Peloton member cycling on the Peloton Bike

These 7 Benefits of Indoor Cycling Will Convince You to Clip In ASAP

Your bones, brain, and body will benefit.

By Karla WalshUpdated April 4, 2024


Many of us find our way to the saddle for different reasons, whether it’s the convenience of having a Peloton Bike at home, the desire to build cardiovascular endurance, or the mind and body benefits of a new workout. Regardless of your main motivations, you’ll be accruing a whole host of other wellness wins each time you ride.

Peloton instructor Ally Love notes that “with its array of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, indoor cycling has become a powerful tool for personal transformation.” She’s experienced many of the benefits of indoor cycling first-hand.

Ahead, discover several indoor cycling benefits and explore why your bike may be one of the best investments you can make in supporting your muscles, mind, and overall well-being.

1. Indoor Cycling is Efficient and Convenient

Lack of time is cited time and time again as a consistent barrier to working out regularly. But one of the benefits of indoor cycling—especially when done at home—is how convenient it is, no matter your schedule. With no commute required, you can roll out of bed and onto the seat in a matter of minutes…and in whatever outfit you like.

“Everyone's fitness journey is different, but in the fast-paced world we live in, finding an exercise routine that is both effective and enjoyable is key,” Ally says. “I'm here to ride with you when you're ready!”

Effective Workouts in Less Time

Another one of indoor cycling’s major benefits? You can utilize high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to increase intensity and challenge yourself, even during shorter rides. In these tough classes, you’ll work hard for a certain amount of time (say, 30 seconds) and then recover briefly before repeating the cycle. With this format, your heart rate spikes and lowers for a more aerobically intense workout—so a 20-minute HIIT workout may leave you sweating more than a 45-minute Power Zone Endurance ride.

Cardio and Strength Combined

True, indoor cycling counts toward your overall cardio tally (if you’re keeping track to try to reach that recommended 150 minutes each week!). But it’s not just about the aerobic factor; indoor cycling also delivers impressive strength-building benefits, Ally notes.

“The resistance levels on indoor bikes allow you to tailor the intensity to your fitness level, challenging your muscles and promoting strength development,” she says.

Science backs this up: No matter what your age, cycling has been shown to increase muscular strength and hypertrophy, or an increase in muscle size.

2. Indoor Cycling Benefits Beginners and People with Injuries

Another benefit of indoor cycling is that in comparison to many weightlifting programs or long-distance running races, it’s very scalable for those who are new to exercise or coming back to it after a break. 

Indoor Cycling for Beginners

Pedal at your own pace, control your own resistance, and sit when you like. (Psst: Even if you’re not quite used to the feeling of a bike seat, you’ll get used to it over time—and in the meantime, a pair of padded shorts can help.)

If you don’t fall in love with indoor cycling immediately, try, try again, Ally says: “I encourage you to try something at least three times before you make any long-term decisions on what you should include in your diverse fitness portfolio.”

Indoor Cycling During Injury Recovery

Maybe you’re freshly back into fitness, are recovering from an injury, or are among the 24 percent of adults with arthritis. If your doctor has cleared you for exercise, indoor cycling is a wise option because it’s gentle on your joints.

“The fluid motion of pedaling minimizes the risk of injury, making it an ideal choice for individuals with joint issues or those recovering from injuries,” Ally says. “In my classes, I encourage Members to take care of their bodies and embrace the joy of movement without compromising their well-being.”

That doesn’t mean it can’t be challenging though. Cycling classes can also be high-intensity (take Peloton’s HIIT Rides, Intervals & Arms Rides, HIIT & Hills Rides, and Tabata Rides, for instance). If you’re ready to push yourself, it’s a great activity to scale up or down based on what you need that day.

3. Indoor Cycling As Cross-Training

Research suggests that cross-training—that is, regularly switching up your workouts from your main form of exercise—is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of injury. Plus, mixing things up allows your body time to recover from those different activities between sessions and keeps your brain engaged so you’re less tempted to skip. Here are a few specific ways that indoor cycling benefits your overall fitness.

