food habits and diet schedule are also primarily affected because of the hectic work culture. Hence people must find some ways to keep themselves healthy, especially in places where it’s challenging to find space for physical activities.
Indoor cycling is one such way to keep yourself fit without any need to go outside your place. Excited to know more about how cycling at home can help you achieve your fitness goals?
So, common, let’s explore deep insights into indoor cycling together through the medium of this article.
Indoor Cycling — An Effective Way to Get Your Cardio Workout
Indoor cycling is nothing but installing a cycling setup in-house that doesn’t move when you pedal.
Cycling has been a mode of commuting for humankind for a long time. With the invention of motor vehicles, usage of cycles shifted to the fitness enthusiasts who go for outdoor cycling to keep themselves fit but it’s not possible to go for outdoor cycling always.
In such scenarios, an indoor bicycle is very convenient because of its very helpful features like safety, freedom to choose effective riding patterns, home comfort, and numerous other benefits.
There’s one counterargument for indoor cycling that it isn’t cost-effective and you need to spend a lot of money to make a setup for your own, but that isn’t true if you don’t want to go all out for this.
These days one can get simple yet effective indoor cycling equipment at affordable rates, or even people can rent out this equipment in major cities.
Understanding the Mechanics of Indoor Cycling Bikes
Most exercise bikes are equipped with pedal resistance mechanisms that increase the intensity of exercise. There are several types of resistance mechanisms, including friction, magnets, and fan mechanisms.
With some models, you also have the option of pedaling backward to exercise antagonist muscles that you don’t use when pedaling forward. So, this is how indoor or exercise bikes work to help you achieve your various health or fitness goals.
Types of Indoor Stationary Bike
As the name suggests, on the upright bike, you’ll have an upright posture. Pedals will be right below your body same as in the conventional cycle. It is useful for a regular cardio workout and helps you to strengthen your lower body muscles and core.
If you’re struggling with back problems and looking for a low-impact form of exercise that won’t add further stress to your upper body, a recumbent bike is an excellent solution.
Unlike a traditional upright bike, a recumbent bike features a comfortable seat that supports your upper body, allowing you to relax while you work out. This design significantly reduces fatigue and results in a less intense workout, making it a perfect choice for individuals with back issues.
With a recumbent bike, you can enjoy a comfortable and effective workout without worrying about further straining your back.
A dual-action bike is a way similar to a regular bike. Its handlebar can move front & back and gives you the option to do an upper-body workout by shifting your posture accordingly.
Choose the Right Workout for Yourself
Here are a few points you should take care of while making an exercise plan for you.
If you are a beginner, avoid putting much pressure on your body. Start with less intense cycling and increase the intensity with time. Don’t think that you’ll be able to make big changes in your body in lesser time if you go more intense.
You’ll feel pain in your lower body and ultimately lose motivation for the exercise. Here’s how you can start
- Begin with stretching exercise
- Start pedaling with low intensity for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Switch to medium intensity for 10-15 minutes.
- Switch to high intensity for 5 to 10 minutes.
For Weight Loss
The key to weight loss is intense cycling with a balanced diet. This will help to burn body fat, and as a result, you’ll lose your body weight. You should start intense weight loss exercises after doing beginner-level training for a few days.
It will help your body to adapt to the process and keeps you motivated. Daily half an hour of highly intense cycling can serve the purpose of weight loss for you.
For Interval Training
As the name suggests, interval training is basically to increase stamina and strength by increasing intervals of pedaling. It is recommended for people who have achieved a good fitness level and want to work on their stamina.
In this training, the focus should be more on increasing the time interval at medium intensity.
How to Optimize Your Indoor Bike for Optimal Performance
Adjust Saddle Height: Indoor bikes available in the market has saddle height adjustment options. You can adjust the height to get the proper workout posture to get more efficient results. There are basically two ways of adjusting your saddle height as follows:
- Make sure while pedaling that your one foot is on the topmost position, your leg should be straight, and your heel is still touching the pedal.
- Another method is to check the bend angle of the second leg. An angle between 130 to 150 degrees is a good posture.
Adjust Handlebar Height: You can adjust handle height as per your workout requirements. The most important thing is that you are comfortable while cycling. Therefore, adjust the height to achieve a back angle between 45 and 60 degrees.
Know your Different Bike Positions
You should know how to fit different positions on your bike to get the most out of it. There are three primary length-sizing positions (saddle height) that offer natural ways for riders to adjust their body angle to work with their chosen setup.
The goal is to improve your comfort on the bike rather than making it more difficult by focusing on issues that aren’t even relevant to real-world riding, such as staying upright when changing direction.
