1. Burn, Burn, Burn Calories
I wasn't fond of indoor cycling when I started because it was hard on my lazy legs. However, as I began to get accustomed to the work out and saw the pounds begin to melt away faster than they had when I worked out on any other cardio equipment I was hooked.
A good thirty minute workout of indoor cycling can burn as much as 500 calories. Even at challenging levels other cardio equipment couldn't burn that many calories in such a short time. I usually do a workout that is 50 minutes to an hour long. Longer workouts burn from 800 to 1,000 calories.
Trainers recommend indoor cycling no more than three days a week. In addition to indoor cycling, strength training is recommended so that indoor cycling does not burn away muscle, but burns the fat you want to get rid of.
2. Cardiovascular Health
Indoor cycling is primarily an anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance over an extended period of time. However, there are also aerobic benefits of indoor cycling. Planned indoor cycling programs include both endurance and cardiovascular training during the workout. At several points you may be required to break your steady pace and speed up to increase your heart rate.
Heart health is an obvious benefit, as is lung capacity. As you work harder during your indoor cycling workout you will learn to work on controlled breathing, as well. This may help you with anxiety and help lower your heart rate when you get into a situation where physical exertion begins to take your breath away.
3. Progress at Your Own Pace
Whether following a live instructor or video, the amount of resistance you apply, as you gain strength and endurance is up to you. Each indoor cycling bike has a resistance control knob within easy reach of the handle bars. It works something like switching gears.
While instructors recommend an RPM, as you work toward increasing your RPM and maintaining a steady pace you can't fall behind the rest of the class. You don't feel out of place for not knowing an aerobic or step routine. No one really knows what level at which you are working, so you are free to progress at your own pace.
I was glad of that when I began indoor cycling and ran the entire class with little to no resistance. I'm glad I can progress at my own pace now, because some days I want to add more resistance and work out harder.
4. Time Flies
It annoys me to work out with the TV on. Time, when I'm on the treadmill, creeps by very slowly.
On the indoor cycling bike, the challenge is constantly changing. As I work through each level I tend to lose track of time. There are training videos that take you along with a group of riders through Las Vegas or Colorado. The scenery is beautiful and also helps distract me as time passes. When I'm in a more contemplative move, I can close my eyes on the bike and think.
5. Low Impact
I have several friends who avoid the treadmill, elliptical, and stair stepper because of the traumatic impact on their knees or feet. Spinning keeps the pressure off of your knees and feet. You are able to work out hard on a indoor cycling bike without hurting your knees and feet. It is also a good workout for those who cannot use the treadmill or elliptical because of arthritis. I have friends who are able to join a indoor cycling workout who simply cannot stand the pain of high impact cardiovascular workouts.
6. Shapely Legs
It will not take long for your efforts on a indoor cycling bike to show up as weight loss, but there is another great benefit to indoor cycling. Indoor cycling uses large muscle groups in your legs. It does not take long before your thighs, hamstrings, and calves begin to take shape. Three indoor cycling workouts a week will make a difference in the shapely appearance of your leg.
7. Lower Your Body's Workout Breaking Point
As you learn to work harder on the indoor cycling bike you will begin to find that the breaking point, at which you begin to feel the workout, will become lower the harder you work. For me, the benefit is that once I reach a breaking point and work through it, I get the natural endorphin kick that most athletes enjoy.
The great thing about working your body into this kind of shape is that you feel better without the use of drugs. You feel better throughout the day following a workout and you have more energy. You are simply training your body to work more efficiently.
8. Get an Ab workout while You Indoor Cycle
Indoor cycling instructors never give up when it comes to talking about technique and posture. Correct posture is important to working the right muscle groups. In addition to the major leg muscles worked during a indoor cycling routine, the abdominal muscles get a workout, as well.
As you indoor cycle, unlike racing a bike on the road, you get an upper body rhythm going that helps you keep your leg rhythm. The movement from a slightly bent position and side to side works both the central abdominal muscles and those along the side of your abdomens.
You may not see immediate results of your abdominal work, but over time you will feel your entire body begin to tone up, including your abs.
9. Ride Together
Regardless of your fitness level riding indoor cycling bikes keeps everyone together. This goes beyond sitting in the same indoor cycling class, but each individual works equally as hard at their own level. It is amazing how you can feed off of the energy of other riders when you begin to fatigue and start thinking you might want to quit.
Riding together also gives you the opportunity to encourage others. You can inspire those who have not yet reached your level of fitness, while those stronger than you inspire you. Working together, everyone who indoor cycles can reach their goals.
10. Mental Strength
I've found indoor cycling does two things for me mentally. First, the warm up and cool down are great ways to relax. Before and after putting my body through a strenuous indoor cycling workout I can close my eyes, work just a little, and allow the physical exertion to become a catharsis for releasing pent-up emotions.
Indoor cycling also builds mental strength. When you indoor cycle, there are good days and bad. The important thing is that you carry through with your regular indoor cycling routine. Push through difficult times. Push up hill climbs and push through endurance training.
Self discipline of the mind gained in indoor cycling can be applied to all areas of life. I have found it most beneficial in areas of self-control and confidence. Indoor cycling helps develop a positive, "can do" attitude.