Pedaling is an easy, low impact and joint friendly activity for people of all ages, sizes, and even individuals with disabilities. There is a myriad of health benefits ranging from weight loss, cardio vascular improvement, better coordination, less stress to disease prevention and enhanced brainpower. It is good for the environment, fun, and improves athletic performance in other sports.
Outdoor cycling continues to be one of the most well liked individual and family activity. Indoor cycling, called SPINNING, has become incredibly popular over the past two decade and for good reason besides the fact that it is independent of weather. The fundamental premise to weight loss is to burn more calories or to reduce the number you consume through your diet. Cycling, indoors and outdoors, is an incredible way to lose weight because it burns significant calories.
Spinning and cycling strategies
Take your time and feel comfortable:
SPINNING – classes are formatted by the instructor to simulate outdoor cycling, but with a few twists. Since it is indoors, there are no rules to the road, but there are some preliminary considerations. Make sure the bike is fitted to your height, arm and leg length. Indoor bikes have a number of adjustments that can accommodate almost any body type including saddle position and angle. Enlist the help of the instructor or visit a bike shop to make sure you are comfortable and to avoid injury, and if necessary purchase a cushioned seat cover. Similar to any other activity, it is important that you take some time to adapt to the demands on your body and drink plenty of fluids during and after the ride. It is a rigorous workout and requires moderate levels of coordination, balance and core strength.
Improve your skill:
Although riding a bike is a skill that most of us learn as children, a SPINNING class involves a number of riding maneuvers, hand and body positioning, as well as cadence and intensity phases. Each class incorporates a warm-up, climbs, sprints, seated and standing routines, and a cool down, but your resistance level is independent of the other participants and can be adjusted at any time by simply turning the resistance control device. Fast paced/high cadence pedaling takes some practice at high and low resistance levels. The instructor may suggest a number/level of resistance, but fortunately, you control your destiny even though the instructor calls out the upcoming changes. Check your gyms schedule for a level that you feel suits you best.
The American Heart Association recommends “at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes” for cardiovascular health (AHA. 2013). The average SPINNING class lasts an hour with the cardio portion taking up seventy-five percent (75%) of the time. Therefore, all that is required is two or three classes per week, or two or three hours, to reap the rewards, especially if you participate in other forms of exercise. If you prefer to get outside, try for the same amount of time but alternate your effort between fast cadences and resistance levels. Outdoor riding also facilitates prolonged rides, which build your overall endurance. Perhaps you live in an area with hills or bridges, which would allow you to capitalize on the cardiovascular challenge.
One of the best ways to burn calories is through interval training, which is inherent in SPINNING. The average calorie expenditure during an indoor class is 650 per hour. Research indicates that interval training, or alternating between high intensity periods with low intensity recovery periods burns more calories than steady state/prolonged cardio especially as your level of fitness improves. The premise of the variations in position and resistance variations mimics the changes encountered during outdoor rides: climbs, hills, sprints, and descents. Your heart rate will fluctuate during the ride, improving your aerobic capacity. Cycling uses some of the biggest muscles in the body, recruiting the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and your abdominals as well as upper body muscles during hills and climbs. In addition to burning calories, it builds mitochondria, the energy producers in our cells, and our blood capillaries, enhancing our ability to use the oxygen we take in and remove the carbon dioxide we are producing.
Compared to other activities, time goes by quickly during a ride, even when the going gets tough. It is easy to reach distances of 10 or 20 miles during an outdoor ride. In a SPINNING class, the music, the instructor, the participants help with motivation – all it takes is one more song or one more sprint and then the class is over. Most classes provide a cool-down portion and stretches. If you are riding on your own, then be sure to stretch your entire body after you are done. Finally, replenish your body with water, healthful grains, complex carbohydrates, and some protein to allow your body to recuperate. ENJOY THE RIDE!