Indoor cycling is one of the hottest forms of cardiovascular exercise. Whether people do it at home or at a cycling studio, the activity garners interest from men and women alike. Even kids are getting into it. So much so that the global market was valued at more than $37 million in 2018. It is expected to grow by nearly 5% annually through 2028.
You might be wondering what it is people love so much about indoor cycling. More importantly, you might be wondering how the two forms of cycling differ. There is actually more to it than meets the eye.
Weather and Environment
Perhaps the most noticeable differences between indoor and outdoor cycling relate to weather and environment. Outdoor cyclists are obviously subject to what mother nature offers. Indoor cyclists are not so constrained. It doesn’t matter what the temperature outside is. It also doesn’t matter whether the sun is shining or the skies have opened up with a torrent of rain.
Environment and cycling conditions are also something to consider. When you are riding indoors, you’re not worried about dangerous vehicle traffic. There are no worries about dogs, pedestrians getting in the way, or suddenly rough road conditions that could put you in peril. Indoor cycling controls the weather and environment for you.
Outdoor cycling is customizable to the extent that you can choose your own routes. If you want flat and easy one day, that’s fine. The next day you might prefer a more challenging ride with a few hills. You can customize your workout simply by altering your route. However, what if you live somewhere with relatively little difference in terrain across the entire region? There may not be enough variation to keep you happy.
A basic indoor cycle with no electronic add-ons will not give you much by way of customization either. But a more modern bike will. Modern indoor bikes are equipped with a range of features that let you simulate different grades. You can make your ride easier or more challenging from start to finish or change things up as you go.
The most advanced bikes are programmable. This means you can download and install workout routines based on actual routes ridden by outdoor cyclists.
Full Body Workout
The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor cycling is the opportunity to create a full body workout with the indoor model. Cycling studios like Salt Lake City’s Mcycle are not content just to have participants sit on a bike and pedal away. They combine cycling with great music and exercises for the upper body.
In a cycling studio, you have the opportunity to work more than just your legs. You might be peddling your bike while working weights in your hands. You might be moving your upper body from side to side to work your midsection. The point is that you can get a full body workout because you can do other things while you pedal.
This sort of thing is possible even if there isn’t a cycling studio near where you live. A lot of studios do things online these days, meaning you just need a good bike at home along with your tablet or phone. You might even have a bike with a built-in screen and connectivity options.
Indoor cycling is not for everyone. Some people prefer to be outside in the fresh air when they ride. That’s great. But for those looking to push cycling to the next level as a form of exercise, it is hard to beat an organized cycling class in a studio environment.