Ever wonder how indoor and outdoor cycling compare? Whether you are facing a stretch of rainy days, the sweltering heat of summer, or the frigid winter cold, it can be tempting to want to take your cycling inside. But which workout reigns supreme? Our cycling enthusiasts and bicycle accident attorneys sought to find out!
Ever peek in on a spin class and wonder how they gain such momentum? Even participants who don’t seem particularly in shape can spin with the best of them. When you stop pedaling an indoor bike, you will notice that the pedals continue to spin. This is because the flywheel is in motion. Once you set this wheel in motion, it continues with momentum, which means it’s easy to relax into your ride and let the bike do much of the work. On the other hand, your hamstrings are taxed more heavily on an indoor ride, as you must slow the spin of the pedals when they come around.
There are a number of benefits to indoor cycling. On the whole, it’s a great cardiovascular workout, and riders can achieve 75-95 percent maximum heart rate. Another plus is you can adjust the intensity of your workout based on your skill level or the demand of workout you desire. Want to train for a longer, more intense ride? Need a less intense ride as you begin to retrain after an injury? Both of these can be easily achieved. Indoor cycling allows you to avoid hazardous (or just annoying) weather conditions, and your workout is steady as you do not have to slow down or stop for stop signs or pedestrians.
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When you bike outdoors, it can be difficult to achieve the level of intensity that may be seen by indoor cyclists. That’s because you have to maintain balance and navigate road conditions. That said, your overall muscular demands are higher and include the hip flexors, shins, glutes, quads, and calves. Your overall calories burned will likely be higher, and you will have the added benefit of increased coordination. In addition, rides outdoors are generally considered less boring and more pleasant.
If you generally ride in a group, you may find that you perform better outdoors where you can be motivated by your peers. The change in scenery, ability to take deep breaths of fresh air, and of course the self-cooling that comes as you travel at high rates of speed cannot be beat!
Both indoor and outdoor cycling have their benefits, but overall, it seems indoor cycling is the winner. If you’re feeling frustrated by the weather, or just want to try something different, take it indoors for a while. You might be pleasantly surprised!
As cycling enthusiasts and bicycle injury attorneys, we encourage safe riding at all times!