Outdoor exercises like bicycling, hiking, running, and walking are very popular for those who want to stay active. Being outdoors also offers added benefits, like interesting scenery and motivating environments. Unfortunately, getting outside to work out isn’t possible or advised for everyone.
When you wish you could get out on the road, there are ways to replicate the experience at home. Popular brands of at-home exercise equipment include NordicTrack, ProForm, Peloton, and Echelon. Many others are available as well, offering varying options and price points.
Suppose you’re temporarily unable to bicycle outdoors because of an injury or weather or prefer a safer option. In that case, you can replicate the feeling of cycling outdoors with an indoor stationary bike. There are many options for indoor bicycles depending on your wants and needs. Costs vary depending on the type of bike and features and range from $200 and up into the $2000s or higher for more advanced equipment.
Upright bikes are the most similar to outdoor bikes offering a smaller seat above the pedals. They tend to be more lightweight and have a smaller footprint. You can adjust the resistance and even stand up to change up your workout. An air bike is a type of upright bike with a fan instead of electronic controls to add resistance and replicate the feeling of wind experienced when bicycling outdoors.
Recumbent bikes are lower and more extended. The pedals are in front of the seat with a seat back to provide back support. It’s more laid back and suitable for a variety of fitness levels. It may be safer for those who are more out of shape, overweight, new to bicycling, or seniors. Recumbent bikes do take up more space because of their design.
Dual-action stationary bikes are combined with another type of exercise equipment like an elliptical or stair-climber to combine different types of exercise.
Bike trainer stands like theBalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand can temporarily convert an outdoor bicycle for indoor use when you can’t take it out on the road. This is a much less expensive option.
Interactive bikes, such as those fromPeloton or connected to apps likeiFit, have a screen attached to incorporate a virtual aspect to your ride but tend to be more expensive.
Treadmills and Ellipticals
If you enjoy running, hiking, or walking outdoors, treadmills and ellipticals are indoor options that can give you a similar experience. Treadmill costs vary significantly depending on features and brands from the low to mid-hundreds. They can cost $2500 or more for higher-end products. Ellipticals have a similar range, with many of the best products for at-home use ranging between $1000-2000.
There are basic treadmill models which can fold up or fit into small spaces for walking and slow jogging. More advanced treadmills and ellipticals can better replicate outdoor changes in elevation. They can sync to actual trails and roads, automatically changing the machine’s elevation or resistance to match the outdoor environment.
iFit is an interactive fitness program compatible with many different stationary bikes, treadmills, and other indoor workout equipment from several companies. There are live and recorded workout videos. iFit offers a large number of immersive experiences. Hence, you feel like you’re biking or trekking through far-off places around the globe or even on your own path traced on Google Maps. If you have compatible equipment, it can adjust your resistance, incline, and speed to match the environment.
Zwift is a virtual fitness adventure program on an app. You create an avatar that travels through one of the virtual courses in France or Zwift’s own created world, Watopia. There are options for either running and walking or bicycling. You can earn badges and complete challenges to increase motivation. There are also community events where you complete routes with other users.
Peloton offers an all-access membership app and their own stationary bikes and treadmills with screens for home-based workouts. There are both live and recorded classes with a trainer and scenic rides that let you virtually travel real-life destinations using recorded video.
What if you want the virtual experience of being outdoors without the cost? Look for videos onYouTube or other streaming services that simulate the experience of bicycling, hiking, walking, or running all around the world.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle writer.
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