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



Mar 28, 2016
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I'm a huge fan of indoor riding. Numerous benefits such as good for bad weather days, less to clean up, can be a time saver, safer at night, better for structured intervals, etc. I seem to get a great leg workout. You can just concentrate on pushing the pedals. Great for benefits in FTP. However whenever I go for several weeks without riding outside, I always suffer for a ride or two. That tells me there's something about outdoors you can't replicate inside.
 

Jcycle

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May 14, 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.

I can see why you might make the mistake of calling it simulated exertion, but it isn't. The exertion is very real and that matters.
 

Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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I can see why you might make the mistake of calling it simulated exertion, but it isn't. The exertion is very real and that matters.

Why is it a mistake in my calling it a simulated exertion? Maybe because the exertion is real with the stationary bike since you use brute force just like what you use in a moving bike? You are right on that. What I meant with simulated exertion is when you are using the stationary bike like you are riding on a moving bike - the movement is simulated. Perhaps my term of simulated exertion is wrong English?
 

bykster

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Nov 11, 2015
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Why is it a mistake in my calling it a simulated exertion? Maybe because the exertion is real with the stationary bike since you use brute force just like what you use in a moving bike? You are right on that. What I meant with simulated exertion is when you are using the stationary bike like you are riding on a moving bike - the movement is simulated. Perhaps my term of simulated exertion is wrong English?
Exertion indicates a physical use of energy which you do get from a stationary bike. The only thing that's simulated is movement, but then again, it's called a stationary bike so it's kinda expected. On topic though, I'm pretty sure the effects are pretty much the same although I was never too much of a stationary bike rider.
 
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pwarbi

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Mar 18, 2015
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Whatever the terminology, we're all going to prefer different ways and while some prefer riding out in the open like myself, I'm sure there are others that are more than happy on a stationary bike instead.

I like cycling because I like being out in the fresh air and being able to explore different areas of the country, I'm not necessarily focused on the fitness side of things.
 
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Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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Whatever the terminology, we're all going to prefer different ways and while some prefer riding out in the open like myself, I'm sure there are others that are more than happy on a stationary bike instead.

I like cycling because I like being out in the fresh air and being able to explore different areas of the country, I'm not necessarily focused on the fitness side of things.

Like you, the fresh air, so to speak, is also my main objective in riding. I love to see the sights on the road although I see it everyday. Isn't it nice to wave back to people who greet you with a wave? Welll, neighbors do that whenever they see me on the road. But with the fresh air, I really cannot speak of it because of the lots of vehicles even on the main road inside our village. I can feel the congestion in a crowded town and probably the fresh air we are talking about can only be availed in the rural areas.
 
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pwarbi

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Like you, the fresh air, so to speak, is also my main objective in riding. I love to see the sights on the road although I see it everyday. Isn't it nice to wave back to people who greet you with a wave? Welll, neighbors do that whenever they see me on the road. But with the fresh air, I really cannot speak of it because of the lots of vehicles even on the main road inside our village. I can feel the congestion in a crowded town and probably the fresh air we are talking about can only be availed in the rural areas.

As you say, cycling in a rural area is totally different from an urban commute. In a city or town we might ride past the same people everyday but because we're all in so much of a rush to get where we're going, we hardly even notice, nevermind actually stop and speak to them.
 

Gombafej

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Apr 16, 2016
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No, I dont think you can get the same benefits. Riding in the wild requires much more muscle and stabilization muscle work than just a stationary bike.
 

jimmy484

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Stationary bike training has a lot of crossover to real-world cycling, but it isn't a perfect crossover. That said, most top-level cyclists are using to achieve some pretty specific adaptations, so it's not a problem for them. Obviously, indoor riding should never become a total replacement for outdoors conventional cycling, but as far as it goes, there's nothing wrong with it.
 

Oyed

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I think not...there are a lot more happening when you are riding and training with your bike outside like the wind resistance, ground wheel contact, etc.
 

pwarbi

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They're both beneficial when it comes to your health, and at the end of the day both outdoor cycling and indoor cycling machines are going to aid in a fitness regime.

This being a cycling forum I'd imagine that real world cycling so to speak, is bound to be the most popular and that appears to be the case with the posts I've read on the thread up to now.
 