Finding the right position is straightforward, but it does necessitate some trial and error. You’ll need a friend to help you test different positions, as well as a tape measure to determine your leg length (from floor to knee) and arm length (from shoulder to wrist).
Pick a Trainer that suits your needs
You can turn your regular bike into an indoor training bike by getting a trainer or rollers. Listed below are a few options you can refer to and choose one of them per your needs.
Turbo trainers come in a bigger range, from affordable to premium. Usually, it is the most affordable option as compared to other trainers.
If you want to take a feel of virtual outdoor cycling, then a smart trainer is a good option for you. You can connect it to cycling apps and enjoy the experience. A smart trainer is a costly affair and takes a lot of money for the virtual experience.
This is a simpler arrangement with three cylindrical rollers attached to a chassis. One roller for the front wheel and 2 for the rear. It can help you to improve your balance.
If you want to get the proper experience of cycling at home, you may go for an indoor bike specially made for indoor cycling purposes.
Benefits of Indoor Cycling Bikes
Indoor cycling is very effective in burning fats & keep your body fit and healthy. Here are some of the key benefits of indoor cycling.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
Many scientific studies have shown that indoor cycling improves glucose tolerance, which helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps to lower LDL cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Cycling on a regular basis can also help to improve sleep quality and reduce stress. According to one study, people who cycle regularly have better sleep quality than those who do not.
Note: People who get little sleep are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders.
It is a known fact that cycling generally improves your posture. With bad posture, one can’t do cycling for a long time. Hence one has to find out the right seat height and right position of the handlebar before cycling, and it will help to improve the posture of that person as a result.
Help Burn Calories
A person can burn around 200 to 450 calories with a 30-minute cycling. Basically, cycling helps to maintain the ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) by burning body fat and replacing it with muscles.
Safer than On-Track Cycling
In indoor cycling, you don’t need to go outside on the road. There’s no chance of falling, hitting fellow cyclists, or losing balance at corners. You’ll be in your exercise room, cycling at constant speeds with intended riding modes and safe from the risks of outdoor cycling.
Convenient and Cheaper
Indoor cycling for beginners is definitively way more convenient as compared to on-track cycling, as there is no need to go outside. One can work on various techniques, and that too with less space right inside your room.
Also, the cost of indoor cycling equipment is not as high as projected. Even if you compare the overall benefits of indoor cycling, it is very effective & efficient in the long term.
Help in Lean Muscle Building
Cycling is very beneficial for lower body and leg strength. It also helps in building lean muscles in the body’s core, back, and glutes. Also, you can build your upper body muscles if proper posture and full body are used while exercising.
Increase Oxygen Uptake
In the long term, cycling can benefit heavily towards more blood flow to muscles by increasing oxygen supply to muscles.
Mental Health Improvement
The mental health benefit is an outcome of any kind of exercise if done on a regular basis. We have heard this thing from our parents since childhood if we get up early and do some exercise, then we’ll be energetic for the whole day.
It is scientifically proven that cycling helps improve your mental health in the long term. You’ll feel ready to work the entire day, your concentration will increase, and at the end of the day, you will be able to enjoy a good sleep.
Boost Cardio Fitness
Cycling is an aerobic workout and aerobic workouts help in improving the flow of blood and oxygen in our body parts. All in all, it is very effective in heart pumping and very beneficial for our lungs.
It helps us build a better immune system, increase energy levels, relieve stress, control BP in the long term and has a lot more benefits.
Ease Up Weight Loss Process
Indoor cycling bikes are a simple and effective way to supplement your weight loss efforts. Basically, indoor cycling is a high-intensity cardio workout that can help you quickly burn calories.
It is a versatile workout option because the resistance and intensity levels can be adjusted to meet individual needs and goals. Furthermore, because we can set out our intensities so it is ideal for people suffering from joint pain or injury.
Many indoor cycling bikes provide interactive and immersive experiences to keep workouts interesting and engaging.
Invest in Required Indoor Training Accessories
To start with indoor cycling, you have to make sure that a few important accessories are always with you. After arranging a few of the below-listed items, you can start with your workout toward fitness.
You have to find a space in your home to place your bike and do exercise without any disturbance. You can find a separate room for your training, but it’s not necessary to have one, just make sure that your place is not much noisy.
Indoor Cycling Fan
Since indoor cycling is done in closed rooms, it is very necessary to have a cooling fan to keep your body temperature in control. With the rise in the temperature, your body has to spend extra power to cool it down, and you will drain out in the lesser time.
Hence having a cooling fan is a must. But you don’t need a special cooling fan for this purpose. A simple cooling fan will also work well.
The towel is a basic necessity and helps to keep your body dry. Make sure to choose a soft towel that can absorb sweat effectively and doesn’t scratch your body. Also, ensure to change or clean towels daily to keep up with basic hygiene.
