Cycling Outdoors Vs. Cycling Indoors: Which is Better?

If you are considering to follow a good Cycling regime, the first dilemma you face is whether to go outdoors or stay indoors.

Well, this is widely debated topic and there’s no definitive answer for this as this is purely subjective.

This also depends on what you are trying to accomplish, are you training for cycling race or a marathon or want a great aerobic workout to burn a decent amount of calories.

Cycling Outdoors Vs. Cycling Indoors

However, in this post, I’ll try to break down the advantages and disadvantages of both indoor cycling and outdoors and break through the noise. I’ll let you know which suits best for you.

I’ve explained the aspects you may need to consider while choosing between cycling outdoors and indoors.

Cycling Outdoors Vs. Cycling Indoors


The calories burnt in case of indoor cycling like any other workout entirely depends on how intensely you workout.

According to Harvard research, a 155-pound person burns around 260 calories on a stationary bike for pedaling 30 minutes in a moderate pace. This burn can be maximized using a good spin bike for working out.

Whereas, with outdoor cycling, the same 155-pound person burns about 372 calories while cycling at around 15 mph.

This research clearly indicates that the outdoor cycling burns a lot of calories when compared to cycling indoors.

This may be obviously due to the ups and own in the roads, and in some places, you may need to ride while standing on the roads.

In outdoor bike riding, you’ll be strengthening your thighs, calf muscles, and rear ends as you’ll be climbing up and down the hills.


If you are committed enough to stay fit by cycling, you need no/less motivation for cycling.

In the case of indoor cycling, you tend to have fitness partners with whom you can talk to and cycle at the same time. Training in the gym also can be less boredom.

In the case of outdoor cycling, you interact with nature, and also breathe fresh air and expose to sunlight. You can consider wearing some bone conduction headphones that do not completely isolate the sound when riding outdoors.

As per my experience, early morning outdoor cycling is less boring and full of motivation.

As you may notice that the motivation provided by both of these cycling methods are same. If you don’t have an outdoor cycling partner, it can cause boredom as hell.

best spin bike for tall people

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Safety is one of the most important factors you may need to consider even more than your workout itself.

If you are a senior who can’t just take the risk of getting on the bike for on road cycling, consider one of these recumbent bikes for seniors. These recumbent bikes come with a backrest support for you to comfortably experience a good workout in your home.

Cycling outdoors carries their own risks. For this reason, you may need to consider wearing a bike helmet, and also you need to wear shoes.

You may also need to avoid the roads where traffic will be more and be careful about the vehicles coming from behind to prevent any accidents. Outdoor riders will also need to be looking at good city bicycles that are designed for easy storage.

You may simply opt for riding in cycling tracks.


With indoor cycling, you will be flexible in terms of training schedules. As the workout will be within the comforts of your home, you can do the workout whenever you wish to (although you need to be committed to a schedule).

Whereas, with outdoors cycling, you need to prefer mornings or evenings. That too, you need to choose a time when traffic and crowd will be less, for you to aggressively ride your bike.

Added to these factors, for riding outdoors you also need to get yourself ready for wearing a helmet, gloves to stay warm, shoes, and also bright clothing. Along with that, you need to fill up your water cans.

Whereas with indoor cycling you can just climb up the seat in your pajamas and start the burn. This may save you a lot of time if you have a busy lifestyle.

Cycling Outdoors

The video below shows ten health benefits of cycling.

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Cycling Everyday

Added benefits

Apart from the comfort and convenience, the indoor cycling does not come with attractive added benefits. Whereas outdoor cycling does.

With outdoor cycling, you get a chance to expose yourself to nature and breathe fresh air. The daily exposure to nature is proven to decrease the chances of you developing any mental problems and also Cancer.

It also helps your body to absorb vitamin D and is depleted by the processed food you eat and also medications you take.

In fact, more than half of the Americans are deficient in Vitamin D due to poor exposure to the sunlight and also due to the application of sunscreen when outdoors.

The deficiency of vitamin D is linked to low immunity, the risk of cancer, tooth decay, and poor bone health. Vitamin D could be one of the unbeatable reasons to consider cycling outdoors in the sunlight.


As you can see, both cycling outdoors and indoors have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s finally up to your whether to decide outdoors or indoors.

Indoor cycling is suitable to all regardless of your age. Whereas, outdoor cycling may be for those who are looking for a more challenging cycling workouts.

However, with some of the great heavy-duty spin bikes like Keiser M3i and other magnetic spin bikes, it’s now very easy for you to get the same burn as that of outdoor cycling, in the comforts of your home.

At last, I highly recommend you to hit outdoors if it’s possible to you due the added benefits like sunlight and nature exposure.

1 thought on “Cycling Outdoors Vs. Cycling Indoors: Which is Better?”

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About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.