Djordje87

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Nov 12, 2015
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Never, of course. You can split this into health benefits and just physical ones like stamina and power to ride. For health it is I believe more important to ride a normal bike because of the lungs and your heart. It is not normal to ride inside of your home when you can go on some hill or whatever. As for the physical part, again it is not possible because the resistance of your weight on the earth is omitted and probably several other thing that I know nothing about.
 

Jcycle

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Never, of course. You can split this into health benefits and just physical ones like stamina and power to ride. For health it is I believe more important to ride a normal bike because of the lungs and your heart. It is not normal to ride inside of your home when you can go on some hill or whatever. As for the physical part, again it is not possible because the resistance of your weight on the earth is omitted and probably several other thing that I know nothing about.

You clearly don't understand the equipment. You actually can achieve similar and in some cases better health benefits. Modern indoor cycles have a range of options available give you the same or better level of resistance and difficulty. Being outside isn't nessacary to provide a cardio workout.
 

eduguy

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Apr 18, 2016
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I don't think so. It's probably better than nothing, but I don't think you get the same level of health benefits. On an exercise bike, the only thing you're exercising are your legs, and not even as much as a real bike. You don't need to move your arms to turn, or use legs/arms to absorb bumps in the road. You're also not getting varying terrain. I think it's healthier to actually be outside as well. Of course, all of this is all only my own opinion.
 

Jcycle

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I don't think so. It's probably better than nothing, but I don't think you get the same level of health benefits. On an exercise bike, the only thing you're exercising are your legs, and not even as much as a real bike. You don't need to move your arms to turn, or use legs/arms to absorb bumps in the road. You're also not getting varying terrain. I think it's healthier to actually be outside as well. Of course, all of this is all only my own opinion.

Yep, totally your opinion and not supported by fact either. Modern exercise bikes provide the same or even more level of resistance as most people can get outside. Resistance and other settings are programmable on and can be quite difficult as well as varied. The primary muscle exercised by cycling other than the ones in your legs is your heart, and you certainly can achieve equal benefit from indoor cycling. Absorbing shock isn't really an exercise or necessarily good for the body so I don't see why you think that is a benefit.
 

OursIsTheFury

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I have a stationary bike at home, and from what I have experienced, I think it is even BETTER at some aspects than an actual bike. For starters, I never have to worry about getting ran over by vehicles when I'm using the stationary bike. I exert as much effort, but with zero safety concerns. The negative side is that you don't get as much fresh air, as well as an appreciation to the surroundings. You'll just be focusing on pedaling, so it's not as relaxing as a cruise through the city.
 

Jcycle

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I use a stationary at my local YMCA almost daily. It has multiple fitness programs and a television built in. You can watch TV or use training videos, or just look at your progress and a map of the elevation changes being simulated with resistance increases and decreases. If you choose you can have an incredibly intense workout or an easy one. The benefits on either side are more environmental than anything. Anybody that thinks an indoor cycle is automatically going to provide an inferior workout by virtue of being indoors or stationary doesn't really understand how things work. I used to think they were a joke, I had always been the type to get out on a mountain bike in rough terrain with intense climbs and drops. I got older, had multiple surgeries on my leg for a problem unrelated to cycling, and an indoor cycle was my best option for recovery. I learned that I had been wrong about my attitude towards stationary bikes pretty quick. I get my benefit from a cardio workout on an indoor cycle and my leg strength built back up fairly quickly.
 

erook7878

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In terms of the cardio, you certainly can get similar health benefits from riding a stationary bike. What you are missing is the fresh air and all the positive hormonal effects of being outside and getting some sun. And of course it's far more fun and exciting riding with a changing environment instead of just riding on a stationary bike and going nowhere.
 

Jcycle

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In terms of the cardio, you certainly can get similar health benefits from riding a stationary bike. What you are missing is the fresh air and all the positive hormonal effects of being outside and getting some sun. And of course it's far more fun and exciting riding with a changing environment instead of just riding on a stationary bike and going nowhere.

Not everybody worships the sun you know. It might surprise you to find that many of us don't care for bright days very much.
 

ballyhara

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Feb 3, 2018
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Maybe you can keep the health benefits, but you won't improve your resistance in the same way. At least that's my humble opinion. Specially if you have a route/road, with all the tracks you already know as challenging. Stationary for only certain days like rainy ones, or when your bike is under repair, that's good. But as long as you can hit the road, for sure you will note the difference.