Spinning Your Wheels and Getting Great Results

Written by Libby Norris

Spinning your wheels and getting great results

Indoor cycling classes were introduced to the fitness market over a decade ago. Being new and different, they were an instant hit. Cycling classes were not just a passing fad, however, and have actually been consistently increasing in popularity because of the many positive features and benefits.

Indoor cycling is easy to follow. For those people who get tied up in the footwork and choreography of step and aerobics, cycling is a great option for a group workout that doesn't require a dance degree! If you're new to a fitness club, this provides an opportunity to increase your comfort, confidence and fitness level before trying out one of the other classes on the schedule.

You can customize your indoor cycle workout for all fitness levels. Although there are often different levels of intensity noted for cycling classes, it's very easy to modify the intensity of the workout and still stay up with the class. What makes a cycling workout more intense is the resistance that you add to your bike. You do need to maintain some resistance on the bike so that you are peddling safely, but you can easily reduce the resistance, for example, on a tough hill climbing drill. This will reduce the intensity and yet allow you to continue with the drill and the group.

Indoor cycling is progressive. Because you are in charge of your own resistance on your bike, you can start at a moderate level of intensity and gradually increase as you become more familiar with the class and as your fitness levels increases. One of the best ways to monitor your intensity is to keep it comfortable but challenging. That measure will always grow with you as it will take more effort to keep it challenging as you become more fit.

Indoor cycling can be an intense workout and calorie burner. Once you become comfortable with the workout, cycling can be one of the highest calorie burning classes you can choose. Most classes are interval training, which means that the intensity, the resistance and the speed vary throughout the workout. Interval training is a very effective way to burn calories and keep your workouts effective and efficient.

Cycle classes are high-energy and motivating. Whether you're just starting out or you're a fitness veteran, cycling classes can provide a dynamic and motivating workout. A big part of cycling classes is the music and the motivation. Instructors tend to choose songs they are excited to share with the group and the instruction focuses on coaching you through drills and adding motivation during the tough parts. Because everyone is stationary on their bikes, it's also much easier to share a laugh or encourage the person next to you as well.

To make sure your cycle class is a safe and positive experience, here are a few tips and hints:

-      Take breaks. Rest is as important as the work. Taking breaks when you are instructed and when you need will allow you to work harder during the drills and to gradually increase your fitness level.


-      Sitting can be tough. Make sure you get the proper guidance on setting up your bike seat and handle bars to avoid excessive forward flexion or leaning too far for the handle bars. Sit up frequently throughout the class as a posture break.


-      Cycling indoors is different than outdoors. The primary reason for indoor cycling is for fitness. You don't have to be in an aerodynamic position or expose yourself to some of the body positions that may be necessary if you were road or mountain biking.

Be resistant! Although you can vary the tension, you need to maintain enough resistance so that your cadence (the rate at which you are pedaling) is controlled. Riding too fast without enough resistance can be tough on your knees. You can also get too much of a good thing. Too much resistance can also be tough on your body. You should always be able to peddle through the complete circular motion smoothly and with control.

If you've been looking for a fast and efficient workout, cycling can be a low-impact and high-energy option. The music and the motivation will certainly help time fly by and you can be guaranteed to get a great workout.

Always consult your health care professional before making any significant changes in your dietary habits or your physical activity routines.

*©, 2013 Trademark of Kellogg Company used under license by Kellogg NA Co

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