Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

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horizon
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Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2019, 10:15am

AFAIK it used to be commonly accepted that exercise should take place outdoors - invigorating, good for the spirit and all that. Nowadays it seems that it is easier and easier to exercise indoors: public gyms, heated indoor swimming pools, turbo trainers and now Peloton. And that indoors could be either heated or indeed cooled by air conditioning. Many people are put off cycling by the thought of wind, rain and cold (or even heat), not by the exercise per se.

AIUI, the body should be challenged by reasonable extremes of heat and cold, particularly the latter in the UK. Not only then is the person healthier for having improved circulation and physical resilience but their psychological outlook and ability to cope with life is also enhanced. I would also say that it makes more sense than a flu jab.

I'm not advocating a Spartan lifestyle, just getting out in the weather. I'm sure most members of this forum are used to the wet and cold (and I would certainly endorse a day off from battling endless rain) but what about the next generation?

So I'm wondering what people's views and experience are on this matter or anything you might have come across. Is an essential part of the health benefit of cycling to do with dealing with wet and cold? And are people shunning that for the warm ambience of a heated gym?
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

Mike Sales
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby Mike Sales » 31 Aug 2019, 10:28am

What with travelling by car for even the shortest distance and parking as close to the destination as possible, there must be people who are hardly ever outdoors. If even exercise is indoors I feel that we are getting closer to one of those dystopian science fiction cities which are totally enclosed, and outside are only outlaw barbarians.

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Cugel
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby Cugel » 31 Aug 2019, 11:46am

horizon wrote:AFAIK it used to be commonly accepted that exercise should take place outdoors - invigorating, good for the spirit and all that. Nowadays it seems that it is easier and easier to exercise indoors: public gyms, heated indoor swimming pools, turbo trainers and now Peloton. And that indoors could be either heated or indeed cooled by air conditioning. Many people are put off cycling by the thought of wind, rain and cold (or even heat), not by the exercise per se.

AIUI, the body should be challenged by reasonable extremes of heat and cold, particularly the latter in the UK. Not only then is the person healthier for having improved circulation and physical resilience but their psychological outlook and ability to cope with life is also enhanced. I would also say that it makes more sense than a flu jab.

I'm not advocating a Spartan lifestyle, just getting out in the weather. I'm sure most members of this forum are used to the wet and cold (and I would certainly endorse a day off from battling endless rain) but what about the next generation?

So I'm wondering what people's views and experience are on this matter or anything you might have come across. Is an essential part of the health benefit of cycling to do with dealing with wet and cold? And are people shunning that for the warm ambience of a heated gym?


Many indoor exercise regimes that are effectively alternatives to the outdoor variety are very limited in their good effects - the effects we generally seek from exercising. Exercise itself is a substitute for a more natural lifestyle of the kind we evolved to lead - hunter/gatherer. The hunter/gatherers who remain on the planet demonstrate many of the fitness abilities we moderns typically lack; but also a lot of the inabilities or damages.

But I digress.

Two examples:

1 Cycling outdoors requires many more skills, mental & motor, not obtainable from sitting on a turbo trainer, no matter how hard you pedal aboard that turbo trainer. Turbo trainers require no steering or other maneuvers; no balancing; no reading of the road and other environmental stuff; no real interaction with real human beings (screen avatars don't count). Those who are only turbo-trained do poorly on a first real bike ride. Those who do real bike rides can do turbo-stuff with no problems at all except perhaps getting bored.

2 Strength training in a gym can develop a great number of muscles, sinews, nerves and every other body part. The equipment and techniques tend to isolate and specialise the strength abilities, however. It's a common syndrome for gym rats with immense muscular development to try a real world exercise and find themselves aching, clumsy or otherwise not fit to do the real world strong thing. An example is archery, where gym rats with immense lats and deltoids are nevertheless initially very poor at pulling a heavy bowstring and aiming the arra. Despite their gym strength they still need to teach their body archery strength.

In short, indoor exercise is artificial in the extreme and produces only limited effects compared to doing similar exercise in a real world environment inclusive of all the extra requirements of the body & mind.

And then, as you mentioned, there's the often deleterious effects of typical indoor atmospheres; or the resilience acquired by the often testing but more healthy outdoor atmospheres.

