What Are The Benefits Of Riding A Stationary / Exercise Bike?

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By Robbie Ferri CPT

CPT & Indoor Cycling Instructor

When it comes to exercise you have a huge amount of choices. You could go running, strength training, rowing, or even climbing. One of the most popular forms of exercise that is rapidly growing is indoor cycling. With the rise of the Peloton and other excellent exercise bikes, they have become all the rage. 

As an indoor cycling instructor and someone lucky enough to own many indoor bikes, I ride many times a week. It’s a huge amount of fun and something I feel that has become a big part of my weekly routine. 

What many people don’t know is that riding a stationary bike comes with many benefits, much more than you might think. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about indoor cycling and why you should consider riding!

  • What Is A Stationary Bike?
  • The Benefits Of Riding A Stationary Bike
  • How To Get Started Cycling Indoors
My video on the benefits of exercise bikes on YouTube.

What Is A Stationary Bike?

A stationary bike, commonly known as an exercise bike, is a device you sit on so you can cycle indoors. In the past few decades, exercise bikes have come a long way. We no longer use old-school bikes, which are covered in rust and make a ton of noise. 

In modern times, exercise bikes are slick machines. They come in all different shapes and sizes, from spin to recumbent bikes. Some are so advanced that they have giant screens on the front and motors to simulate inclines and declines. 

You can even go into online spinning classes where the instructor can change your resistance and interact with you. Two of the most incredible bikes you come across are the Peloton and NordicTrack S27i. They are all singing and all dancing machines that offer some of the best indoor cycling experiences possible. 

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Different Types Of Stationary Bikes

Stationary bikes come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are designed for spinning, others for light warm-ups and cool-downs, and some even for rehabilitation. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Indoor Cycle or Spin Bike: Made for spinning classes. These are aggressive in position and designed for high-intensity classes with lots of dynamic movement. 
  • Upright or Exercise Bike: Typically, an upright bike is generally used for just sitting. They are seen in many gyms and are often used for warm-ups, cool-downs, and light cardio sessions.
  • Recumbent Bike: A recumbent bike is where you lie down with the pedals in front of you instead of sitting on a typical bike seat. Great for less mobile people or rehabilitation.
  • Air Bike: Instead of a flywheel, an air bike has a fan that generates the resistance. These are often used in CrossFit gyms and designed for high-intensity sessions. 
  • Elliptical Bikes: These bikes use not only your lower body but also the upper body, like an elliptical machine. They are very rare and not often seen in gyms or homes. The most popular example is the Teeter Freestep bike.
robbie riding a stationary bike

The Benefits Of Riding A Stationary Bike

As mentioned before, riding a stationary bike indoors comes with a huge amount of benefits. Here’s why I highly recommend it to anyone. 

1. Improves Cardiovascular Function

The cardiovascular system is the process of the body sending nutrients to the muscles and vital organs and removing byproducts. Indoor cycling is one of the most popular forms of cardio, and the more you do it, the lower your heart rate will get and the more efficient your body becomes. 

Having a better cardiovascular system will make you fitter and is valuable in day-to-day life. It becomes easier to get upstairs, walking will take less effort, and you will find that you won’t get out of breath as much.

2. Muscular Strength And Coordination

Indoor cycling works many muscles, and the more you push yourself and overload those muscles, the stronger you will become after the recovery. You will see yourself become stronger and, in turn, will be able to cycle faster. 

Not only do you become stronger, but you also get much better muscle activation and coordination. This means you get a better mind-muscle connection and can recruit more motor units.

robbie doing cardio workout on an exercise bike

3. Weight Management 

Riding a stationary bike is excellent for burning calories. You can burn between 300 and 900 in an hour. The key to losing weight is getting in a calorie deficit, and indoor cycling regularly can burn enough calories to put you there alongside a good diet.

You can also help speed up your metabolism by regular training, which means you naturally burn more calories in general life and recovery, and that goes a long way to helping you along your weight loss goals if that’s the route you are going down.

4. Low Impact On The Joints

Riding a stationary bike is one of the best exercise methods because it’s very low impact. Unlike running or weight training, it puts very little load on the joints. Sports like running can be very testing on the joints, and there’s a limit to how much it can be done.

Indoor cycling is fantastic for people in rehabilitation. With the load being very adjustable and the motion smooth with little impact, it’s beneficial to blood flow and can help lubricate joints over time.

