If you’re weighing up your workout options you can’t look past pedal power. Not only does it build aerobic fitness and burn calories, it doesn’t put any stress on your joints. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that cycling has now become one of the top fitness activities for regular exercisers – research shows its popularity now out-ranks running and swimming.
But joining the pack of cycle fans isn’t as clear cut you might think. Before you jump on a bike you need to choose what type, and where you’ll ride it – indoors or out?
Sarah Ostergaard is regular road cyclist who can also be frequently found center stage presenting in an indoor cycling studio. She knows first-hand about the pros and cons of pedalling inside and out.
“When it comes to feeling the freedom of the outdoors, nothing beats road cycling,” says Sarah. “Riding outdoors you can take in the scenery with the wind in your hair, feel the exhilaration of riding fast down hills, and enjoy the sense of achievement that comes when you reach the top of a big hill climb.” It’s also a great competitive outlet. “I love chasing down the rider in front of me, whether it’s on the climb or the flat.”
While riding outdoors typically provides great endurance training, there are a few downsides. “Crashing, cars and the weather – these three things are every road cyclist’s nightmare… and don’t get me started on the wind!”
In contrast, Sarah says indoor cycling can be a safer, more time efficient way to build fitness.
“An indoor cycling class is short, sharp and more focused, so you get a solid workout in a short space of time.” Sarah explains that indoor cycling is a great setting for beginners to develop pedal technique and there’s plenty of opportunity to focus on everything from building speed to power and strength. She adds that the great thing about indoor cycling is that there are different cycle classes that offer different experiences and different benefits.
If you want to find out what workout’s best for you this video might help you on your way.