If you haven’t cottoned on to the power of pedaling you’re missing out. Indoor cycling is a fitness fundamental that's fast evolving with technological innovations and new levels of inspiration. Here are six of our favorite science-backed reasons to give cycling a spin.

1. Cycling is an enjoyable way to kick-start a fitness regime

With pumping music, motivating instructors and tested programming, indoor cycling has proven to be a particularly effective way to get hooked on exercise. This was highlighted by an eight-week study where exercise newbies eased into exercise with three RPM™ indoor cycle classes a week – and the vast majority didn’t miss a single workout! Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, says the 95 percent compliance rate is almost unheard of for a fitness trial: “It speaks volumes about the enjoyable nature of the workout and its positive effects.”

2. Cycling gets you fit, fast

Powering through just three cycle workouts a week can do wonders for your fitness. Research shows after just eight weeks of regular cycle workouts exercisers can enjoy improved cardio fitness, reduced body fat, and decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels. According to researchers, it's varying levels of intensity within the cycle workout are an important factor in maximizing muscle adaptations and producing comprehensive health benefits.

Workouts such as RPM are based on the science of Cardio Peak Training, which combines the cardio endurance of steady-state training and the transformative fat-burning benefits of high-intensity interval training. The workout is structured to maintain your heart rate at an aerobic training base, between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, interspersed with peaks of intensity pushing you to 85 to 90 percent of your max.

RPM is an effective indoor cycle workout

3. High-intensity interval cycling gets you even fitter

There are plenty of studies highlighting how high-intensity interval training drives muscle activation and fat-burning capacity. But most of these studies are based on conventional weight-bearing HIIT exercises such as burpees, squat jumps and lunges. The exception is an interesting study detailing how high-intensity interval cycling can be a great low-impact way to enjoy the transformative results of HIIT. Study participants added just two 30-minute LES MILLS SPRINT™ workouts to their weekly regime and significantly improved cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness. They also reduced body fat mass and blood pressure, while enhancing glucose tolerance and strength.

4. Cycling cuts fat from your waistline

Regular cycling doesn’t just result in toned and shapely legs, it can be a great way to reduce your waistline too. A study showed that in just eight weeks, exercisers doing RPM three times a week managed to cut an average of three centimeters from their waistline, and they also reduced their body fat by 13.6 percent. This is important as is it often dangerous visceral fat that is stored around your middle, and a disproportionately large waistline is an indicator of several serious health risks.

5. Cycling helps your mental health

Jumping on a bike is shown to be one of the best ways to beat stress, depression and poor mental health. Over a three-year study, 1.2 million adults recorded their physical activity, and how many days they experienced any stress, depression, or other emotional issues. Researchers concluded that cycling was the second most beneficial when it came to emotional wellness. (It was team sports that came out on top.)

6. Cycling can slow – and even reverse – the aging process

Forget pills and potions, research indicates that pedal power could be the perfect youth elixir. In a study of 125 amateur cyclists, researchers found they maintained consistent levels of muscle mass and strength, and stable amounts of body fat and cholesterol, as they aged. The cyclists reduced the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and their production of disease-combating T-cells was still functioning as well as much younger people. There is even evidence that cycling can reverse the aging process and shave up to 20 years off your biological age! Find out the magic formula to make it happen.

LES MILLS SPRINT a HIIT cycle workout

Tap into the power of pedaling today and you can be confident that this training trend will take you into the future. Gamified fitness, customization, leaderboards, virtual worlds … the tech adoption in the cycle space is advancing at pace. Already, immersive workouts like THE TRIP™ are using virtual worlds and augmented reality to push your training into new realms – and research shows it works, pushing you to work out harder and enjoy it more.

You can enjoy the many and varied benefits of indoor cycling by trying LES MILLS SPRINT, RPM or THE TRIP.


Also in Fit Planet