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5. Stress Reduction And Better Moods

Riding an exercise bike is great, and one of the best reasons is that it makes you happy and helps reduce stress. This is one of the biggest reasons we see people get a bike and start cycling. Riding an indoor bike helps release dopamine and will do wonders to lift your mood. 

I personally look forward to my time on the bike. There are very few bad moods that can’t be fixed within an hour, challenging yourself and having the time to clear your mind. If you need to increase your productivity at work, try indoor cycling beforehand.

6. Muscle Toning

If you want to get leaner, indoor cycling cannot only help burn calories but also help you build and tone muscles. The harder your work, the more you can overload the muscles, and they adapt and grow bigger and more toned. 

Many people think indoor cycling just works the legs, but you are also working the core, arms, and even your back heavily. It will make a big difference, but it must be combined with a good diet for the best results. 

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7. Constant Challenges

Another big benefit of riding a stationary bike is that it can constantly challenge you. You could be a complete beginner or a pro cyclist and still find the right resistance to test yourself and have a great workout. 

As you get fitter, you can dial the resistance up and keep pushing yourself further, making yourself fitter and fitter. It’s important to keep pushing to the next level and ensure that you are progressing over time. 

8. It Can Be Done Alone Or In Groups

Riding stationary bikes doesn’t have to be a lonely affair. There are classes everywhere where you can join others and enjoy the experience and benefits of being in a group. They are often called spin or indoor cycling classes and are often held at gyms or spinning studios. 

Being in a group can help push and motivate you, or it could be a nice break from doing it alone and getting bored. As an indoor cycling instructor myself, I highly recommend trying a class once. You will have an amazing time!

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9. It Offers A Lot Of Variety

Riding an exercise bike actually offers much more variety than you might think. Not only do you have many different resistances, but you have cadence to play with and even different positions, such as sitting, standing, and aero. 

There’s a huge number of indoor cycling applications for you to enjoy, such as iFit, Peloton, and JRNY. These offer live and recorded classes, scenic rides, and even proper testing programs to spice up your workouts. 

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How To Get Started Cycling Indoors

If you want to get started cycling indoors, you have plenty of options to choose from. It’s such an accessible sport, and bringing yourself into the community couldn’t be easier. Here’s how I would start.

Get In A Class

The first way is to attend a class and understand what to expect. Not only will you be able to start by having instructions, but you will be able to see other rider’s techniques and learn the basics correctly from experienced indoor cyclists.

You also get the advantage of having an instructor there to run through a workout for you, set up your bike before the class, and answer any questions you might have, no matter how silly they might sound in your head. 

Order A Bike For Home

The other route you can go down is just going out and buying a bike and learning independently. The Girl Bike Love website offers a huge amount of articles and videos that can teach you everything you need to know.

You would be surprised at how easy spinning bikes are to build and set up when you have the right information from Girl Bike Love. Bikes range anywhere from $100 to $3000. When it comes to indoor bikes, you get what you pay for. Spending a little more can go a long way.

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Maximizing The Impact

If you want to make the most out of a workout, here are my top tips for fast progress. 

Work Hard

If you want to make changes quickly, you have to work hard. High heart rates and challenging high-power sessions will push your body to the limit. The progress will plateau if you jump on the bike and never challenge yourself.


It’s really common when people start indoor cycling, they get a little too involved and it becomes a daily routine. Although you will make progress this way, it’s important to rest and give your body time to recover. Two days of rest a week is important. 


Good workouts combined with a great diet will make the biggest impact. A rich protein diet with the correct amount of calories is going to give you a performance boost and maximize recovery.

Indoor Cycling Safety

Safety will always be the most important part of any workout. Here’s our top safety tips when it comes to cycling indoors.

  • Clothing – Always wear the correct sports clothing.
  • Fit – Ensure the bike is set up correctly to avoid injury.
  • Environment – Ensure the bike is in a good place where nothing will affect its operation.
  • Nutrition – Stay hydrated and ensure you have enough energy for the session.

A Final Note

The benefits of riding an indoor bike are huge and well worth taking advantage of. There’s a reason why indoor bikes are incredibly popular, and year after year, many more get made and are flying off the shelves. We hope you enjoyed our article and are not ready to start your indoor cycling journey.

Robbie Ferri CPT

Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.

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