This guide dives into the benefits of using a spin bike at home. What are the proven, scientific reasons for getting a spin bike to use and is it right for you? Some of these benefits will blow your mind and might just keep you fitter and healthier for a long time.
#1 – The weather is always just right to spin at home
The UK weather doesn’t just ruin BBQ’s, it can also decide to chuck it down on that afternoon off, where you were going on a bike ride. Thankfully one of the main benefits to spinning at home is that the weather and the temperature is always just how you like it.
This frees up a tone of time as you know when and how long your indoor blast of cycling will take. Check out some good budget spin bikes here.
#2 – Cycling at home is safe
Another huge drawback to outdoor cycling is having access to safe and appropriate cycling terrain. For people who live in the city, cycling can be particularly hazardous as you’re competing for road space with heavy duty vehicles.
There is also a hidden cost of cycling in polluted areas, breathing in exhaust fumes isn’t good for your lungs and goes against the health benefits that most cyclists are trying to gain. Another massive benefit to having a spin bike at home is the only danger you’re in is from dehydration!
#3 – It’s good for your heart
Spinning is an excellent exercise because, as a form of cardio, it gets your heart pumping and burns plenty of calories. While many of us concentrate on the immediate benefits of this (namely, weight loss), there are some very important long-term benefits to regularly putting your heart through high-intensity workouts.
How do spin workouts help your heart?
The heart is a muscle and, like any muscle, it gets stronger the more it’s used. Cardio (short for cardiovascular) exercises build cardiovascular stamina, this makes the heart more efficient at pumping blood around the body.
Essentially, the better your heart is at this, the fewer beats it’ll have to do per minute to deliver oxygen around the body, resulting in a lower resting health rate.
Having a heart rate that’s within a healthy range helps to protect against heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, and other potentially deadly health conditions.
#4 – Spinning makes you stronger
While, technically speaking, spinning isn’t strength training, it certainly does help to build muscle and tone in your lower body.
As already mentioned, spin bikes have a range of gears that can be used to build strength – quicker than you might think! You’d be surprised at how fast your lower body muscles will adapt and grow to accommodate higher gears.
Even if you’re not into tracking your workout data in detail, simply reaching a higher gear than you could manage previously or putting in more time at your top gear can be incredibly motivating.
#5 – You control the workout intensity
One of the best things about spinning at home is that you’re totally in control of the intensity of your workout. *
As already mentioned, most riders follow an instructor – whether in person or virtually – who will call out a gear range and a target cadence for the class to follow. However, your bike controls are totally up to you.
This makes spinning suitable for beginners and hardcore riders alike, so you can choose your style of class based on your preference of instructor style, not your physical ability.
* That is unless you WANT someone else to control your workout. Bikes like the NordicTrack machines can hook up to the iFit service and allow a trainer to say when things get more taxing. Sound like fun? Click here to find out more.
#6 – Spinning is a low impact exercise
About the most impact your body will get during a good home spin session is when your bum hits the seat. Unlike more impact-ful forms of exercise (we’re looking at you, treadmill) getting stuck into some serious spin workout at home has practically no impact on your joints.
#7 – Improve your balance
According to a recent study, upright cycling like spinning (or the regular ‘outdoor’ variety can help improve stability and balance, especially as we age:
there is some evidence that cycling is associated with increased leg strength and balance, important risk factors for falling. Indoor stationary cycling has been found to increase leg strength, muscle endurance, balance, and functional abilities in healthy middle-aged and older adults…
#8 – You can get your social fix with spinning – even at home
Our favourite thing about spinning is something that most people overlook when it comes to choosing an exercise: the social element. Different spin classes have their own vibe. Some are about power and performance, others are about smashing a decent workout, and there are even ones for just having fun.
Instructors are cheerful and motivating people who will help you achieve your goals for that session and riders form a mini community, bonded by enthusiasm and natural endorphins.
While you can buy a home bike and follow pre-recorded workouts, we’d encourage you to join a virtual spin studio and join in with live classes. Lockdown and tier restrictions will prevent many of us from gathering to spin in person, but the spirit of spin lives on online!
#9 – At home, no-one is watching you spin!
While no-one is probably watching you in a spin class either (they’ll be too concerned with their own workout!) One of the joys of spinning at home, either with an online class, or just under your own steam is that you can find your feet and build confidence in the comfort of your own home.
