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Give Indoor Group Cycling a Try

Indoor cycling classes are a great form of exercise, because they benefit individuals with all levels of fitness. There's no impact on the joints, and no need to learn tricky dance moves.

These classes are frequently referred to as 'spinning' classes, but Spinning is a registered trademark of the original organized group cycling classes. Referring to all group cycling as 'spinning' is similar to calling all soda 'coke' or all tissues 'kleenex'. To confuse the issue some more, experienced cyclists also refer to using a high rpm in an lower gear as 'spinning'. Whew!

The classes are led by an instructor and utilize up-tempo music for additional inspiration. The instructor will indicate the speed and resistance you should be using.

The cycle must be set up properly in order to get the full benefit of the class. Some tips:

  • Position the seat so there is a slight bend in the knee when you have the heel of your foot on the pedal. Placing the heel on the pedal is only for checking this adjustment. Don't pedal the bike with your heels.

  • Keep the handlebars even with or slightly below the seat. If you feel any back discomfort, make whatever adjustments are necessary.

  • When in the riding position, the elbows should be bent slightly and when you have both pedals at the same height, the knees should be directly over each pedal. Adjust the seat back or forth to achieve this position.

There will be a knob or lever below the handlebars that controls the resistance.

The class will begin with an easy warm up. After the warm up, the session begins with interval work and simulating climbing hills. Intervals require fast (spinning) pedal rpm's, and for hill climbs, the instructor will have you increase the cycle's resistance to simulate an actual climb.

The idea is to get a good workout for your fitness level - not to go faster or harder than the person next to you, who may be a very experienced cyclist.

The duration of the class is usually around 45 minutes, and usually includes the warmup, at least two hill climbs and two sets of intervals, and a cool down of five minutes or so, ending with some stretching.

Indoor group cycling can be a fantastic workout that, performed on a regular basis, will help to improve your endurance, strength, and overall fitness. Give it a try!

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