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Pros and cons of indoor vs outdoor cycling

Written by Fiona

June 28 2023

Both indoor and outdoor cycling are popular but what are the pros and cons of each activity? This article takes a look at the different factors that might persuade you to do one type of cycling more than the other, or both.

What is indoor cycling?

Indoor cycling takes place within an enclosed room on stationary bikes. It might that you use a bike at the gym, join a spin class or use your own bike and turbo at home.

Indoor cycling is an effective way to stay in shape and obtain cardiovascular exercise without leaving the house. It’s an excellent solution for people with limited time or who cannot participate in full outdoor rides due to weather restrictions.

Indoor cycling allows you to accomplish many different goals, from beating bad weather and meeting specific training goals to increasing endurance, strength and mental wellbeing. Furthermore, it has many advantages for anyone living with physical illness or injuries that make outdoor riding challenging.

Regular indoor cycling can help alleviate both muscle and joint aches as well as anxiety, which helps you to lose weight. Studies have proven that riding regularly decreases cortisol levels within your body.

What is outdoor cycling?

Outdoor cycling includes riding on road bikes, gravel bikes and mountain bikes. You might choose to cycle on tarmac or on cycle specific paths, or trails.

It is a great way to enhance both physical and mental wellbeing. Riding can strengthen heart muscles, endurance levels and also help you to lose weight. 

An outdoor cycling session can help boost your mood because being outdoors and in the fresh air is known to be good for mental health.

Outdoor cycling will offer you an all-round body workout because you will switch between cycling in the saddle and out of the saddle and also on flats and hills.

However, you should take extra precautions when cycling outdoors to prevent the risk of injuries and falls. 

Benefits of indoor cycling

Indoor cycling could be an ideal way to lose weight and get more out of your workouts, providing both cardiovascular exercise and other advantages. As long as you have the proper equipment, taking part in an indoor cycling class can be a rewarding and effective form of fitness. Here are some benefits of indoor cycling. 

Can Be Done In Any Environment: Indoor cycling offers numerous advantages. It is an ideal solution for people unable to exercise outdoors due to weather, schedule constraints, or any other reason. It can be done in any environment and doesn’t get affected by weather conditions. So, if it is raining outside and you still want to lose weight by cycling, indoor bikes are the best choice. 

Improves Muscle Strength: Indoor cycling is an effective way to build muscle strength in the lower body, particularly with respect to quads, calves, and glutes. The push/pull motion of cycling activates these areas and strengthens them simultaneously. As your muscles develop and shape during each cycle, cellulite on your legs will diminish significantly, giving the illusion of leaner and fitter legs. 

Benefits Cardiovascular Health: Indoor cycling can be an excellent way to boost cardiovascular health. Similar to other forms of cardio, it is kinder on joints and reduces injury risks. Regular exercise can improve both your heart and lung capacity, helping you cycle harder, longer, and more efficiently. Furthermore, exercise can also help control weight by maintaining cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as decreasing blood pressure.

Helps In Maintaining Weight: Indoor cycling is an efficient and effective way to shed extra weight or increase fitness levels, offering numerous health and wellbeing benefits. However, as with any workout, it’s essential that after cycling, you eat enough nutritious food and take enough rest. Ample rest will allow your body to recover more effectively from cycling sessions while simultaneously increasing fat-burning potential in subsequent workouts.

Reduces Risk Of Falls: Indoor cycling offers an effective workout without the stress of outdoor exercise, making it safer for pregnant women, as well as older people. It helps control balance which may prove especially helpful for older adults with degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis that make staying balanced difficult.

Benefits of outdoor cycling

Cycling is an excellent way to exercise outdoors while also relieving stress and improving mood. Cycling outdoors provides some advantages that cannot be found indoors.

Improves Cognition And Psychological Functions: Outdoor exposure has been proven to have positive benefits on mental health compared to spending time indoors, including improved concentration, higher self-control and decreased risk for psychiatric disorders. Recent studies conducted demonstrated the correlation between cycling and outdoor time contributing to improvements in cognitive function.

Helps to Burn Calories: Outdoor cycling is one of the best cardiovascular exercises that can help you burn a significant amount of calories. This makes outdoor cycling an effective tool for weight loss and getting back in shape. In addition, supplements like PhenQ and PhenGold can further optimise the body’s fat-burning potential, increase energy levels, and suppress appetite, enhancing the overall weight loss journey.

It Adds Variety To Cycling: Outdoor cycling allows you to ride at your own pace and appreciate the scenery. It provides an effective and versatile workout, challenging you to use more muscles than when riding indoors – particularly on hills and uneven terrain. This can be especially helpful for beginners or anyone seeking to build strength and stability.

Can Be Easily Worked into a Daily Routine: Outdoor cycling is an effective and straightforward way to incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your everyday routine. From commuting to work and school to shopping trips, outdoor cycling provides an easy and accessible cardio workout that will enhance both fitness and overall wellbeing.

Improves Concentration And Focus: No matter whether it is training for an endurance cycling event or simply enjoying leisurely bike rides. Outdoor cycling has the power to boost concentration and focus. Riding demands your full attention at every turn.

Focusing on cadence and body position will help spread out your load across a broader array of muscle fibers, which will lead to improved results.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Cycling – Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

Both indoor and outdoor cycling provides a great exercise to build muscles, burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and increase fitness and stamina levels. Both forms are suitable for weight loss as they help you to burn calories. 

However, some evidence shows that cyclists actually burn more calories during outdoor rides compared to indoor rides. Studies conducted at the University of Nebraska demonstrated that cyclists could train at higher perceived exertion levels. They can burn more calories outdoors compared to indoor workouts under similar environmental conditions.

Conclusion: Both indoor and outdoor cycling are great for health and well-being. No matter which option you choose, you’ll get an effective workout quickly and conveniently. However, if you want an edge and want to shed more pounds, outdoor cycling is an ideal choice. This type of cycling is more challenging and helps to lower your stress levels. To maximise results, the best approach is to vary your rides and increase intensity on a regular basis. 

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