Indoor exercise bikes are fantastic exercise machines that can help you burn calories and stay fit in the comfort of your own home. Smart interactive bikes can be integrated with fitness apps to manage your rides or even provide a virtual riding experience. However, these exercise bikes have their drawbacks that you need to consider before buying one.
As indoor exercise bikes continue to grow in popularity, it’s worth asking: do the pros outweigh the cons, and should you add one to your home gym setup?
Indoor cycling professionals
Jumping on an indoor exercise bike could be the perfect way to kickstart your fitness journey, as indoor cycling is an effective and incredibly convenient way to stay active. Here are the benefits of buying an exercise bike.
1. You can burn tons of calories
If you’re looking for a way to shed calories and lose weight fast, then indoor cycling is an excellent form of exercise to try. While you probably won’t feel the burn from leisurely cycling, you can incorporate intense interval training to boost your metabolism.
Harvard Health Publishing says 30 minutes of moderate stationary cycling can burn about 252 calories for a 155-pound person. And a 185-pound person vigorously bicycling can burn up to 441 calories in just 30 minutes.
2. Performance tracking is easy
Unlike an ordinary bike, a smart indoor interactive bike can track your fitness progress, so you can easily view your metrics. Intensity, power, cadence and time are some metrics you can track, but that’s not all. The well-known Peloton Bike can even be integrated with your Apple Watch to track your cycling performance. These metrics are more detailed and include real-time heart rate monitoring that impacts your personal non-competitive metric called Strive Score.
There are many outdoor cycling groups, but it is not always possible to join them due to factors such as the weather or personal reasons. Indoor exercise bikes accompanied by a bike app like Zwift can make indoor cycling a real pleasure! Zwift is an online training and racing platform that allows cyclists from around the world to connect and participate 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 give you a high-intensity workout, the workouts are low-impact and can put less stress and strain on your body. According to the Better Health Channel, cycling is the ideal form of exercise for people with osteoarthritis because it’s a low-impact exercise. In addition, indoor interactive cycling is also a great active recovery option on your rest day.
5. Indoor cycling can be safer than outdoor
You’re typically less prone to injury on an indoor exercise bike because the chances of falling off are ridiculously small. In addition, there are no obstacles or other road users to worry about at home. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle accidents were a significant threat to cyclists in 2020, particularly cyclists over the age of 20.
Indoor Cycling Disadvantages
Indoor cycling can give you a satisfying training session. However, can you overcome the space limitations and tedious nature of an indoor ergometer? Here are the cons to consider before making this big purchase.
1. Indoor bikes are expensive
It’s quite expensive to buy an indoor bike, especially a smart interactive exercise bike like the Peloton Bike. The premium design, extra tech, and convenience explain why they’re so expensive, but are they really worth the high price? Indoor bikes are ideal if you just want to ride your bike every day but don’t offer a well-rounded, full-body workout. If you already have a regular racing bike, you can attach an interactive smart trainer instead, 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 be fun and get boring after a while. Of course, you can adjust the cadence and resistance of your exercise bike, but you still won’t ride anywhere in your living room. Indoor cycling means there is no way to alter the scenery or landscape, so finding a way to entertain yourself is important or you’ve wasted your money on a high-priced product that serves no purpose.
3. There is no fresh outside air
Indoor cycling is comfortable, safe and air-conditioned, but does that outweigh the excitement and rush of cycling outdoors in the fresh air? Spending time outdoors in nature is a magical way to boost your overall mood and also provides you with essential vitamin D, which is vital for your body’s calcium absorption.
4. An indoor bike takes up floor space
An indoor exercise bike is convenient for home use, but not everyone has the floor space. If you have to set everything up and lug it around every time you want to get on your bike, you’re probably feeling less motivated. That’s why it’s also important to have a dedicated area where your gear is ready to go.
This may not be practical for you, especially if you live in a smaller apartment and have limited space to store a large exercise machine. Also, you can’t store a smart indoor ergometer outside or in a garage that doesn’t have the right conditions like a regular road bike.
5. Cycling is not a total body workout
Cycling on an indoor stationary bike is a fantastic, low-impact workout that burns calories quickly, but it’s not the ideal way to get a full-body workout. Indoor cycling primarily works your lower body muscles like quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Of course, you use your arm muscles to support yourself, but to properly train your upper body muscles, you need to plan in additional exercises.
In general, cycling is a perfect exercise to give your legs a serious workout. If you’re looking for more than that, you might want to consider another piece of exercise equipment.
Is an Indoor Interactive Exercise Bike Right for You?
Indoor cycling is an effective cardio workout that can increase your heart rate, improve circulation, and lead to better overall health. In order to decide whether to invest in an exercise bike, you need to find out what suits you best.
If you love the idea of burning calories at home, despite the downsides of price and lack of variety, an indoor exercise bike could be a perfect choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to be out in the great outdoors and prefer to cycle personally in a group, it is best to stick with a normal road bike.