The beauty — and complication — of fitness is that there isn’t a cookie cutter routine that works for everyone. Even the goals of individuals vary. We all work out for different reasons and we each have different body types, diets, levels of athleticism, and so many other factors that influence the type of workout that would best suit us.
Biking is a very popular way to get fit because of how effective it is when used for cardio. It is, as some people like to put it “like running, but actually fun”. There are two iterations of how you can do cardio through biking. There are stationary bikes, which you often see inside gyms, and there are outdoor bikes, which you often see on the roads.
Now, the question isn’t of which one of these is a better iteration, but rather, which of these is a better option for you. So, how do you determine which of these options is best for you? You look at these factors:
Muscle Group Activation
This is the most important factor to consider when you relate it to your fitness goals. While it isn’t apparent at first, outdoor bikes and indoors bikes actually target different muscle groups.
Because stationary bikes do not experience any change in terrain (in terms of elevation), they give a primary focus on the hamstrings and quadriceps, especially because these muscles are under tension for the entire duration of the workout session.
In contrast to this, outdoor bikes place tension on glutes, calves, shins, hamstrings, and quadriceps. However, the tension these muscles undergo is not constant because of the changing terrain. With this information in mind, if you want to grow your hamstrings and quads, then indoor bikes would suit your needs best. If you prefer to tone several muscle groups at once, then outdoor bikes would be your best bet.
Another factor you need to consider is that of safety. With indoor bikes, you’ll be able to focus more on your workout as opposed to outdoor biking where you need to consider many aspects such as traffic, the weather, the terrain, and if you’re biking through a forest, wild animals. In case you do find yourself in a bike accident, it would be good to know that there are legal measures that you can take. It’s always best to learn more about what options are available so that you’d be able to handle these scenarios much better.
Let’s be honest. The thing that makes indoor cycling the safer option is also the thing that makes it less appealing. Because there isn’t any change in environment, indoor biking can get very monotonous very quickly. Couple that with the fact that you constantly use the same muscle groups throughout the duration of the workout and you’re bound to tire easily if you aren’t conditioned for it.
In stark contrast to this, outdoor biking is incredibly fun because it gives you so much stimuli to break the monotony with. This change in environment is also what allows you to use different muscle groups at different times, which allows them to recover while you’re biking. This makes outdoor biking easier.
Now, fitness isn’t something that’s for everyone. By this, I mean that each person requires a different approach. Nobody can tell you what you want or need better than yourself.