Indoor VS Outdoor Cycling

Indoor cycling can be addictive, especially if you like the feeling of busting calories inside a dark room submerged in booming loud music. Cycling outdoors, however, gives you the feeling of liberty that can only be experienced when you hit the road; a feeling that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Some of the obvious differences… Outdoor:

Outdoor: Riding outside can give you a fast, stress-busting workout that bases itself on the feeling of liberation you get with a gush of wind hitting your face.
Indoor: If you’re short on time, don’t want to think about changing a flat tire and rigors and challenges that come with road biking, and spin cycle might be for you.

How they work differently on your body

Outdoor: When you’re riding outdoors the friction of the road as well the resistance from the wind works extensively on your hip flexors and quadriceps.
Indoor: An indoor bike has a ‘flywheel’ that weighs around 20 kilos, which provides resistance as you pedal and also keeps it moving forward in the same momentum when you stop pedaling. The momentum makes your hamstrings to work harder to slow down the wheel.

They can both give you a great workout

Outdoor: As long as you don’t only stay on cruise-mode throughout the ride your heart rate can be maintained as high or even more than what you can achieve in a cycling class. Additionally, compared to indoor cycling, outdoor cycling needs balance, coordination, and stability, and puts a lot more stress on your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, and calves.
Indoor: The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that a standard cycling class keeps your heart rate 75 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate and can burn anywhere up to 450 to 800 calories. It’s not just the pedaling that attributes to this level of heart rate, the heat built up inside an indoor cycling room, the peer pressure of keeping up with the rest of the class, motivation from your instructor; attribute to big cardiovascular hit.
Indoor cycling class can be invigorating, whereas cycling outdoor can be intensified to whatever level you desire Outdoor: If you’re not competing in a road race, cycling outdoors may seem far easier and more natural. You can, however, take cycling outdoors to the next level by competing or joining a group of more experienced rider and trying to keep up with the group.
Indoor: Using a stationary bike can get boring fast due to the repetitive use of the same muscles, over and over again. The fact that the ride is stationed at one spot can make this activity monotonous. The additional motivation, which is a huge component if your use the stationary bike in a cycling class, such as the pounding music, group atmosphere and motivation from the instructor can help keep urging you on.

Indoor cycling can logically be more convenient, but cycling outdoors might be more adventurous

Outdoor: Dirt, rough weather, difficult terrains, traffic, tire changes and an endless list of events and elements that you could encounter en route can make cycling outdoors quite challenging; challenges that you need to prepare for and even look forward to.
Indoor: When it comes to convenience a stationary bike wins hands down. If you have one installed at home, all you need is to hop on it or just show up at a cycling class in your nearest gym or studio. The challenge here might be literally to fight off the monotony associated with sitting and pedaling endlessly in a spot.

You can tune out and meditate with cycling indoors, while you can you challenge your mind by providing it with stimulation when cycling outdoors

Outdoor: Cycling indoors might be a great way to zone out; the music, the motivation from the instructor as well as the energy of the class might all be very inspiring. The only drawback is the fact that your brain doesn’t end up getting any stimulation from the fresh air and the visuals that you get when riding outdoors in a variable environment. The variety you get from cycling outdoor is good for your mind and body.
Indoor: The beauty of cycling indoors is that you can clear your head out while you’re working your ass off because the repetitive pedaling allows you to zone out. The inspiring music, the mood of the class and the atmosphere can help you get into the Zen mode. Your brain is also challenged by the cues given yours by your instructor.


Although you’re bound to get a great workout regardless of the mode you pick, they both have their pros and cons as mentioned above. The best part is both the activities have very active and strong communities that you can join—so take your pick
Source: healthmeup, May 2017