Spinning 101….Make the most out of this great exercise!

If you have never tried a spinning (indoor cycling) class then it might be time to see what all the fuss is about. Spinning is a fast paced group exercise class with black lights and loud “get you moving” music. It is a great calorie burner and motivator to push yourself that extra step. I am a huge fan for many reasons:

1. It’s an all weather sport : Since it is indoors you can enjoy it year round!

2. 45 min burns about 400-500 calories : A challenging class can burn major calories just make sure you push yourself to get the full benefits

3. You adjust the intensity – The wheel or lever on your bike allows you to control the bike’s resistance and how hard you are working.  This is great for beginners and more advanced riders and lets you have a more personalized workout.

4. No impact : If you are like me and suffer from periodic knee and foot problems, this low impact alternative is a great way to keep your fitness level up when impact isn’t an option.

5. Fun group atmosphere : While on the main floor of your gym you probably don’t hear people just randomly yelling out “woo-hoo” and “yeah!”, it is quite common in a spinning class. Verbal participation is not required, but even being around others that enthusiastic can keep you motivated.

Before you go to your first spinning class, there are a few things that are helpful to know:

1. Ask the instructor to help you adjust your bike according to your height. If the seat is too far forward or the handle bars on too high or too low it can make fun an uncomfortable ride. The main thing to remember is to make sure your knees are still slightly bent when your foot is at the lowest point of the circle otherwise you could hurt your knees.

2. Bring water and a towel! When the classes fill up (and they usually do) it gets very hot in there and water is a must. The bikes have special water bottle holders just like the outdoor  ones.

3. Learn the terms! There is a bit of lingo to learn in spinning.  There are 3 positions : position 1 is seated in the saddle (seat). Position 2 is standing making sure your hands are lightly on the bars and you are in the center of your bike. Position 3 is chest a little lower and hips back and hovering the saddle.

4. The room gets dark and the music can be loud! Most classes are in dim and sometimes even dark lighting which adds to the effect. Music is a huge part of spinning because it sets the pace  for the class, and it is usually pretty loud.

5. Find the right kind of instructor for you.  While you control your resistance the instructor can have a big impact on your class. Some are high energy and have you off  the saddle (seat) most of the time while others may enjoy more incorporating more hills. It is important to find an instructor who is motivating and picks music that gets you moving.

If you haven’t joined the spinning craze yet at least give it a try. When I first began I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but once I found the right instructors and learned more about it, I was hooked. It is a great addition to your current workouts and may just help you bust through that plateau that’s been holding you back.

Here are some other great articles on spinning:

http://bicycling.about.com/od/trainingandfitness/gr/spinning.htm

 

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1195

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