Weekly Wellness: Spinning to Fitness Web Extra

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COLUMBIA - If someone asks you if you want to "spin" or "go to spin class", do you think "that's a class for standing with your arms out to your side and spinning in a circle?" If so, this segment is for you.

Spinning is another term for indoor cycling. Indoor cycling is a form of exercise in a classroom setting that involves using a special stationary exercise bike.

But you're not just sitting on that bike and pedaling your feet. Spin classes focus on building strength, building endurance, performing high intensity intervals and bursts of cardio.

An indoor cycling bike isn't an ordinary stationary bike. The bike is built with a weighted flywheel to simulate the feeling that you're on an actual road bike out on an actual road.

With that said, a lot of the exercises that you'll be asked to do on this bike are far from what you might do on a real bike. You'll be "running" and "jumping" along with "flats" and "climbs."

Don't let the crazy language intimidate you. Those are just fancy terms to refer to pedaling while standing and sitting and adding resistance and stuff like that.

Why indoor cycling? There are many reasons to give indoor cycling a try:

  • Burning calories: indoor cycling can burn as many as 500 calories in a 30 - 45 minute class. Of course, you're going to get out of it what you put into it. You can't sit on the bike and take a leisurely ride and expect to burn off that extravagant lunch.
  • Cardiovascular health: indoor cycling increases cardiovascular endurance and lung capacity.
  • Low impact: indoor cycling keeps pressure off your feet and knees. It can be great for anyone who suffers from arthritis pain.

There are other benefits mentioned in this article on Yahoo.com.

What will you need for indoor cycling? Most bikes are built to be used with regular athletic shoes by using a toe clip. This is a little cage-looking basket that you put the front of your foot into. It allows you to push and pull the pedals. If you desire to take things a step further you can get special cycling shoes that are used with a clip-less system.

Another purchase to be considered is padded bike shorts or a padded gel seat. As I mentioned, indoor cycling bikes are built to feel like a road bike. Road bikes don't generally have the most comfortable of seats. A very common complaint of new "spinners" is a sore tush. It gets better. I promise.

Want to try it out? There are many gyms in town that offer indoor cycling classes. I would suggest you put it on your bucket list, call around, make a plan, call a friend and go to a class. (It will be the easiest bucket list item you've ever marked off your list.)

Amanda K Barnes
Certified Personal Trainer


Weekly Wellness