Cycling has been a booming activity lately. Some use it for exercise, while others take bike rides to relax or to get to their destination. But what is the difference between indoor and outdoor cycling, and what are the benefits?

Indoor Cycling 
Indoor cycling or spinning is an exercise routine that uses stationary bicycles. Typically an instructor will lead the class in exercises accompanied by dance or high-energy music. More modern stationary bikes have one front wheel and handlebars that curve downwards or upwards. In addition, there are shoes made specifically for indoor bikes that make it easier to stay on the pedals.

Some exercises include hill climbs, sprints, and interval training, where you switch between high-intensity moments and rest periods. These exercises provide cardiovascular workouts. Classes can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of exercise you are doing.

Outdoor Cycling
Outdoor cycling is exactly what it sounds like. Using a bicycle, you go outside and ride your bike around. Outdoor bicycles can range from under $100 to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality and features. Most bicycles have two wheels and handlebars that are easy to grasp and control the direction of the front wheel. Outdoor cycling can also include competitive riding, where cyclists race against each other. In addition, there are local cycling groups you can join to hang out with other people who enjoy riding bikes and riding together.

Benefits of Cycling

Cardiovascular Fitness
Cycling is an easy way to exercise your heart with little impact on your legs and lower back. It is a low-impact exercise because the majority of your body weight is on the bicycle seat instead of your feet. Cycling benefits your health by stimulating and improving your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Builds Muscle
Cycling involves pedaling your feet to move the wheels and keeping the bike upright and moving if you’re on an outdoor bike. So having to do these things can help build muscle because of the effort put into the motions.

Improves Proprioception and Balance 
Outdoor cycling requires you to keep the bike upright and moving forward. This requires balance, a good amount of it. So riding a bike often will help improve your balance. Cycling can also improve your proprioception or your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location. To be able to ride a bike, you need to maintain your proprioception, and you can do so by riding regularly.

Relieves Stress 
Cycling, especially outdoor cycling, can be a relaxing experience. You get to enjoy clean air and the nice nature around you, depending on where you live and the season. Research shows that physical activity can help reduce stress, so cycling daily can help improve your mental health.

Indoor and outdoor cycling are similar in their benefits and purposes, with the main difference being one is stationary. Cycling has many health benefits, including improving muscles and cardiovascular benefits, balance, and stress relief. Check out your local indoor cycling gym or local cycling group today!

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