What Are Physical and Mental Indoor Cycling Benefits?

Stationary bikes (or exercise bikes) are easy to use and offer a simple and massively effective non-impact workout.  This type of exercise gives us a feeling of happiness through the secretion of special hormones, decreases stress and anxiety, and reduces the risk of various diseases.  It can also torch a lot of calories, so an exercise bike workout is great for weight loss or weight control.

Boosts Hearth Health 

This type of aerobic workout strengthens your heart, lungs and muscles by improving the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body.  This, in turn, can benefit your health in many ways including:

  • improved memory and brain function
  • lower blood pressure
  • better sleep
  • improved blood sugar levels
  • a stronger immune system
  • better mood
  • lower stress levels
  • more energy

Aids Weight Loss Depending on the intensity of your workout and your body weight, you can burn more than 600 calories an hour with a stationary bike workout.  It’s a great way to shed fat from your lower body as it activates the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Low-Impact Workout – A stationary bike workout uses smooth movements to strengthen bones and joints without putting much pressure on them.  This makes it a good workout option for people with joint issues or injuries.

Improves Strength Riding a stationary bike can help build strength in your legs and lower body, especially if you use a higher resistance.  The pedaling action can help strengthen calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. It can also work the muscles in your core, back and glutes.  If you use a bicycle with handles, you’ll also be able to work your upper body muscles, including your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

Allows for Interval Training – Interval training allows you to alternate short bursts of intense exercise with long intervals of less intense exercise.  This type of training can help you burn more calories in less time and also elevate your cardio fitness.  Exercise bikes allow for varied resistance levels, so you can exercise at low, medium or high intensities which makes it ideal for an interval training workout.

Cycling Shifts Our Mental Well Being Exercise bike cycling can grow your cognitive abilities in the same way it can grow your muscles, by increasing the supply of blood and oxygen flow to your brain.  This type of workout done regularly can actually double (or triple) new cell production in our brains!

People of all ages can experience the benefits of cycling for our psychological well-being.  Studies show that stationary biking helps improve cognitive function, memory and attention.  The good hormones released during the workout make us feel “happy”.  It increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine production in our brains.  When we cycle, our bodies improve their ability to regulate hormones like cortisol and adrenaline resulting in improved ability to handle stress.  This can translate to improved sleep and an overall feeling of wellness.

 

Set Up Your Bike for a Great Workout

If you’re working out as part of a class, your cycling instructor will help out.  However, if you’re on your own, it’s good to know a few guidelines that will ensure appropriate setup.  This is important for comfort, but also to make sure you are optimally transferring your energy to the bike and that you’re doing it in a way that prevents injury.

Seat Height

Stand next to your bike and adjust the seat so that the saddle is roughly in line with your hip.  If you end up with a sore butt, your saddle may be too high which causes you to rock side to side at the bottom of each pedal stroke.  If you have knee pain, your saddle may be too high or too low. Adjust your saddle height and make sure your toes and knees are pointing the exact same way.

Handlebars 

Adjust your handlebars so they are roughly level with your saddle.  If you experience neck pain, your handlebars are probably too low which is forcing you to lift your head higher than normal.  Raise the bars to allow you to look forward easily.

Pedal Position

Sit on the bike and put your feet on the pedals.  Push one leg down to the bottom of the pedal stroke. Without leaning to the side and with your foot flat, your leg should be bent to around 10-15 degrees.  Adjust the seat as necessary to get it to the right height. Slightly too low is better than slightly too high.

Feet Position

Position your feet so they are directly over the pedal spindle.  If you have toe straps or clips, tighten them up so your feet are held snugly in place.

Three Back Positions

Position your back for comfort or for power.  As you lean forward, you’ll gain cycling power but lose in comfort. There are three positions of the back possible. 1) Straight back (180 degrees) for the most comfort, 2) back tilted slightly forward (225 degrees) for equal levels of comfort and power, and 3) back inclined forward (275 degrees) for the highest degree of power.

Position of the back on a stationary bike  Right position of the back on an exercise bike Position back inclined on a stationary bike

BOTTOM LINE

Cycling indoors can help you meet your fitness goals no matter what the weather outside is throwing at you.  In addition to its many cardiovascular benefits, this workout can help you boost your muscle strength, lose weight and burn body fat while being kind to your joints.  This workout can also produce “good” hormones leaving us feeling happy.  Try using an app or journal to track your progress over time so you can quickly see your results, and STAY MOTIVATED!

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