It’s no secret that riding an exercise bike is a fantastic workout.
It raises your heart rate which burns calories and fat, making you fitter and healthier while giving you a feel-good rush of endorphins. However, despite all the benefits, some people don’t enjoy it because it’s boring.
We get it.
Pedaling and pedaling without actually going anywhere could drive a sane person crazy if you’re not armed with the right techniques.
Here, we’ll give you our top 10 ways to reduce boredom on an exercise bike that will not only keep you sweating longer and harder but will help you fall in love with exercise all over again.
1. Listen to Music
There are endless scientific studies that show that listening to tunes while sweating it out can make it more enjoyable.
In 2012, researchers determined that people will run farther, bike longer, and swim faster than usual without realizing it when they’re playing the right soundtrack. Try cueing up songs you enjoy, and look for ones that are 80-100 beats per minute.
This way, you can match up your pedal strokes with the rhythm of the music and push your pace while you jam out.
2. Listen to Podcasts
If music isn’t your thing, consider downloading motivational podcasts or Ted talks to get your blood pumping.
Having a voice in your ear talking with you about subject matter that interests you will distract you from the monotony of pedaling and make the time pass faster.
3. Audio Books
One additional way to distract your brain is to download an audiobook from a favorite author.
Get lost in the story of a hero or heroine kicking butt, and you’ll raise your heart rate and ride a little harder without even realizing it.
4. Watch TV
Many gyms have television screens installed on their cardio equipment, and if you’re riding from home, you can set up your space with a viewing area.
If neither of these is an option, consider subscribing to a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. That way, you can get caught up on your favorite TV shows from your mobile device while your burning calories. Talk about multitasking!
5. Exercise with a Friend
Studies show that people who have an exercise partner work out more frequently than those who don’t. Riding alongside a buddy is an effective way to have some fun, social time while you’re burning calories.
An added bonus is that if you’re sweating it out with someone who is more fit than you, some research says you might work harder during your workout.
6. Take a Cycling Class
Group exercise classes like cycling or the brand-name “Spinning” might seem intimidating, but they are a great way to bust boredom. Studies find that people who work out in a group setting tend to work both harder and longer, and they have a higher rate of sticking with it.
Check out the schedule at your gym and sign up for a beginner class.
If they don’t offer one for new participants, arrive a few minutes early to talk with the instructor. They’ll help set you up on the exercise bike and let you know what to expect for your first time. Bring water, a towel, and be ready to sweat.
7. Try Problem Solving
Physical activity has a positive effect on our cognitive and reasoning abilities. That big problem you’ve been having at work, at home, or with your children?
Tackle it while you’re doing your workout. You’ll be more likely to come up with creative solutions, and it will keep you mentally engaged the entire ride.
8. Interval Training
If you’re someone who does the same ride every time you get on your exercise bike, you might just be bored with the monotony of it.
Our bodies respond well to changes in activity, so if you want to increase your calorie burn and eliminate boredom, try a different workout or program.
One easy way to add intensity to your routine is with interval training.
A smart way to start is with 2:1 interval training. This means you’ll do 2 minutes of work with 1 minute of rest between each set. Keeping your eye on the clock, try picking up your pace or intensity for 2 full minutes before backing it off and recovering for a minute.
Repeat this pattern ten times, and you’ve just completed a challenging 30-minute workout.
9. Hill Training
Another fun way to switch up your training is to add hill training into the mix. You can choose the hill program on your bike, or you can create one manually. If you’re planning a 30-minute ride, try ascending and descending a steep peak.
Every minute, add 1% grade to your resistance until you hit 15-minutes or the halfway point. Then, take off 1% every minute as you ride down the hill. By changing it up every minute, you’ll keep your body and mind on the task at hand instead of uninspired.
While riding indoors isn’t always a scenic experience, it can be if you use a little imagination. Many top athletes use visualization as a technique to help them push through a hard workout, and it can work for you too.
The next time you’re riding at a high intensity, picture a steep hill or mountain and imagine you’re ascending.
If you’re competitive, surround yourself with other riders and picture overtaking them to get in the lead. If you’re near the end of your workout and want a final push, imagine you’re in third or fourth place, and you have to give it all you’ve got to pass others and make it across the finish line in first.
When it comes to riding indoors, not every technique will make it the best workout ever every time. But these ten tips will help you stay focused, change it up, and beat boredom on your next indoor ride.
Try one or try them all to make the most of your experience.