Is Riding an Exercise Bike as Good as Walking?

Is Riding an Exercise Bike as Good as Walking

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One of the questions I am asked a lot is whether I love indoor cycling. To be honest, there was a time I even questioned the effectiveness of spinning classes.

Not to mention that I didn’t think riding a stationary bike was as effective as walking for long hours. But things change, because, right now, I do have a completely different opinion about indoor cycling. 

If you’re like me, a cyclist who likes to question the value of any cycling workout, you may have asked yourself whether riding an exercise bike is as good as walking. The short answer is yes, riding a stationary exercise bike is as good as walking outdoors for long hours. 

Leaving it at that would be an understatement, though. So let’s look at some of the reasons why it makes a lot of sense to use a stationary bike. You’ll learn: 

  • What an indoor exercise bike is
  • How exercise bikes work
  • How it compares with outdoor cycling  
  • And the physical benefits of exercise bike 

Without further ado, let’s get to it. 

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What’s an Indoor Exercise Bike?

An exercise bike, also known as a stationary bike, is an exercise machine built to look almost like a regular bike, but it’s purposefully for indoor use. The basic structure of an exercise bike includes a saddle, pedals, and handlebars. 

Every indoor exercise bike, or at least the ones we’ve reviewed here, has some form of tension resistance, which allows you to level the intensity of an exercise up or down. Moreover, some models include computer consoles, which let you track your workout in real time.

Exercise bikes have become a lot more popular these days thanks to their benefits and convenience. From a performance perspective, they provide a way for you to burn more calories and get rid of body fat while building muscles and improving your heart’s health. 

How Does an Exercise Bike Work?

At a first glance, it’s possible to assume that an exercise bike is the same as a regular bike, only it stays in one position. If you take a closer look, though, you’ll notice that the bike actually has its own kind of a design. Not to mention that it works differently. 

From what I understand, a large percentage of stationary bikes feature a mechanism that provides some level of resistance. Some models feature magnetic resistance. Some increase resistance via friction. Yet for others, like the Marcy Upright Fan Bike, the resistance comes from a fan-based technology. 

More often than not, you increase or lower the resistance by turning a dial on the bike. For other bikes, the resistance actually increases as you pedal the bike. Applying more resistance to the bike increases the intensity of an exercise, allowing you to burn more calories and build muscles faster than you would if you chose walking as your regular form of exercise. 

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cycling

Up until this point, you’ve learned what an exercise bike is, how it works, and, in a nutshell, why it’s as good as walking. 

We’ll get to the benefits part in a bit. 

Before that, you probably may be interested in knowing the difference between indoor and outdoor cycling. If that’s the case, you can check this post to learn more. With that out of the way, let’s look at the physical benefits of riding an exercise bike. 

The Physical Benefits of Stationary Exercise Bikes

I want to make one thing very clear before we get to the physical benefits of riding a stationary exercise bike: 

Riding an exercise bike isn’t as good as walking. It’s better. Compared to walking, indoor cycling, especially with a good level of resistance, works your lower and upper body. This allows you to burn calories, shed pounds, and build muscles a lot faster than you would if you chose to walk instead. 

With that in mind, below are some of the benefits of riding an exercise bike. 

1. Riding an Exercise Bike Help You Lose Weight

If you do a simple search on how to lose weight, you’ll be overwhelmed by just how many options you find. 

There are simply far too many ways to lose weight and get to shape. Luckily, cycling is one of the techniques that can help you get into shape. Even the diet doctor recommends it as one of the methods you can use to burn more calories, lose weight, and build muscles. 

Compared to walking, where you burn only 120 calories per mile, riding a stationary bike for at least 30 minutes can burn up to 200 calories. This number can even be as high as 300 calories, maybe even more, depending on the bike’s resistance. 

2. Exercise Bikes are Easy on the Joint

Exercises like jogging, running, and walking are all good. They can help you burn calories, build muscles, and get fit. 

However, they can also be hard on your joint. After all, you’re hitting the ground hard with your feet, and sometimes the impact is going to be too immense for your feet to handle. Even if you were to walk, jog, or run in the best pair of cross training shoes, you’d still feel the impact anyway. 

Riding an exercise bike is different. It’s a good way to get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your ankles, back, and hips. Given that you even burn more calories than you would when you walk, according to this study, it’s easy to see why using an exercise bike is a better alternative to walking in the first place. 

3. Riding an Exercise Bike Can Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Walking isn’t the only exercise that can improve your cardiovascular health. Even riding on an exercise bike can enhance blood circulation in your veins, thus ensuring your muscles get the right supply of nutrients and oxygen. 

The more improved your cardiovascular health, the less you’ll have to worry about problems like lower back pain. And if you have soft tissue problems, they’ll start to go away a lot faster than you could possibly imagine.

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