Group indoor cycling, also called spinning, is one of the most popular classes offered at gyms and health clubs. Led by an instructor, participants go on a virtual outdoor bike ride, which may include steep climbs, valleys, straightaways and finish lines. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, use these tips to get started.
• Talk to your doctor. Spinning classes tend to be high intensity and very challenging. This makes them a good choice if you’re already quite fit, but not necessarily a great option if you’ve been sedentary and are just now starting an exercise program. This is especially true if you’re middle-aged or older. If you’re a fitness newbie or you have chronic conditions that might make spinning difficult, talk to your doctor before you take a class.
If you’re not quite ready for spinning, you can get yourself in shape by doing a few weeks of cycling training on your own. When you’re training, rotate between high-intensity and leisurely speeds.
• Dress for comfort. Some riders wear padded bike shorts to protect against chafing and discomfort, as well as indoor cycling shoes that attach to the bike pedals for maximum power and efficiency. However, special equipment isn’t required. Choose workout clothes and athletic shoes that are comfortable for you.
• Set your seat. The height of the bike seat is very important. If the seat is too high or too low, you could injure yourself. If you’re having trouble adjusting your bike seat to the appropriate height, ask your instructor for help.
• Stay hydrated. Bring water. You’ll need to drink plenty of water before, during and after your indoor cycling workouts.
• Exercise at your own pace. Although other riders may be pedaling furiously all around you, listen to your body and exercise to your fitness level. Focus on keeping a smooth cadence, or pedal stroke. Also be sure you know how to adjust the resistance of the bike’s flywheel. You can continually adjust this resistance throughout class to make pedaling easier or more difficult.
• End on a good note. Pedal at a lower resistance for the last few minutes and then stretch your legs, chest and back. It’s never a good idea to push yourself to the point of pain, even while cycling. If you need to slow down or take a break, do it.
Spinning can be an exhilarating workout! Many gyms offer beginner spinning classes or workshops. If you want to try spinning, an introductory class is a great place to start pedaling.