A sweat protector can help to maintain your body odor and maintain good hygiene. Although it’s not necessary to have because you can use a towel also for this purpose. But sweat protectors are more effective and convenient.
Rocker plates are an accessory to indoor bikes, which can make indoor cycling more effective and fun. It helps in simulating outdoor riding patterns in indoor cycling.
Other than its benefits, sometime rocker plates can make you feel cycling unnatural because of the lack of natural movement. Also, differences in the circumference of inflated balls can affect your riding posture.
A turbo trainer is a more affordable option as compared to the smart trainer and can easily fit into your budget. But make sure to change your back tire to a trainer tire while using the turbo trainer to avoid wearing down your outdoor tires.
Placing a floor mat below your bike will help you to keep your floor clean from sweat and bike shift marks.
Shoes with stiff sole are very effective in indoor cycling as it helps you to grip effectively with the pedal and generate more power while cycling. There are a lot of sports brands that can be referred to get shoes fitting your purpose.
Cycling Clothes & Padded Shorts
Special cycling clothes & padded shorts made of a special fabric help you to get cushioning effect which makes cycling very comfortable. Make sure that the shorts fit you properly and don’t put more pressure on your body & waist.
Strategize your Training Plan on the Basis of your Fitness Goals
1. Determine your goals: Are you looking to gain muscle, improve your endurance, or lose weight? Knowing your goals will help you create a personalized training plan.
2. Assess your fitness level: By assessing your current fitness level, you can determine your starting resistance and cadence levels.
3. Include interval training: Interval training involves alternating between periods of high and low-intensity workouts. This can help you burn more calories and improve your endurance.
4. Vary your resistance levels: Changing your resistance levels allows you to target different muscle groups while also making your workout more difficult.
Keep track of your progress and make changes to your training plan as necessary.
Take the Fitness Test to know your Outcome
The maximum aerobic capacity test measures your body’s ability to consume and utilize oxygen while exercising. It is an excellent predictor of cardiovascular fitness.
1. Power Test: This test determines how much power you can generate while riding a stationary bike. Power is the result of a combination of speed and resistance.
2. Time Trial Test: This test involves riding at a steady pace for a set distance or time while your speed, power, and heart rate are measured.
3. Cadence Test: This test assesses your ability to pedal at a consistent rate.
Reasons to Buy Indoor Cycling Machine
Here are four reasons that prove why you should get an indoor cycling machine:
- Burn more calories
- lose belly fat
- tone muscles
- improve cardiovascular fitness
Reasons to Avoid Stationary Bike Workout
Exercises on a stationary bike provide a lot of advantages, but there are also some reasons why a person might avoid them.
- One cause is boredom since some people find stationary biking to be tedious due to its repetitive nature.
- The fact that stationary bikes predominantly work the legs and lower body with little attention paid to the upper body or core muscles is another factor.
- Additionally, the seat and handlebars of certain stationary cycles can not be sufficiently adjusted to accommodate the user’s body.
- Finally, focusing entirely on a stationary bike may not give the essential diversity in your workout regimen to prevent overuse problems and target different muscle areas.
Use Training Apps to make the most of your Workout
The usage of training apps can be very useful in making your training experience more joyful and versatile. With apps, you can try a lot of different modes of workout, you can monitor your workout details, and a lot more. Here are a few popular apps that you can go ahead with.
1. Peloton Digital: Anyone can sign up for a Peloton digital membership with a subscription fee. You can find a lot of workout options on the app, which can help you to achieve your workout goals. Other than indoor cycling you can find other workout training tips also in this app.
2. CardioCast: Workouts At Home: Cardiocast app is another app you can try with. It has workout options for all levels of trainers. You’ll get a lot of world-class coaches, music, and rewards on this app. This app also has a basic subscription to start with.
Note: Above-mentioned apps are a suggestion. You are all free to go with your choice because nobody can understand your needs better than you.
Role of Resistance & Cadence in Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling relies heavily on resistance and cadence. Resistance increases the workout’s intensity by making pedaling more difficult. The greater the resistance, the more intense the workout.
Cadence, on the other hand, is a measure of your pedal speed in revolutions per minute (RPM). Keeping a consistent cadence helps with form and improves cardiovascular endurance.
By varying the resistance and cadence levels, you can create a well-rounded workout that targets different muscle groups and provides overall health benefits. Adding resistance and cadence changes to your indoor cycling routine can make it more challenging and effective.
Safety Tips for Workout on Stationary Bike
Bike-spinning workouts are a great way to burn calories. Here are some safety tips for the workout:
- Place the handles at the highest level that you can reach comfortably.
- Pull up with your arms, not with your back muscles.
- Sit upright but with no strain on your lower back.
