New Options for Cycling at Home Offer Key Benefits

Share Article

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Provides Tips for Getting the Most Out of Indoor Cycling.

Dr. Kevin Plancher

A stationary bike offers many benefits. It gets the heart pumping without putting undue stress on the joints. And an indoor bike can be used in any weather, by novice and experienced exercisers and at varying levels of time and intensity.

The benefits of regular physical exercise are well known: improved health, improved energy and mood, better sleep, and weight control. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every adult should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise. For decades, one of the most popular ways of exercising was on a stationary bike, either at home or at the gym. “A stationary bike offers many benefits,” says Dr. Kevin Plancher of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “It gets the heart pumping without putting undue stress on the joints. And an indoor bike can be used in any weather, by novice and experienced exercisers and at varying levels of time and intensity.”

But for all their benefits, many exercise bikes bought for home use wind up as expensive clothes racks or dust collectors in the basement or attic. Why does motivation seem to flag after just a few months? “One reason is boredom,” says Dr. Plancher. “Even watching TV or listening to music or a podcast while on the bike doesn't seem to be enough to keep a lot of people at it.” One attempt to address this problem is with spin classes offered at gyms. These programs use bikes that evolved from the stationary bike to more closely resemble a road bike and offer the camaraderie and competition of working out with a group. But, as Dr. Plancher points out, what is sacrificed is the freedom and convenience of working out at home on your own schedule.

New options now make it possible to combine the comfort and convenience of working out at home with quality hardware, expert instruction, metrics, and more classes and instructors than any gym could offer. One of the companies in this new market, Peloton Interactive, Inc., manufactures a “smart bike,” which has a high-definition monitor attached to the handlebars. It uses home wi-fi to stream live classes from Peloton's studio and to provide an archive of thousands of past classes of every type, letting you choose from a wide variety of rides, instructors, and soundtracks. The system tracks your performance and compares your current ride to your personal best so you can push yourself to set new personal records. You can also compete against others who have done the rides you choose and review user ratings of instructors and rides. If you participate in a live ride, the instructor sees your metrics and can address you as if you were in the room. “This system incorporates all the performance and motivation factors of indoor cycling in the gym with the convenience of working out at home,” says Dr. Plancher. “This is an important new trend that represents the next generation of exercise technology, one that can potentially transform the landscape for home fitness.”

Tips for getting the most from your cycling workout
However you ride – on an upright stationary bike, a recumbent bike, or a new smart bike – Dr. Plancher offers tips to help you get the most from your cycling workout:

  • Before you buy a bike, do your homework: Consider what kind of bike you want and factors like how much room you have and how much you want to spend.
  • Have an expert ensure that you're buying a bike that fits you properly – seat height, distance from pedals and handlebars, etc.
  • Make sure you understand how to safely adjust intensity and other options. Start slowly and increase the intensity of your ride gradually.
  • The bike seat shouldn't be uncomfortable. Try padded shorts or a gel seat to improve comfort. Sit lightly on the seat.
  • If you're not using one of the newer smart bikes that provide streaming and archived classes, look into buying or renting cycling videos that have a variety of rides and changes of scenery.
  • Consider cross training with another activity once or twice a week to build up endurance in different muscles and prevent overuse injuries.

“The most important factor in a successful fitness program is finding the one that is right for you,” says Dr. Plancher. “Indoor cycling has worked for millions of people and new advances make it even more appealing. But the program that works for you will be the one that suits your personality, fitness level, and lifestyle and that you will enjoy and stick with.”

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a general orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT. http://www.plancherortho.com

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Melissa Chefec
MCPR, LLC
+1 (203) 968-6625
Email >
Visit website