Sometimes, the hardest part of an indoor cycling class is showing up. From an outsider’s view, indoor cycle can appear very intimidating. Walking by a studio you’re met with loud music coming from the class in progress, instructor cues mixed in within the rhythm of the music and the students are peddling with ferocious intensity. When riders exit the class they are rosy-cheeked, dripping with perspiration, and smiling with a palpable sense of accomplishment.
I hear a lot of newbies tell me they think they could never be strong enough for that class. Maybe it’s unimaginable to people to ride a bike for an hour that goes nowhere and have the time fly by while you’re getting a great cardiovascular low impact workout.
What is Indoor Cycle?
Indoor cycling is a group fitness class that can be customized to fit any fitness level. Classes focus on endurance, strength (resistance), intervals, high intensity, and recovery, all done on a stationary or spin bike. The rider is in control of their intensity and cardiovascular output, while the instructor cues the riding format.
I can tell you from my many years as a rider and an instructor that the best thing you can do if you are new and want to try an indoor cycle or spin class is walk into the class about 10 minutes early. Introduce yourself, let the instructor know you’re new and get set up on the bike, such as seat adjustments. I guarantee the experience will be so much more comfortable during and after your ride. Once you have a little background on how to set up the bike and how to read the data that is presented on the screen of the bike, you’re on your way!
I recommend you try at least five classes with different instructors; we vary on personality and ride style. One class can be filled with techno beats and another could be the good old rock and roll or today’s top hits. If you love music, you will find the ride very motivating as you pedal to the rhythm of the beat. You will experience a warm up, the body of the ride, and a finish with cool down and stretching.
Find Your Group
I have observed in many of my classes comradery with the other riders. They keep coming and challenging themselves no matter their gender, fitness level or age. The social benefits of indoor cycling for riders can be more than just a place to meet and be with other people who enjoy cycling. Not only will you get to know the friends in class, but you may even take other classes together. Habitual physical exercise is shown to benefit the emotional well-being of older adults, as it does for everyone.
The amazing thing about indoor cycling is that it can benefit participants in a number of ways:
● Muscular rehabilitation with low impact
● Cardiovascular workout
● Cross-training for a triathlon
● Improve endurance
You can vary your workload appropriately daily depending on what is going on with your body. It has actually been shown that when we work together in an indoor cycling class we get the physical benefits as well as a positive mood created which enriches the mind and lifts the spirit. The improved function of the mind and spirit can, in turn, motivate someone to exercise more. My best classes are always the ones where I can tell I not only provided a good physical workout, but something for the mind and spirit as well.
It’s never too late to try an indoor cycling or spin class. I have the pleasure of having my mom and dad attend my cycle classes. My dad took my class for the first time this year at 68 years young with a double knee replacement. He peddled next to my mom the entire class and paced himself. He felt successful and accomplished, not to mention he was proud of completing a cycle class! Now he understands my passion for indoor cycle and he left class with a big grin, feeling accomplished and buoyant from the good tunes! He also let me know he was in a better mood that entire day.
The Right Gear for Your Ride
What should you bring to class with you? Do you need to wear cycle shorts? While cycle shorts are not required,.you should wear comfortable bottoms that won’t ride up as you peddle. Wear fitness tops that will help absorb the sweat and firm-soled athletic shoes or cycle shoes with SPD or universal clips. If you only ride indoors, they will last a very long time. While you don’t have to have cycle shoes, they definitely improve the cycle experience and help you ride more efficiently in and out of the saddle. You might want to grab some towels and definitely bring some form of hydration to sip on throughout the ride. Cycling class is an intense form of cardio and results in a good amount of perspiration for the average person.
Indoor cycle is an impactful way to meet the psychosocial and physical needs for people that are new to physical fitness or a seasoned veteran to exercise. The saying “move it or lose it” is true! Hope to see you in class soon! Ride on...
"I’m on a bike that goes nowhere but it takes me everywhere I want to go!” Sherri, Indoor Cycling Instructor
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