Indoor Cycling and Running

When you pair cycling with running, you’ll see double the aerobic benefits—without the impact on your joints. This dynamic duo has been shown to amp up your cardio, endurance, and strength levels so you may be able to run faster and with better form.

Indoor Cycling and Outdoor Cycling

No surprise here—your indoor cycling benefits your outdoor rides too. In addition to making it possible to keep your training program going amidst anything Mother Nature throws your way, Peloton’s wide variety of indoor cycling class styles allows you to prep for any outdoor rides you have on the horizon. You can mimic outdoor hills by cranking up the resistance, or try a 90-minute Power Zone Endurance ride to increase your stamina. From longer endurance rides to shorter sprints and HIIT classes, indoor cycling will have you ready to conquer long distances and steep hills the next time you hit the road.

4. Indoor Cycling Benefits Your Physical Health

From improved heart health to stronger bones, indoor cycling improves your health metrics across the board. Here are some benefits of indoor cycling to look for after you’ve been training regularly.

Indoor Cycling and Bone Strength

Regardless of your age, skeletal strength is essential to keep your bones bolstered throughout your lifetime. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and about one in every four men will break a bone at some point due to osteoporosis, a condition related to a decrease in bone strength and bone mineral density.

In tandem with strength training two to three times per week, research suggests that three weekly indoor cycling classes may help increase bone density in the arms, legs, pelvis, and spine. Indoor cycling has also been proven to support balance, which can trim the risk of trips and help keep those bones safe. 

Indoor Cycling and Heart Disease

The fact that it’s deemed a “cardiovascular workout” is a clue that indoor cycling benefits cardiovascular (heart) health. In fact, a large Danish study found that both leisure and fitness cycling can lower overall risk for heart disease, which is currently the number one cause of death in America.

“Indoor cycling is a rhythmic and dynamic cardiovascular workout that engages the entire body,” Ally says. “By pedaling to the beat, you elevate your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system. Regular cycling sessions can improve endurance, boost circulation, and enhance overall heart health.”

Indoor Cycling and Aerobic Capacity

Indoor cycling challenges the MVP muscle, your heart, which means this form of exercise aids your aerobic capacity. Just two to three 30-minute (or more) indoor cycling sessions per week for 12 weeks has been linked to 8 to 10.5 percent higher VO₂ max (a measure that’s generally regarded as the best measure of aerobic fitness). Translation: Within about 3 months of regular cycling, you might be able to absorb and utilize about 9 percent more oxygen during each and every sweat session. The more oxygen you can consume, the more oxygen your muscles will be able to score and use to pedal longer and stronger.

Indoor Cycling and Weight Loss

Your Peloton Bike Metrics make this indoor cycling benefit clear. As you crank up the watts, aka your overall power exertion level, you’ll crank up the calorie burn. (BTW, if you’d prefer not to see this metric, you can hide it with the tap of a finger!)

“Indoor cycling, especially Peloton, is a highly effective calorie-burning activity. A vigorous ride can burn a significant number of calories, making it an efficient way to support weight loss or maintain a healthy weight,” says Ally. “The exact calorie burn will depend on factors such as your weight, intensity of the workout, and duration of the session.”

Your Peloton Bike will estimate your individual calorie burn. As a rough guide, Harvard Medical School experts say that a 155-pound adult will burn about 275 calories during a vigorous 30-minute class, which is what you might experience during Power Zone, Interval, and Climb classes.

5. Indoor Cycling Can Be Personalized 

On days when you’re not feeling like pushing to the limit, indoor cycling is one of your best exercise bets. 

“One of the greatest strengths of indoor cycling is its versatility and accessibility,” Ally says. “You can customize your intensity by adjusting the resistance on the bike, increasing or decreasing your pedaling speed, and modifying the duration of your session to match your fitness level and goals.”

Peloton’s cycling classes range in duration from 10 to 120 minutes, and with on-demand classes, you can ride whenever—and for however long—works for your schedule. Try a Beginner, Low Impact, or Groove class for a fun-first class that you can scale up or down to meet your needs.

“This flexibility makes it suitable for beginners and advanced exercisers alike,” Ally adds.

