Benefits and Disadvantages of Indoor Cycling (Everything You Need to Know!)

There are many people out there considering purchasing or using an exercise bike – primarily for losing those annoying pounds and increasing fitness – and you might be among them. Your search eventually leads you to the information that not all bikes are the same, and the features that separate them do not seem like much, but they are quite significant.

One of the bikes you might be considering are the indoor cycling bikes, which are among the most popular and you will find them in almost any gym you decide to visit. However, does their use have any benefits or advantages? Read on to find out our thoughts on that, which will help you make a solid decision in case you are considering buying them.

What are the Benefits?

Helps you burn calories

It is important to remember that indoor cycling and exercise in general is not the only way to burn calories, but it helps in the process. In particular, indoor cycling itself is a good way to burn them quickly – a typical class will last about 45 minutes, and you will burn up to 500 calories in one session.

However, this will also depend on your cycling frequency and how you do it, so this means that the calories you burn will be higher if you increase the resistance levels.

Helps you to tone up

Indoor cycling forces multiple muscle groups in your body to get to work – your core, quads, bums, arms (depending on the workout), legs and thighs. Therefore, that 45-minute session eventually leads to toning of these areas, especially if you work hard on them.

If you also increase the resistance levels, it will give you extra power to become as toned as you wish, even on your arms and abs, and the introduction of weights will also force extra muscle groups to work. In fact, this is one advantage they have over stationary bikes, which will primarily work the legs, quads, thighs and bum only.

It offers a low-impact exercise

You likely do not want to suffer injuries to various body parts during an exercise session, but indoor cycling is a low-impact exercise so you will not need to worry about that. It will not put a lot of pressure on the joints, unlike normal running exercises – so it is useful to staying fit even when you have knee injuries without making the pain worse.

Helps in stress relief

Any kind of exercise you do can count as a method of stress relief, but being in an indoor cycling class can be good for you since it allows you to talk to other people – especially if you are in the same weekly class. It will also help you relax from tough days, since the classes also have some upbeat music, while the instructor can offer plenty of motivation to help you feel better.

Indoor cycling bikes also allow you to exercise multiple muscle groups, which also helps to release tension and help you relax.

It helps you track your progress

Indoor cycling bikes have a great advantage over many exercise bikes – they have a monitor, which assists you to keep track of your progress. This includes your cycling speed, the calories you are burning, and the distance you are covering.

The usual instance, especially in an indoor cycling class, is that the instructor will use the data to set goals for you to reach, which makes it easier for you to keep track of your progress as you go every week.

It has a similar feel to a road bike

Unlike stationary bikes, exercise bikes have a similar feel to road bikes since they allow you to adjust the handlebars and seat, which means you can even do the exercise sessions while standing and leaning without looking awkward.

What are the Disadvantages?

Back pain

Even though indoor cycling bikes are great as they allow you to work multiple areas in your body, it is very important to be careful regarding the state of your back. The use of the machine will mostly force you to hunch forward, which can be quite painful on your back and associated muscles, or lead to strains and worse conditions.

If you happen to feel any back pain, make sure to tell the instructor and they will show you better body posture, and adjust the handlebars to a correct position that does not require you to hunch your back too much.

You risk ignoring the upper body

It is great to take a indoor cycling class if you want to emphasize the working out of your lower body, but you can risk ignoring your upper body if you are not careful to balance things out. The exception would be if your trainer incorporates weights or press-ups as you work out, which helps you train both areas equally.

You might push too far

The best thing about indoor cycling bikes is that they will give you a continuous workout, but this is also the worst part about them – they do not allow for intermittent breaks that you can use to rest in between the exercises. Since you are moving for close to an hour non-stop, you can risk pushing yourself too hard, in the misguided belief that you will make your workouts or progress faster.

This is not the case, as it can lead to you pushing yourself too hard and overworking the body. This eventually results in burnout and fatigue, and you fail to last until the end of the class. However, this is not a major issue, since indoor cycling is a low impact exercise and will not put too much strain on the muscles.

Indoor cycling bikes can be uncomfortable

They are not the friendliest of machines to use in certain cases, as many people complain of pain in the pelvic bones. In addition, it can be uncomfortable for pregnant women to use – but in all cases, you can change this by adjusting the seat to a comfortable height and the handlebar positions.

Final thoughts

Indoor cycling bikes are quite good for enhancing your workout progress, but they also have a number of disadvantages that you need to keep in mind before buying them. As long as you can alternate it with other forms of exercise, you will be fine in the long term.