If you’ve ever been to a commercial gym and thought that array of spin bikes looked a bit intimidating, your own home living room is the perfect place to get acquainted with spinning and find your feet.
#10 – You’ll burn loads of calories
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that spinning is a highly effective form of burning off calories. Anyone who has seen a spin class will know how hot, sweaty and out of breath the people taking part get. Spinning is up there with the most efficient forms of exercise when it comes to burning calories.
How many calories can you burn spinning at home?
An average spinning class will burn around 400 calories per session. Or around 100 calories every 10 minutes.
There’s a few things to take into consideration though. Your body weight, the intensity you spin at, and the length of time. If you want to get more into it, and customize things to your body weight, there’s an awesome spinning class calorie counter here you can have a go on.
#11 – Strengthen your immune system
There can’t be many people who don’t want to improve and strengthen their immune system. Being able to fight off infection and stay health is more important than ever in 2020. What you might not know is just how effective using a spin bike in your home can actually be at bulking up your bodies defences.
A recent study revealed that home spinning, or cycling to be precise, found that in cyclists, the thymus (the part of the body that makes the immune cells) was producing the same level of cells in older people as in younger adults. As the thymus typically starts to shrink from around age 20, this is quite a feat!
And the British Medical Journal published a study that shows a reduce in death of around 40% for people involved in regular cycling.
#12 – Look better and feel better
There’s 3 main benefits to hopping on a spin bike if you want to look and feel better
- Improved muscle tone – Part of having a good body isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about toning up what’s there and accentuating your muscle tone. Spinning at home regularly will increase your muscle size and shape.
- Weight loss – while nothing ‘burns fat’, spinning is extremely good at torching calories, which puts you into a caloric deficit and will lead to your body losing weight. Because of the amount of calories you’re able to shift with a spin bike, it’s one of the better machines to pick up to get in shape at home.
- Mood boosting – There’s a lot of evidence that shows you don’t have to do too much exercise to get a significant boost to how you’re feeling. Even a few minutes can help increase your mood and make you feel happier and have a better sense of well-being.
“The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong,” Otto says. “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.”
Is spinning for me?
More help on deciding whether the benefits of spinning at home are for you.
What is a spin bike exactly?
Spin bikes are stationary bikes with adjustable gears that increase in resistance (they decrease too, don’t worry!). Riders wear special shoes that clip into the bike pedals. This allows for both push and pull movements. On a regular bike, you propel yourself forward by pushing down on the pedals one at a time.
How does a spin cycle work?
While one foot pushes down, the other moves simultaneously until its that foot’s turn to push down. On a spin bike, your feet are locked in so while one foot pushes down the other can pull back. This engages your quad, calf, hamstring, glute, and hip flexor muscles throughout each stroke and makes spinning an intensive lower body workout.
Do guys go to spin classes?
Yes! While spinning classes are still predominately a more popular class with the ladies, men are starting to get the message about the benefits to spinning. A recent study showed that around a quarter of attendants of spin classes are currently male.
Who invented the spin bike?
Spinning is the brainchild of competitive cyclist Johnny Goldberg who was frustrated with unpredictable weather impacting upon his training regime. In the mid-eighties, he created a stationary bike that would allow him to mimic the experience of cycling without having to go outside.
He found the bike to be so helpful to his training that he shared his invention with his personal training clients. In 1995, he partnered with a bike manufacturing company to produce a world’s leading stationary bike and simultaneously catapulted the fitness phenomenon known as spinning into gyms across the world. Almost 30 years later and spinning is still going strong.
What are spin bikes used for
Modern bikes have come a long way since Goldberg’s prototype and now have built-in data monitoring systems that allow you to track cadence, wattage, heart rate, distance, and calories.
Using these metrics, a spin session combines bursts of high gears, high cadence, performance challenges and the all-important recovery periods to deliver a varied and effective HIIT workout. Most riders like to follow a live instructor or pre-set rides, but there’s nothing to stop you from designing your own workout and tailoring it to your specific goals.
References & Further Reading
- What are the best Air Bikes in the UK today?
- Harvard Study: Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights
- Observer – Bros on Bikes: What’s the Manliest Spin Class?
- NCBI – Effects of stationary cycling exercise on the balance & gait
- Harvard – Spinning: Good for the heart and muscles, gentle on joints