Whether you are a new mom trying to get back your pre-baby body, a grandmother committed to staying fit or a college coed looking to burn off steam, you can reap the benefits of indoor cycling. The exercise is designed to accommodate all fitness levels and provides a challenge to all who participate.
The Many Benefits of Indoor Cycling
If you are not convinced that cycling is right for you, consider the following benefits:
Dozens of medical studies have been conducted to research the benefits of stationary biking. During the course of one study, experts found that the average cyclist can increase his or her heart rate to 80 percent, which is considered "excellent" when it comes to burning fat. This is especially significant given that the majority of fat burning occurs when a person's heart rate is at approximately 65 to 75 percent of maximum capacity. Many gyms equip their bikes with heart rate monitors so riders can check their pace and adjust their cycling habits to optimize fat burning. In addition to reducing fat, indoor bicycling is also a great way to burn calories. Riding for 60-minutes, you have the potential to burn upwards of 1,200 calories.
Increases Leg Strength
Cycling utilizes the body's largest muscle groups: glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. By participating riding a stationary bike, you are able to target the aforementioned muscle groups and improve blood flow to each. In addition, indoor cycling helps tone your calf muscles and strengthens your tendons, which improves overall leg strength.
Aids Cardiovascular System
Indoor cycling is an ideal exercise to improve your cardiovascular system. Your heart and lungs make up your cardiovascular system, and the fitter you become, the more efficiently they work. Consistent cycling improves blood flow throughout your body and increases the speed by which oxygen is distributed. Over time, this exercise will help improve heart and lung performance and increase your overall fitness level.
In addition to improving your cardiovascular system, cycling also encourages the use of stabilizer muscles found in your trunk, hips and shoulders. Improvement of these muscles helps to enhance body alignment and posture.
Reduces Risk of Injury
Indoor cycling is considered a non-load bearing exercise, which means your body does not have to bear the burden of supporting all your weight throughout your workout. Since the majority of these exercises are done while sitting, the pressure is taken off your joints and you reduce your risk of injury. This is something that is not accomplished when participating in other cardio activities such as running. Using a stationary bike also reduces the risk of falling or accident from outdoor biking, but gives you much of the same benefits.
Other benefits of indoor cycling include:
- Not having to worry about poor weather conditions
- Not having to purchase expensive workout equipment
- Controlling your own aerobic output
Ways to Maximize Stationary Bicycling Benefits
To maximize the benefits achieved by cycling, consider these five tips:
- Adjust your bike according to your height. Set the saddle to your hip level to ensure your knees are not bent or locked straight when peddling.
- Choose proper fitting shoes. Experts recommend stiff-soled fitness shoes rather than soft running sneakers. If you find that you enjoy cycling, you might consider investing in special cycling shoes that clip on to the bike's pedals.
- Always have a bottle of water. It's a good idea to bring a bottle of water to the gym and take frequent drinks while you ride. Indoor cycling offers a high intensity workout and most participants sweat profusely during the activity. Having water on hand will help you remain hydrated.
- Bring a towel. You will need it to wipe sweat from your body and the bike handles during your workout.
- Don't force yourself. Doing so may cause painful injuries.