Are home exercise bikes the best way to be active during COVID?

Published: March 9, 2021

Are home exercise bikes the best way to be active during Covid?

There’s no denying that coronavirus-related restrictions such as social distancing and lockdown have had a profound effect on our exercise habits. A Sport England survey into people’s activity levels between mid-March and mid-May 2020 found that almost 12 million adults1 were inactive, which is 7.4% more than before the pandemic.

With people looking for new ways to get active, it’s no wonder sales of indoor exercise bikes were up 171%2 in the US in March 2020, and there’s no reason to suggest the increased interest in at-home indoor exercise bikes brought about by the covid pandemic is going anywhere soon. After all, indoor exercise bike benefits include the ease-of-use, time-efficiency, and effectiveness.

How important is it to stay active during lockdown?

Even before Covid made our lives more sedentary, long-term inactivity was blamed for no less than one in six3 UK deaths (100,000 a year) and five million4 globally. That’s why an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ5) in March 2020 recommended that home-based exercise (such as on a home exercise bike) become an essential part of self-isolation guidelines.

No less than 62%6 of adults in England agreed, reporting that they think exercise is more important now than before the crisis began, 65% said that their lockdown fitness helped with their mental health, and the most popular new exercise habits were walking, cycling, and home workouts. Which neatly brings us on to an at-home fitness option that combines the latter two: indoor exercise bikes.

Why use an indoor exercise bike?

An indoor exercise bike gives you the benefits of traditional cycling but from the comfort of your own home. Before we look at the positive changes home exercise bikes can bring to your health and wellbeing, let’s see why they’re fast becoming the go-to choice for at-home workouts.

Ease of use

Using an indoor exercise bike isn’t as easy as riding a bike – it’s even easier. Finding your balance isn’t an issue as indoor exercise bikes are free standing so won’t fall over. Plus, they’re so convenient: You simply jump on and work out whenever you feel like it any time day or night. You can even keep an eye on your kids while you’re training, and there’s no need to buy the latest fitness apparel, as no one outside your immediate household will see you.

Safety first

Unlike cycling outdoors, there’s no need to wait for the right weather conditions or purchase lights, a helmet, and reflective kit so you’ll be safe and seen in the dark. Riding an indoor exercise bike is also a pleasingly traffic-free fitness solution. Queuing at the lights, avoiding distracted pedestrians, and exposure to exhaust fumes will all be a distant memory as you take to the saddle at home.

Space-saving

When it comes to at-home fitness machines, indoor exercise bikes don’t take up as much floor space as other popular options such as treadmills and rowing machines. This makes them the perfect choice if you’re short on space at home or want a piece of kit that can be moved from room to room as and when needed.

Benefits of training on an indoor exercise bike at home
Fitness boost

Working out on a home exercise bike will get your heart pumping and provide a boost to your cardiovascular fitness and overall strength. The increased heart rate from the continuous pedalling can improve circulation and strengthen your lungs, which can help lower your blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, and boost your immune system. The resistance offered by stationary bikes will also strengthen and tone your legs (inc. calves, quads, and hamstrings), core, and glutes.

Weight loss

The high intensity nature of home exercise bike workouts makes them an excellent choice if weight loss is your health goal. The combination of calories burned – it’s possible to burn up to 6007 calories an hour on an exercise bike – and strength gained can help with fat loss. In fact, one study8 found that, combined with a low-calorie diet, cycling indoors can reduce body weight, body fat, and lower cholesterol.

Feel-good factor

Indoor workouts such as on a home exercise bike help your body produce serotonin and dopamine. Studies9 have shown that these feel-good chemicals can boost your mood, relieve anxiety, and give you a helping hand when dealing with stress. That’s not all – regular indoor cycling sessions can go a long way towards improving your concentration and memory10.

Low-impact workout

Some repetitive exercises, such as running, can take a toll on your joints and increase the likelihood of wear and tear on your knees and hips. A home exercise bike, by contrast, is non-weight bearing and low impact, which reduces the pressure on your joints and decreases the risk of injury. That’s why they’re a good option for people with joint pain or age-related stiffness11.

Overall health

Developing a regular indoor cycling habit can lead to numerous improvements to your health. This includes lowering your LDL cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease, raising12 the good type of cholesterol (HDL), and improving your intolerance to glucose, which can lower13 your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Will you still need a home exercise bike after lockdown?

The enforced constraints of lockdown present the ideal conditions to kick-start new healthy habits as research14 has shown that it takes just 66 days to form a new habit by repeating a behaviour within a consistent context.

So any new behavioural changes and healthy habits you introduce now will be yours to enjoy for many years to come. After all, lockdown is a moment in time. The benefits of indoor exercise bikes are timeless.

What is the best home exercise bike?

Want to see results with just three nine-minute sessions a week? We’d like to introduce you to CAROL, an AI-powered home exercise bike that is generations ahead of any other bike. Try it for eight weeks and you will see results. Start your relationship with CAROL during lockdown and let it blossom for years to come. You can find out more here.

References

(1) https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/data/active-lives

(2) https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/blog/2020/a-new-cycling-culture/

(3) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health

(4) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61031-9/fulltext

(5) https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/03/16/covid-19-home-based-exercise-activities-could-help-during-self-isolation/

(6) https://www.sportengland.org/news/new-exercise-habits-forming-during-coronavirus-crisis#:~:text=Unsurprisingly%2C%20the%20restri

(7) https://www.healthline.com/health/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories

(8) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20585735/

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3567313/

(10) https://www.indoorcyclingassociation.com/the-mental-and-emotional-benefits-of-indoor-cycling/

(11) https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-top-5-benefits-of-cycling

(12) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/cycle-your-way-to-better-health/art-20270194

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942105/

(14) https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2009/aug/how-long-does-it-take-form-habit