What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling

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Written By James Quilter

Passionate cyclist and content creator

If outdoor cycling is not possible, indoor cycling on platforms like Zwift or Rouvy can be a great alternative. However, what exactly are the advantages of indoor cycling?

Well, the health benefits of riding indoors are many. As you’ll see below, indoor cycling helps improve cardiovascular fitness, endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and posture.

There are many reasons you should consider indoor cycling as part of your workout routine as opposed to outdoor cycling. Some of them include:

Benefits of Cycling for Your Body

Indoor cycling can improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen muscles, burn calories, and improve posture. It is also a great way to get in shape for summer or winter sports. Cycling indoors will help increase your stamina, build muscle tone, and improve your overall body conditioning.

1. Muscles Targeted During Exercises

Indoor cycling improves muscle strength. It helps your core, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and lower back. It also works your upper body by strengthening your biceps, triceps,

The muscles targeted during indoor cycling include the quadriceps (the front thigh muscle group), hamstrings (back thigh muscle group) and glutes (buttock muscle group). We use these muscles for running, jumping, climbing stairs and walking.

Indoor cycling might be a great way to burn calories without having to leave home, but it’s important to remember that this type of exercise isn’t suitable for everyone. If you’ve got any existing medical conditions, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new fitness regime. 

2. How Cycling on an Indoor Trainer Can Improve Posture and Flexibility

Ok, this is a tricky one.

Indoor cycling can improve posture by making sure you keep good form while exercising. By focusing on your breathing and keeping your back straight, you’re able to work out kinks in your spine.

However, there can be drawbacks if you spend too long on the trainer. For example, you lose the lateral motion when riding indoors.

So any indoor cycling training program should utilize floor exercises. Cycling uses core muscles but – odd as it may seem – it doesn’t build them.

Here are some excellent floor exercises to help with your indoor cycling.

3. Weight Loss Benefits

You lose weight by burning fat, not just calories. Indoor cycling burns fat by increasing the number of calories burned per hour. Indoor cyclists burn more calories by using their legs rather than relying on arm strength.

Indoor cycling involves continually pedalling, while there are opportunities to roll while out on the road.

Cycling indoors also enables you to do higher intensity exercises. This means you get more out of the time and raises your metabolic rate.

According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, a150-pound person who cycles 30 minutes at around 16 to 19 miles per hour, could burn around 421 calories.

While cycling at a moderate pace, the same person who cycles for 30 minutes on a stationary bike can burn around 245 calories at a moderate pace. 

4. Cardiovascular Health Benefits

Indoor cycling is more than just a great way to burn calories without having to leave home. It also builds up the cardiovascular system by increasing blood flow to all parts of the body. This means that you will have more energy throughout the day, which allows you to perform at your best.

It can also improve heart health. According to an American Council on Exercise study, a typical cycling class keeps people exercising for approximately three hours per week at an intensity level equivalent to between 70 and 90 percent of their maximum heart rates.

5. Endurance Improvements

Cycling indoors improves your endurance because it increases the amount of oxygen available to your working muscles. Your heart rate will naturally rise when you ride indoors, so you’ll need less effort to maintain an aerobic pace.

Ok, any form of cycling will help endurance. Where indoor cycling has the upper hand is the ability to clearly measure the effort – through power, cadence, conditions etc.

6. Helping to Improve Mental Strength 

Studies have shown indoor cycling to improve mood, reduce stress, increase energy levels, and boost concentration. You may find yourself feeling happier and more focused after completing a session on an indoor bike. 

Cycling also releases endorphins into our bloodstream through exercise. They help to relieve pain and produce feelings of euphoria.

When you pedal, you also force more nerve cells to fire. As these neurons light up, they intensify the creation of proteins like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a compound called noggin (yes, really), which promote the formation of new brain cells. The result: You double or triple the production of neurons—literally building your brain, says Christie. You also release neurotransmitters (the messengers between your brain cells) so all those cells, new and old, can communicate with each other for better, faster functioning. That’s a pretty profound benefit to cyclists.

7. How Indoor Cycling Can Improve Sleep

Studies have shown indoor cycling can improve sleep by reducing anxiety and improving relaxation. It reduces anxiety by helping you focus on your breathing and control your thoughts. Relaxation occurs through deep breathing and meditation.

Riding indoors can also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. This is because it reduces light exposure, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm.

8. Improved Digestion

It’s well known that regular exercise can improve digestive function. Indoor cycling is one of the most effective ways to do this. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which act like natural painkillers. Endorphins also relax the abdominal muscles, allowing food to pass through easily.

9. What to Expect After One Month of Regular Cycling

The first month will probably feel challenging because it’s all new. But after that, you’ll see some changes in your body.

Your heart rate may increase slightly, but not by much. You should notice a reduction in appetite, which means you won’t be hungry during the day anymore. And you’ll experience less fatigue.

10. The Long-Term Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling has many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced blood pressure, increased bone density, and better mood. It may also reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.

What are the Drawbacks of Indoor Cycling?

There are some drawbacks to indoor cycling. Riding indoors doesn’t allow for natural movement, so you won’t get the same workout as if you were outside. Some people find indoor cycling too boring. There are also safety concerns with indoor cycling, since you don’t have access to emergency exits or fire extinguishers.

The pros of indoor cycling outweigh the cons. It’s a safe, low-impact exercise that provides numerous health benefits. 

Injuries associated with indoor cycling include soreness in the lower back, knees, ankles, shoulders, neck, wrists, and elbows. However this is mostly from overdoing it. 

Summary – Indoor Cycling Health Benefits

The first benefit of indoor cycling is that it allows you to exercise indoors without having to worry about the weather. This means that you can exercise whenever you feel like it, regardless of the season.

Another advantage of indoor cycling is that you can exercise anywhere. You don’t have to go outside to ride a bike. Instead, you can just hop on your stationary bike and start riding.

This is especially useful if you live somewhere where the weather isn’t very conducive to outdoor exercise. In fact, many people prefer exercising indoors because it makes them feel less self-conscious.

You can also save a ton of money by avoiding the cost of gym memberships.

Finally, indoor cycling is a great form of cardio exercise. It improves your cardiovascular fitness while strengthening your core muscles.

All these factors combine to make indoor cycling a great way to improve your overall health.


Can you lose weight by cycling indoors?

Cycling indoors burns calories at a higher rate than outdoor riding. The average person who rides indoors for 30 minutes burns about 100 calories, while someone who rides outdoors for the same time only burns around 80 calories. Research shows that indoor cyclists burn up to 10% more calories than their outdoor counterparts.

How long should I indoor cycle a day?

You can ride for anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes per session. If you want to lose weight, try doing 30 minutes three times a week.

What is the difference between indoor cycling and spinning?

Indoor cycling is usually done on a road bike attached to a smart trainer and an app. Spinning is an indoor cycling class where you pedal against resistance. Spinning classes typically last 45 minutes and use stationary bikes in a gym.

What is the best type of bike for indoor cycling?

Most indoor cycles are designed to mimic the motion of road biking. The best thing to do is use a road bike with a smart trainer. Turbo trainers are great because you can adjust the resistance to match your current fitness level.

Can Strava record indoor cycling?

Strava does record indoor cycling sessions via integration with applications like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Rouvy.