Indoor exercise bikes are fantastic pieces of exercise equipment that can help you sweat away calories and stay fit from the comfort of your own home. Smart interactive bikes can integrate with fitness apps to manage your rides or even provide a virtual riding experience. However, these exercise bikes do have their downsides that you need to consider before you buy one.
As indoor exercise bikes continue to gain popularity, it’s worth asking: do the pros exceed the cons, and should you add one to your home fitness setup?
Indoor Cycling Pros
Jumping on an indoor exercise bicycle could be the perfect way to jumpstart your fitness journey, as indoor cycling is an effective and incredibly convenient way to stay active. Here are the pros of buying an indoor exercise bike.
1. You Can Burn Plenty of Calories
If you’re looking for a way to get rid of calories fast and lose weight, then indoor cycling is an excellent form of exercise to try out. While you probably won’t feel the burn cycling at a leisurely pace, you can incorporate intense interval training to boost your metabolism.
Harvard Health Publishing says that 30 minutes of moderate stationary cycling can burn about 252 calories for a 155-pound person. And a 185-pound person cycling vigorously can burn up to 441 calories in just 30 minutes.
2. Tracking Performance Is Easy
Unlike an ordinary bike, a smart interactive indoor bike can track your fitness progress so that you can easily view your metrics. Intensity, output, cadence, and time are some metrics that you can track, but that’s not all. The well-known Peloton Bike can even integrate with your Apple Watch to track your cycling performance. These metrics are more detailed and include real-time heart rate monitoring that affects your personal, noncompetitive metric called the Strive Score.
There are a lot of outdoor cycling groups available, but joining them isn’t always possible because of factors like the weather or personal reasons. Indoor exercise bikes accompanied by a cycling app like Zwift can make cycling indoors genuinely fun! Zwift is an online training and racing platform that allows cyclists from all around the world to join together and take part in virtual races, group rides, and training programs. Be sure to check out the different bikes you can set up with Zwift.
4. Cycling Is a Low Impact Exercise
Although indoor exercise bikes provide you with a high-intensity workout, the workouts are low impact and can cause less strain and stress on your body. According to Better Health Channel, because it is a low-impact exercise, cycling is the ideal form of exercise for people suffering from osteoarthritis. Additionally, interactive indoor cycling is also a great active recovery option on your rest day.
5. Biking Indoors Can Be Safer Than Outdoors
You’re typically less prone to injuries on an indoor exercise bike since the probability of falling off is ridiculously low. Plus, there are no obstacles or other road users to worry about at home. According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020, motor vehicle crashes were a significant threat to bicyclists, especially those over 20 years old.
Indoor Cycling Cons
Indoor cycling can give you a satisfying workout session. However, can you overcome the space restrictions and tedious nature of an indoor exercise bike? Here are the cons to consider before you make that big purchase.
1. Indoor Bikes Are Expensive
It is quite costly to purchase an indoor bike, specifically a smart interactive exercise bike, such as the Peloton Bike. The high-quality design, added tech, and convenience explain why they’re so expensive, but are they really worth the steep price? Indoor bikes are ideal if you only want to cycle every day, but they don’t provide a well-rounded full-body workout. Instead, if you already have a regular road bike, you can attach an interactive smart trainer which is a cheaper alternative and works just as well.
2. Stationary Cycling Can Be Repetitive and Tedious
Without an exciting cycling app like Zwift or TrainerRoad, indoor cycling can lack variety and get a little dull after a while. Of course, you can adjust the cadence and resistance on your exercise bike, but you’re still going to be stuck riding nowhere in your living room. Indoor cycling means there’s no way to change the landscape or scenery, so it’s important to find a way to entertain yourself otherwise you’ve wasted your money on a high-priced item that doesn’t serve any purpose.
3. There’s No Fresh Outdoor Air
Cycling indoors is convenient, safe, and climate controlled, but does that outweigh the excitement and rush of cycling outdoors in the fresh outdoor air? Spending time outdoors in nature is a magical way to boost your overall mood, and it also provides you with essential vitamin D, which is vital to helping your body absorb calcium.
4. An Indoor Bike Takes Up Floor Space
Having an indoor exercise bike is convenient to use at home, but not everyone has the floor space for it. When you have to set up everything and haul it around each time you want to hop on your bike, you’re likely to feel less motivated. That’s why it’s also important to have a dedicated area where your equipment is ready to use.
This might not be workable for you, especially if you live in a smaller apartment and have limited room to store a large piece of exercise equipment. Moreover, you can’t store a smart indoor exercise bike outside or in a garage that doesn’t have the right conditions like a regular road bike.
5. Cycling Isn’t a Full-Body Workout
Cycling on an indoor exercise bike is a fantastic low-impact workout that burns calories fast, but it’s not the ideal way to get a complete full-body workout. Indoor cycling mainly works your lower body muscles, such as your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Certainly, you use your arm muscles to support yourself, but to work your upper body muscles properly you’ll need to include extra exercises.
In general, cycling is a perfect exercise for giving your legs a serious workout. If you’re looking for more than that, you might want to consider a different piece of exercise equipment.
Is an Interactive Indoor Exercise Bicycle Right for You?
Indoor cycling is an effective cardio exercise that can increase your heart rate, improve circulation, and lead to better overall health. To decide whether to invest in an exercise bike, you need to figure out what suits you best.
If you love the idea of burning calories at home, an indoor exercise bike might be the perfect fit for you despite the downsides of price and lack of variety. On the other hand, if you’re someone who prefers the great outdoors and cycling with a group in person, then it’s best to stick with a regular road bicycle.