6. The Indoor Cycling Community Builds Accountability 

Tempted to throw in the towel and skip your planned ride? Peloton’s Leaderboard—as well as a supportive instructor and a group full of fellow riders from around the world—offers extra motivation to stick to your indoor cycling training schedule.

Enjoy Support from Fellow Riders

“Indoor cycling classes foster a sense of community and provide motivation through collective energy and shared goals. Exercising in a group setting with an instructor can push you to new limits, amplify your performance, and create lifelong friendships all at once,” Ally says. “Most importantly, group classes like Peloton keep you accountable to reach your fitness goals, in the most fun way.”

When people feel like they’re part of a group, they’re proven to leave the workout feeling like they worked harder, had more fun, and had a brighter mood than if they sweat solo. Don’t be surprised if you start to notice the same Leaderboard names in your Peloton classes as you frequent the same instructors and class times—and when you see a name you recognize, throw a Leaderboard high five their way.

Find Accountability Partners

One of the biggest benefits of indoor cycling—that you can do it totally on your own schedule—can also be a pitfall if you tend to talk yourself out of your planned rides at the last minute. Luckily, Peloton’s Leaderboard and scheduling features make it easy to stay accountable to your workouts. In the Peloton App, tap the calendar icon in any class to add it to your schedule. 

You can also invite your friends to take a class with you using Peloton’s Invite Friends feature. Click into the details for the class you’re interested in and hit the “Invite Friends” button (hint: the icon is two people and a plus sign). Choose the friends you want to ride with, the time you want to take class, and the occasion (like a milestone ride or your birthday). Finally, send the invite! Your crew will get the invite on their Peloton Bike or the Peloton App. (Heads up, you’ll have to follow your friends on Peloton to send them invites.) 

7. Indoor Cycling and Mental Health

The benefits of indoor cycling go far beyond the physical. Here’s how indoor cycling benefits your mental health too.

Indoor Cycling and Mood

“Exercise, including indoor cycling, has a profound impact on mental and emotional well-being. Cycling releases endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers, which can alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and decrease symptoms of depression,” Ally says.

Rocking your ride also boosts self-efficacy, or your personal belief that you can accomplish a task. This positive mindset doesn’t stop when you unclip from the bike, Ally adds. Self-efficacy gained during a ride can roll over into other aspects of life and “help you overcome challenges and unlock your true potential,” she says.

Indoor Cycling and Stress Relief

Any form of regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve resilience, and indoor cycling is no different. Not only does working out release endorphins (which boost your mood), but it also helps improve your sleep quality, which is often the first thing to go down the drain in times of stress. To enjoy the mental health benefits of indoor cycling, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, broken up into whatever chunks of time work for your lifestyle (yes, you can totally sneak away for a 10-minute ride). 

The Takeaway

Every rider comes to indoor cycling with different goals and motivations, but chances are high that you’ll accrue even more benefits from indoor cycling than you anticipated, and those benefits start with the very first ride. You’ll discover the convenience and efficiency of indoor cycling right away, and over time, keep an eye out for the health benefits of stationary biking, like improved mood, increased aerobic capacity, stronger muscles, and more.

Starting Your Indoor Cycling Adventure

Ready to begin reaping the benefits of stationary biking? It’s as simple as just clipping in. If you’re totally new to indoor cycling, start with shorter classes and Beginner rides, which are specifically designed to teach you the must-knows of cycling basics. Make sure to explore different instructors and ride styles over time so you can find the classes that fit your personality and preferences. 

Finally, commit to your new fitness habit. Whether it’s riding once a week or completing Peloton’s You Can Ride program, you owe it to yourself to stick with your new indoor cycling exercise routine in order to really experience the benefits. 

“Indoor cycling has become a transformative force in the world of fitness,” Ally says. “Its wide range of benefits—including cardiovascular health, strength building, low-impact intensity, mental and emotional well-being, personalization, and community—have made it a favorite among fitness enthusiasts.” Together with Peloton, you can discover all of indoor cycling’s benefits for your mood, muscles, and beyond.


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