>Life is short; enjoy the ride.

>Have you ever tried an indoor cycling (AKA Spinning) class? Do you know what Spinning is? It’s actually indoor cycling, usually in a group setting if you take a class, and is a great way to burn calories. Indoor cycling is a personal favorite of mine, and part of my regular cardio routine for many reasons:

  • One: I don’t like to run, no matter how much I try to make myself do it, try to trick my brain into liking it, or try to convince myself how great of a runner I am. It’s just not for me. It’s important to choose an exercise you enjoy because you’re more apt to do that exercise, rather than make excuses. Thus, I choose cycling.
  • Two: Along with elliptical machines and recumbent bikes, cycling is easier on the joints than running, especially your knees (as long as you keep proper form).
  • Three: Cycling is not only a great cardio exercise that will burn tons of calories (up to 800 in an hour!), but also helps build lower body muscles (legs, lower back, abdomen), especially when heavier resistance and standing positions are incorporated into the workout.
  • Four: Depending on where you ride your outdoor bike, indoor spinning is much safer than riding outdoors. No need to watch for cars or stay on a path. Also, you won’t have to skip your workout on rainy or extra hot days. That is, unless you’re a trooper and enjoy cycling in the rain or extreme heat.
  • Five: It’s fun! Running on a treadmill or an hour on the elliptical is really boring to me (not true for everyone), but cycling allows me to change my form on the bike and target different muscle groups. I also enjoy creating my own music playlists, which helps me vary my speed, thus creating a balanced workout and safe heart rate levels. It helps to focus on keeping up with the beat of the music, which really mixes things up and helps longer periods of cardio seem shorter.

If you decide to take a group cycling class, it’s important to remember that everyone in the class is different. They all have different bodies and are all at different stages in their fitness routine. Your bike may be behind someone who has been cycling for 20 years, and is in prime physical shape or beside someone who keeps a slower pace due to an injury or personal preference. Your focus should be on you and only you. Be fair to yourself and don’t let your ego get in the way. If you try to keep up with or exercise like everyone else, you could seriously injure yourself or sell yourself short. Stay focused on your breathing and don’t pay attention to anyone else other than YOU.

Depending on my planned workout for the day, sometimes I prefer cycling on my own. To make the workout more fun and keep myself motivated, I make playlists for myself on my iPod (a mixed CD would work, too). For instance, if I want to spend an hour on the bike, I will pick 10-15 upbeat songs that equal an hour total, and move through the playlist. I’m mindful when I pick my playlist, such as adding a mellow song right after a really fast song, so I will have time to recover before the next fast song. This is a great option for those of you who may not always like the music selections of certain cycling instructors. Motivating music that you enjoy listening to is always a plus when you’re trying to make it through a tough routine.

To avoid injury, ensure that your bike is properly set up, and consult a group instructor or professional if you have ongoing or dormant injuries. Stand next to your bike, and make sure the seat is the same height as your hip bone. When on the seat, your knee should be slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal. Your handlebar can be at the height that is most comfortable for you. If you have low back pain, it may be safer to adjust the handles to a higher position. Most importantly, enjoy the ride!
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2 Comments

  1. >We definitely should! I am a member at Peak, and go to the Laurens Road location when I attend group classes. Their 5:30 PM classes with Tracy are the best! You have to get there early to get your spot, though. I think for guests the classes are $10, but I could be wrong about that…

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