Cugel

whoof
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby whoof » 31 Aug 2019, 3:50pm

horizon wrote:
I'm not advocating a Spartan lifestyle, just getting out in the weather. I'm sure most members of this forum are used to the wet and cold (and I would certainly endorse a day off from battling endless rain) but what about the next generation?

In 1908 Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys. One out the reasons was that he the ' youth of today' were somewhat lacking. Even in ancient Greece there are writings complaining of this. Every generation thinks the next has it easier and are not as robust as them.

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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby gbnz » 31 Aug 2019, 4:29pm

Cugel wrote: It's a common syndrome for gym rats with immense muscular development to try a real world exercise and find themselves aching, clumsy or otherwise not fit to do the real world strong thing....

In short, indoor exercise is artificial in the extreme and produces only limited effects compared to doing similar exercise in a real world environment inclusive of all the extra requirements of the body & mind.

Cugel


True. But also worth bearing in mind that most gym rats only go through the motions :!:

As someone who does all (Nb. Cycling, walking, running, swimming, gym) the men and women who turn up at the gym and literally spend 25 minutes out of every 30 sitting on a machine without doing anything, are legion (Nb. I've been told off in the last fortnight, for asking such to move on)

As are the majority who "work out" on the easiest setting I.e. cycling at 1-2 mph :roll: . Found myself criticised again this week by gym staff, as the cardio machine I was using was making a noise. As I again pointed out,when using the machine at a maximum level I.e. 25, it makes a noise - when used at setting of 1-3 it doesn't (NB. Ironically the the instructor tried to step on - he wasn't able to turn the pedals at a level of 8-9 :roll: )

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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby Audax67 » 31 Aug 2019, 5:14pm

Indoor "cycling": all of the pain and none of the pleasure.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby PH » 31 Aug 2019, 5:26pm

What's the question?
It's a bit like the E-bike Vs bike discussion, that isn't the choice. People who choose to exercise indoors are going to do that, they're not going to go out into the cold and wet to do it, even if you were to to demonstrate that it was better for them.
I prefer to be out on the bike, whatever the weather, but having done some gym work I know you can push yourself harder when that's the only criteria and you don't have to consider anything else. I've done 45 min spin classes when I had to push the bike home I wasn't fit to ride. Two of those a week for a couple of months got me the fittest I've ever been, but I found it tedious and didn't continue.

reohn2
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby reohn2 » 31 Aug 2019, 5:27pm

horizon wrote:........ Many people are put off cycling by the thought of wind, rain and cold (or even heat), not by the exercise per se. ...

I don't think that's the truth of it,IMO many people are put off cycling by a lack of decent cycling facilities and the fear of intimidation by traffic and agressive driving so prevalent in the UK,especially in dense traffic areas such as cities,towns and urban areas.
Cyclists in the UK are marginalised at best and prejudiced against and or hated at worst by authorities and individuals
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby ANTONISH » 31 Aug 2019, 5:56pm

reohn2 wrote:
horizon wrote:........ Many people are put off cycling by the thought of wind, rain and cold (or even heat), not by the exercise per se. ...

I don't think that's the truth of it,IMO many people are put off cycling by a lack of decent cycling facilities and the fear of intimidation by traffic and agressive driving so prevalent in the UK,especially in dense traffic areas such as cities,towns and urban areas.
Cyclists in the UK are marginalised at best and prejudiced against and or hated at worst by authorities and individuals


I agree with that - you have to be of a frame of mind that accepts the risk of sharing the road with the occasional psychopathic/careless/dangerous/incompetent driver.
I go to a gym for strength training - I'm not keen on exercise bikes etc but if the weather is really bad and the roads are icy that is what I'll use.
Usually I do alternate days in the gym or out on the road - sometimes I do a gym session and go out on the road after.

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horizon
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2019, 9:38pm

reohn2 wrote:IMO many people are put off cycling by a lack of decent cycling facilities and the fear of intimidation by traffic and agressive driving so prevalent in the UK,especially in dense traffic areas such as cities,towns and urban areas.


