Can you get the same health benefits from riding a stationary bike



Abby25

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Feb 7, 2016
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When the weather is cold or rainy and you don't get to go riding, do you ride a stationary bike instead? If so, do you feel you get the same health benefits and amount of exercise as you do when you are cycling? With the way the weather has been this winter, I am considering buying a stationary bike to have on hand so I can still ride indoors if the weather is not permitting me to ride outside. However, I cannot imagine I will enjoy it as much as I do cycling out on the open road.
 
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Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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I'd say yes to the thread's title. The simulated physical exertion atop a stationary bike is much the same as on a real bike except that the effort is focused on the pedal. On a real bike, your attention is mostly focused on the surroundings particularly on the road since you are moving. On a stationary bike, there is nothing much to think about except the pedal and the sinews of your legs and arms.
 
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jhuskey

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Oct 6, 2003
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Can you get results toward health from a stationary bike- yes. Can you get the same results training on a stationary bike as riding a 50 mile road route- no.
It is possible to train on a stationary bike and become a world class TT champion, I know this because it has been done but I don't know of anyone that became a world class multi stage racer on a stationary. It would take a lot of mental fortitude to ride a trainer for 4 hours.
Too many variables to answer the thread title with a yes or no answer accurately but in general the answer is no. Of course you take advantage of all opportunities if you are serious about training and health.
 
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pwarbi

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I'm also going to say no aswell regarding the amount of exercise you get being the same from.a stationary bike as to what you get from.cycling outside.

Like others have said, you obviously get the cardio.workout and the leg strengthening, but that's about all. On a real bike ride you'll get more exercise, and not only that, you'll get the twisting and turning of the ride also.
 
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CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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Ima gonna go with a 'yes' on this.

100 Watts is 100 Watts and neither your cardio-vascular system or your legs would know the difference in a double-blind test. No, a trainer may not turn you into Mark Cavendish or Tony Martin, but for health and fitness? Oh Hells yes...plenty good enough if you put the effort in.

You can stand on a trainer. You can sprint on a trainer. Some of them are set up to simulate climbing. Some of them automatically adjust the required effort to a computer model/program, workout or training plan or go along with a video of a race course or a competition with CG riders on the screen. You can kill it and drill it on a trainer and good workouts will kill the rider.

Then there's the Kurt Kinetic Rock & Roll Trainer (and others like it) that allows almost the full range of motion of the bike moving beneath you.

The next level is rollers with resistance. Real or almost real road feel with the ability to eat a lot of Watts.
 
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Nigel Doyle

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Dec 25, 2013
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I ride my trainer all year round. It's summer here in New Zealand and today's 60 minute interval workout I did inside on my trainer. I do it because I want to maximise my results. Doing interval workouts inside on a trainer using a power meter and in conjunction with Trainerroad makes the best use of my training time. Now tomorrow's 3 hour zone 2 / 3 ride I'll do outside. 3 hours inside on a trainer at modest intensity is very tedious.
 
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Louie Beckham

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“I’ve lost 30 pounds. I don’t feel pain in my knees anymore, and I am able to play golf again, which I couldn’t do when I was running,” he says.
 
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rz3300

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Jan 16, 2016
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I really have to expertise or professional knowledge on the subject, but I would just imagine that something about a stationary bike leaves something out when it comes to health benefits. I am not sure what it would be, but I just have to think that actually riding a bike would be better, maybe something with traction adding pressing or something along those lines. Either way, though, they are surely both great methods of cardio and a good way to get a workout in.
 
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SirJoe

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Mar 8, 2016
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I wouldn't say it's a complete alternative to riding your bike but it will help keep you in shape so that when the weather gets better you won't feel so sluggish on the first few rides. I have one and I only use it when I can't get out onto the road.
 
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Bicycleman

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I have indicated before that I don't like my magnetic trainer, but will get on it if I can't get on the road. I would much rather buy a special spinning bike if there was no other recourse with me having to ride indoors, but these spinning bikes are extremely expensive. You can get a good road bike for the prices they want for spinning bikes.
 
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Uawadall

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Jun 14, 2015
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I bought a set of rollers with resistance a few months ago and they were a good investment. I can now go 45 minutes or so while keeping balance and sweat buckets every time...way more than when I'm on the road. Headphones and rollers are second best to road riding imo.
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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Yeah, to me cooling is the biggest obstacle to serious indoor training. Outside on the bike, the airflow we generate provides a tremendous cooling effect. When I rode a trainer at home, I'd have it out in the unheated garage in winter, or use a big box fan on high with the bike in the house.

The Cybex at my local Y are good heavy-duty trainers, but the cooling fan consists of a small one behind vents on the control panel......about 2x8 cm of outlet area. Nice to provide a little breeze on the face, but not nearly enough to keep the body temp in check during harder workouts.
 
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Weatherby

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Mar 20, 2015
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Easier to do intervals in a more controlled manner on a trainer that is if you have a good fan.
 

GemmaRowlands

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Aug 3, 2015
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You can get the physical benefits I think, but I also think there is a huge psychological benefit of actually cycling outside, which clearly you wouldn't be able to get on an indoor bike. That being said, if there is no way that you can get outside into the country and ride, it is of course the next best thing - and there is no denying that it is safer! So by all means, if you think you're going to use a stationary bike, go for it. Most people will use them for a short time and then throw them to one side, though.
 
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Uawadall

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That's because you've got no air passing over you. Using a fan or multiple fans as I do is essential in my opinion. Even then you'll still sweat more than riding outside with the air flowing over you.

You are correct, I would have thought the winter weather would offer enough cooling. I did sweat, but always felt fine. If I still need it in the spring/summer, a fan will be necessary.
 

pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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I think something else maybe to take into account is that people just simply prefer different ways to train. Cycling on a trainer and cycling outdoors might have the same effects on the body, but people will get a different mental effect.

Take running as an example. Running 2 miles on a treadmill in a gym facing a wall is a lot harder than running 2 miles down a road. It's the same distance but the road running feels a lot more productive even though facts show that they're both just the same.