- Avoid rolling over or whipping around on the seat (or saddle).
- Use the correct form as you pedal; do not use an open-hand grip or fingertip turns.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and feet on the pedals.
- Avoid leaning forward or backward when pedaling.
- Breathe normally while you are exercising; don’t hold your breath.
- If you feel pain in your knees, back, or neck, stop immediately.
Indoor Bike vs. Outdoor Bike — What’s the Difference
Indoor bikes are intended for use in a confined space, such as in the form of gym cycling or at home. They have a heavier flywheel to simulate road resistance, and some have computer-controlled resistance.
Outdoor bikes are designed for riding in a variety of terrains and weather conditions, with lighter frames and tires to handle rough terrain. They may also include extras such as multiple gears, suspension systems, and water bottle holders.
The primary distinction between indoor and outdoor bikes is their intended environment, as well as the features and materials used to cope with that environment.
Outdoor bikes are better for outdoor adventures and exploring different terrains, whereas indoor bikes are better for indoor training.
Exercise Bike vs. Turbo Trainer — Who is Winner
It’s difficult to pick a winner because both exercise bikes and turbo trainers have benefits and drawbacks. An exercise bike is a stand-alone machine that offers a low-impact workout, making it ideal for people suffering from joint pain or injuries.
Turbo trainers, on the other hand, transform your road bike into a stationary bike, allowing you to use your own bike while saving money and space.
In my opinion, Turbo trainers may not be as stable or comfortable as exercise bikes. But the winner is ultimately determined by personal preferences and specific needs such as cost, space, and workout type.
Note: Exercise bikes and turbo trainers are both effective at improving cardiovascular health, increasing endurance, and burning calories.
Exercise Bikes vs. Smart Bikes — Who is Winner
It isn’t easy to pick a winner between exercise bikes and smart bikes because each has its own set of features and benefits. Exercise bikes are a classic piece of fitness equipment that offers a low-impact workout and is appropriate for people who have joint pain or injuries.
Smart bikes, on the other hand, are a newer type of exercise bike that incorporates technology and includes features like virtual training, performance tracking, recording, and connectivity with fitness apps. Smart bikes can also make working out more interactive and immersive.
Again as said above, the winner is determined by personal preferences and specific needs. An exercise bike may be a better fit if you want a traditional workout experience but don’t need advanced technology.
A smart bike, on the other hand, may be the way to go if you want a more engaging and interactive workout experience. However, both exercise bikes and smart bikes are effective at improving cardiovascular health and endurance, and not to forget, help in calorie burning.
To Wrap Up — Stationary Bike
As it is evident from the above discussion that indoor cycling is as good as outdoor cycling to boost your fitness, even in some cases, it is more advantageous.
With this, I hope you’ll be aware of most of the aspects of indoor cycling and its benefits. If you still have some questions in your mind, please feel free to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
So begin your journey towards a fit body & mind with the wonderful experience of indoor cycling.
Indoor Cycling — FAQs
What should I look for in a good indoor exercise bike?
Choose a bike that suits your requirement. If you want it for light exercises, go for a simple one with good comfort and the right aesthetics.
In case you want to do cycling for weight loss or an intense workout, find a bike with different features like resistance, posture adjustments, smart connectivity, etc.
Can I lose weight with indoor cycling?
Yes, indoor cycling is good for weight loss. In fact, using an exercise bike, you can burn about 600 calories in 30 minutes, depending on how hard you are doing it and how much weight you have.
What do 30 minutes of indoor cycling do?
Cycling helps you maintain a healthy body. During your exercise period, a minimum 30-minute ride daily increases your cardiovascular endurance. Those who consistently work harder will see greater aerobic ability and be able to ride longer or more intensely.
Is indoor cycling a good workout?
Indoor riding is great for heart and muscle health if done well. It is similar to cardio training, elliptical training, and running. It can be used to train the muscles without straining the joints or putting them under pressure.
Can indoor cycling reduce belly fat?
Yes, cycling helps in removing excess weight. The latest studies even show that cycling increases weight loss chances in the long term while maintaining optimum health.
Is an indoor bike trainer worth it?
Indoor trainers help you eliminate the risk of riding long or dangerous. It enables the rider to get more energy in an hour. You don’t waste time cruising or going on your own.
What is machine cycling good for?
The pedal movement strengthens your legs, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles. It also helps strengthen core and hip muscles. If you use bicycle handles, you can work your upper body muscles, including your biceps.
How much does the best exercise bike or best smart bike cost?
If you are heading to the market for the best smart or exercise bike. Then you can expect to pay somewhere around 800$. In case you can’t afford such a hefty amount at the moment, then consider going for some affordable bikes. There are a lot of options in the market.