Spinning your way to a better body

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Spinning your way to a better body

You may love to bike outdoors but don’t underestimate a spin class.  Spinning is one of the biggest trends in fitness training and is a quick way to get a very intense fitness fix with serious benefits in power and speed. 

The attractions of spinning

If you’re not familiar with what spinning is, it is a group class of stationary cycling done in a health club or special studio with an instructor leading the workout.  A spin class will be very different from riding your stationary bicycle down in your basement.  That sort of “spinning” can become very boring very quickly.  Participating in a group spin class helps immensely by ramping up the workouts with fast-tempo music, motivational coaching, camaraderie and often classes may use visual imagery of “virtual” outdoor courses, complete with hills and valleys.

The workouts usually last from 40 to 60 minutes and the average person most likely will burn between 400 to 700 calories.  While pedaling, the speed can reach 80 to 100 rpms (revolutions per minute) or even faster.  As you ride the stationary bike, it will track your progress keeping you motivated to continue accomplishing your fitness goals.

There are numerous health benefits of spinning which include the following:

·      Burns large amount of calories – The amount of calories burned depends on the intensity of the workout.  You can adjust the bike according to the intensity you want.

·      Builds muscle tone – Workouts focus on core muscles as well as the buttocks and thighs.  Tension of the bike can be increased or decreased similar to riding up and down a hill.  If you maintain the correct position on the bike, you will also be working your abdominal muscles.

·      Increases cardio endurance – Spinning classes can provide an intense cardiovascular workout ideal for your heart and lungs.

·      Low impact exercise – For anyone who needs to reduce pressure on their knees and joints, a spinning workout is easy on hips, knees and ankles compared to running.  It is also a good workout for people with arthritis.

·      Relieves stress – Since spinning is such an intense workout, it is also a more efficient stress reliever than most types of exercise.  Like any intense aerobic workout, it can boost exhilaration-inducing endorphins, brain chemicals largely responsible for “runner’s high.” Spinning classes are also good for meeting people and for socializing. 

·      Reduced risk of injury – Spinning classes are much less likely to present a risk of injury when compared to exercises such as running or jogging which have an increased likelihood of stress and strain on the body. 

·      Can be done year-round – Unlike other forms of physical activity, spinning can be performed throughout the year even during months with temperature extremes. 

Spinning safely

For most people, spinning is safe when done correctly.  That means good posture, proper seat and handlebar position, and no calisthenics or hand weights.  Cycle at your own pace and don’t try to keep up with more advanced students.  Always ask or inquire about an instructor’s training.  Preferably they should have a certification to teach a spinning class.  Make sure to bring your own water bottle and to keep yourself well-hydrated during the class.

For some people, spinning may be too challenging if they have knee, hip, or other injuries.  If doing intense cardio exercise is new to you or if you have heart disease or another medical condition, consult with your healthcare provider before signing up for a spin class.  Once you get the go-ahead, start by cycling on your own on a stationary bike, working up to a form of high-intensity interval training and start off with a beginner’s class if offered or get some individualized guidance before or after a class.  Also learn to listen to your body and don’t hesitate to slow down or take a break.