Almost everyone has ridden a bike at some point in their lives. If you’re a cycling enthusiast or an elite athlete, you’ve probably used it for intense workouts and training. The health-conscious are more concerned with maintaining a healthy weight while keeping their bodies toned.
That begs the question: Which gives you a better workout, regular bikes or stationary ones? There’s not a lot of difference between the two. Stationary bikes have a saddle and handlebars that are supposed to resemble a real bicycle, along with the pedals. Instead of actually traveling while you pedal, a stationary bike remains in place, spinning a flywheel that often has varying degrees of resistance.
Stationary bikes have the benefit of an easy setup. They can also be used anywhere in your home, unlike a real bike. If you don’t want to go outdoors due to safety or if the weather won’t permit a bike ride, the stationary bike will always be at your side.
In addition to that, stationary bikes serve as a great workout for your legs, thighs, and glutes, and most machines have various difficulty settings that can make for an intense exercise session.
The main downside of a stationary bike is the lack of upper body engagment. With a real bike, you have to steer it to control its direction. You’re using your arms, back, and core to balance and maneuver the bike on different terrains. With stationary bikes, it can take longer to tone up and feel the impact that riding a regular bicycle offers.
Stationary bikes mean exercising in the same setting every time, which could become boring, causing you to be more inclined to give up on your workouts. Real bicycles offer a change of scenery and a different riding experience each time you go out.
There’s also cost to consider. Unlike a real bike, stationary bikes are low maintenance. However, the upfront cost can be pretty expensive, with the cheaper ones costing around $250. The higher quality ones with extra features can go for $1,200.
Real bikes also encourage you to be more social. Many people find bike riding with their friends and family an enjoyable activity. With a stationary bike, its just you by yourself.
With all of this in mind, which one is better? The answer depends entirely on what you’re trying to get out of your workout.
If you want to use all of the muscles in your body in your workout while having the added scenery of the outdoors, go for a real bike. If you want a reliable, consistent means of working out your lower body and don’t mind the extra cost, choose a stationary bike.