So my question is, are the people who migrate to indoor gyms or the back bedroom due to (I agree, justified) fears about traffic missing out on one of the health benefits of cycling - being out of doors? Does it matter?
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

gbnz
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby gbnz » 31 Aug 2019, 9:54pm

horizon wrote:
reohn2 wrote:IMO many people are put off cycling by a lack of decent cycling facilities and the fear of intimidation by traffic and agressive driving so prevalent in the UK,especially in dense traffic areas such as cities,towns and urban areas.


So my question is, are the people who migrate to indoor gyms or the back bedroom due to (I agree, justified) fears about traffic missing out on one of the health benefits of cycling - being out of doors? Does it matter?


Have to admit I realised back in 2012 that an intense cardio session in a gym, had a far greater cardio benefit than cycling thousands of miles on the bike.

Having given cardio a miss for two months due to temperatures/humidty levels indoors over the summer, two weeks back at cardio in the gym has proved the point again (NB. Suddenly I'm averaging an extra 4-5 mile average speed on the bike on a quick, short, 20 mile run, with an urge to put the foot down!). Feels great!

Doesn't matter, but it's worth it (NB. And while I'm sure it won't beat a quick 30 mile ride along the boundaries of the Dukes estate on the 24 December, with a return over a fell sandstone ridge, view of the North Sea, while passing a 13th century castle, an 18th castle rail viaduct, with a 4 mile descent back to town, the gym is enjoyable :D )

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horizon
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2019, 9:59pm

But surely the point is that although your cardio is undoubtedly improved, there might be other benefits from meeting the challenge of cold weather (or in this case indeed, hot and humid weather).
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

gbnz
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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby gbnz » 1 Sep 2019, 6:15am

horizon wrote:But surely the point is that although your cardio is undoubtedly improved, there might be other benefits from meeting the challenge of cold weather (or in this case indeed, hot and humid weather).


I doubt that there are any benefits from meeting the challenge of cold weather in itself, though being outdoors is generally enjoyable. One of the reasons I'll be off for a run in twenty minutes, the other being that the gym doesn't open until 07.30 on a Sunday.

That said, the substantial cardio benefits from working out at a gym are notably enjoyable when heading off on the bike, running up a mountain, doing a couple hundred lengths down the pool. Intense exercise in itself is enjoyable, once a certain level of fitness is achieved

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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby ANTONISH » 1 Sep 2019, 8:19am

gbnz wrote:
horizon wrote:But surely the point is that although your cardio is undoubtedly improved, there might be other benefits from meeting the challenge of cold weather (or in this case indeed, hot and humid weather).


I doubt that there are any benefits from meeting the challenge of cold weather in itself, though being outdoors is generally enjoyable. One of the reasons I'll be off for a run in twenty minutes, the other being that the gym doesn't open until 07.30 on a Sunday.

That said, the substantial cardio benefits from working out at a gym are notably enjoyable when heading off on the bike, running up a mountain, doing a couple hundred lengths down the pool. Intense exercise in itself is enjoyable, once a certain level of fitness is achieved


I'm not keen on hard cardio work outs - it takes me a long time to warm up - my speed on a bike could roughly be described as "pottering" so I'm one of the slower audax riders. I only work hard if I'm riding up hill.
At the gym one of the trainers has been trying to persuade me to try a spin class. I watched one of these sessions - it seemed like hell - people pedalling hard to nowhere with someone who must have been a sadist screaming instructions. OTOH I know some cyclists who feel that they have benefited from these sessions. Maybe if it's a hard winter ...

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Re: Cycling and health: indoors or outdoors?

Postby reohn2 » 1 Sep 2019, 9:25am

horizon wrote:
reohn2 wrote:IMO many people are put off cycling by a lack of decent cycling facilities and the fear of intimidation by traffic and agressive driving so prevalent in the UK,especially in dense traffic areas such as cities,towns and urban areas.


So my question is, are the people who migrate to indoor gyms or the back bedroom due to (I agree, justified) fears about traffic missing out on one of the health benefits of cycling - being out of doors? Does it matter?

To the first question yes,To the second,of course!
Last edited by reohn2 on 1 Sep 2019, 1:54pm, edited 1 time in total.
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