Looking for an exercise you can do while being home with your children? You want the most effective for your limited time? Easy on your joints? Fat loss and health gain? Indoor cycling fits the bill!
Why Cycling Indoors?
When I started cycling I fell in love with it from the very first day. My first ride was about 60 miles outside in the April spring time of 2006. The sun was shining and it wasn’t cold. I rode with a group of cyclists from Team in Training of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Over the next 8 years I rode exclusively outdoors.
In southern Nevada where I live the temperatures are extreme and the wind tenacious. I never liked riding in the winter months especially if the temperature was below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. I had to layer up and wear gloves. In the extreem cold would wear a hooded top that covered my mouth and nose. I’d have to shove hand warmers in my shoes by my toes to keep them warm. I remember coming in from long and cold rides and it would take an hour to get warm. Then in the summer time with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees by 10 am I would have to start my long 6-7 hour rides preparing for an Ironman triathlon at 3 and 4 am, starting in the dark and hoping cars would see my flashing red butt light.
During this time I had several bike crashes. I was hit by a car, crashed twice when my front tire went flat as I was turning and the worse in May 2015 I crashed in a freak accident that broke my clavicle at the AC joint.
That’s when I decided to ride mostly indoors.
The advantages to riding indoors are no chance of accidents and getting hit by a car. No weather to worry about. You can ride with children around. You can multitask; watch the children, listen to music or watch TV, talk on the phone or surf the internet. Stop and go to the bathroom and refuel much easier. It’s faster too because you don’t have to drive with your bike out of town to start a ride.
The disadvantages are no sunshine and you ride alone most of the time. I’ve actually invited some of my good Ironman and cycling friends to come over and ride indoors although those times are rare. In the summer time I have to blow three fans on me to keep cool; two on the ground, one in front and one in back and the third a ceiling fan. I don’t need the fans in the winter. I ride in my basement turned into an Ironman training gym (see me in photo above). You’ll have to overcome the initial affects of boredom. One last consideration is the space needed to keep your bike set up. In smaller homes it may be a challenge to have to set up and take down the bike and trainer each time you’ll want to use it. If you can keep it up all the time like I do, will save a lot of time and aggravation.
Improved Method of Producing a Training Affect
Most people are not anul like many of my friends and me that are hardcore triathletes who train with power meters and heart rate monitors. Most people are just trying to stay in good shape and feel good. Some use exercise to keep the pounds off. Cycling, either indoors or outdoors, can help you do all of that. It’s not hard on your joints like running or crossfit. Cycling can be used to create stronger legs but your arms and shoulders get a good workout when you peddle standing up!
To ride indoors you’ll need an added piece of equipment to hold your bike and to produce resistance as if you were riding outdoors. Those are referred to as “trainers.” They vary in price. Decent trainers run about $200. The most expensive and advanced trainers used by the pros can run $2,000+.
The beauty of training indoors is the ease of adjusting the intensity level simply by adjusting the trainer or just shifting either up or down the gears on your bike.
You can train aerobically to burn fat and lose weight or train anaerobically to build muscle. Wearing a simple heart rate monitor will keep you at the right intensity for your goals. See the blog on heart rate zones.
You can train to create better stability by cycling with only one leg at a time. You’ll see how much harder it is and it will reveal the stronger and weaker leg.
Like most parents these days raising a family takes some concentrated effort. Many moms choose to forsake exercise because its an added stress of being away from the home. Indoor cycling may be just the answer. Some moms I know cycle early in the morning before their children awake. This works for them better than heading to the gym because you don’t have the commute time and that time savings is just the added push to motivate them to cycle indoors. Many moms I know ride indoors later in the day right before they get their children to bed. Their children can be in the room with them playing or watching a TV program.
You Can Do This
I hope that you take the time for yourself. Your health is important. You can stay healthy and keep the pounds off by just riding indoors 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Your family will appreciate your example and the extra energy you have will bless them too.
Get it done! You’re worth it!