What Are the Benefits of Cycling in the Gym?

Many of us are familiar with cycling’s cardiovascular health benefits, but what about the benefits of cycling in the gym...

Many of us are familiar with cycling’s cardiovascular health benefits, but what about the benefits of cycling in the gym rather than outside or at home? 

Research suggests that group exercise is particularly beneficial to participants. Gyms give you access to classes. They offer accountability, especially if you book them in advance or exercise with friends; it’s more difficult to cancel a session when people expect you to be there and more so if you’ve paid upfront. Classes and pre-booked sessions can feel more like an appointment, especially if you’ve already blocked that time out in a calendar or diary. If you have an indoor cycling class at 7 pm on a Wednesday, it’s often easier to honour that commitment than attending an ad hoc gym session.

Friendships can also form in a group session. You’re more likely to see the same faces, making it easier to keep attending.

Exercising together can also improve performance. Kansas State Researchers found women who exercised on fitness bikes alongside someone else increased their workout time and intensity by 200%.  This is called the Kohler Effect.  Nobody wants to be the ‘weakest link’, so they increase their efforts which leads to a more effective workout. Cycling classes are great for cardiovascular health as they’re high-intensity but low-impact. This can help members looking for a high calorie burn. Classes can be a supporting and fun means of exercising to burn calories. 

Group exercise can also have a stress-reducing effect. The American Osteopathic Association found that working out in a group lowered stress by 26% and improved a person’s quality of life. 

There’s also nothing quite like the energy of a class. Many are now designed around ‘experience’ rather than just the end result. You’ll often see studios with nightclub-esque vibes: sound and lighting systems, smoke machines and killer playlists. STORM Cycle Studio in Berlin is a great example of what happens when you elevate the indoor experience.

Another benefit of exercising in the gym
are instructors and trainers. They create a more engaging experience for riders, one more exciting than exercising alone or to pre-recorded workouts.


Different types of bikes available in the gym 

Cycling in the gym gives you access to different types of static bike, including upright, fitness, recumbent and air bikes. The one you choose to exercise on can depend on your fitness level, current health or preferred workout style. Fitness bikes are great for high-intensity workouts. They encourage the rider to lean low and forward over the handlebars. These are the bikes you’ll see in classes, and you can even generate clean electricity from some. Upright bikes are what most people will imagine when they think about static bikes. The riding position is generally different to a fitness bike, but you can still get a fantastic workout.  

Air bikes use a large fan rather than a flywheel to create resistance. It also gives an upperbody workout as the handlebars move too. Recumbant bikes must be pedalled from a seated position so it’s a great low-impact workout.  

Bikes are a staple in the gym, but they’re getting smarter. You can now buy bikes which can alter incline, speed and resistance automatically when you follow a trainer. The RE:GEN displays FTP score.

There are far fewer environmental factors when exercising at the gym. It's indoors for a start. You don't have to worry about the things that can make outdoor cycling more challenging: inclement weather, traffic, and terrain issues. You can have consistency in the gym or alter resistance and create a more difficult program. You can use different routes or trainers if your gym has smart bikes. Cycling outdoors may require you to travel elsewhere to access the type of route and workout you want. We don't all live in places where varied terrain supports our cycling goals.  


Ease of Use 

Outdoor cycling comes with a lot of maintenance. Bikes need looking after. Home bikes can sometimes require belt-tightening or a saddle replacement. You don’t have to worry about that at a gym because it's the gym’s issue. Cycling at the gym is an easy entry for beginners. During your induction, the trainer should show you the correct adjustment for the bike. You can also always ask for assistance when you're at the gym, too. 

Outdoor cycling requires a bike and other forms of equipment or clothing. In the gym, you can turn up in your workout gear.  


Home Bikes Take Up Space 

Not everyone has the space in their home to have a static bike. They can be noisy too with the vibrations going through floorboards and disturbing neighbours. You can buy a mat to reduce this.  


What Are the Disadvantages of Cycling in the Gym? 

You have to have a gym membership to take advantage of it, which can make it less accessible to people. Buying a bike for your home or riding outdoors may be more economical. Exercising at home is often more convenient, too, as it cuts down on travel time and is easier to fit into a busy schedule.

When you own a bike, it's easier to adapt the frame and saddle to your body or riding type. Positioning can be crucial in reducing the likelihood of injury or strain. You may not always be able to find the kind of bike you want to ride. Not every gym will have a recumbent bike, for example.

Gym cycling isn't for everyone. As with most fitness-related topics, it's about finding what works for you and will help you stay consistent in your routine. Some people find exercising individually at the gym to be the best option. Others prefer group cycling classes. Other people want to exercise at home or ride on roads and trails.

We're getting ready to open up pre-orders for the next product drop of our electricity-generating fitness bike. Find out more about the RE:GEN on the Energym website. 


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