By Linda Melone, CSCS for Prevention
The claim: If you think it feels harder cycling indoors in a stuffy gym versus biking outdoors with the wind in your hair, you’re right. And the worst part is you’re not burning as many calories, according to a small new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
The research: Twelve recreationally trained cyclists were studied by University of Nebraska at Omaha researchers as they cycled in both outdoor and indoor settings. The cyclists were told to exert the same perceived effort (a measure of intensity based on a scale) for both the indoor laboratory effort and the outdoor 40 km trials. The result: when outdoors, cyclists exerted more power and had higher heart rates than when they were indoors, despite similar environmental conditions and exertion.