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Indoor Cycling and Spinning

Indoor cycling started in 1989 and spinning is still one of the most popular exercise classes at the gym. Maybe it's because you don't need special skills to participate; maybe it's because a 45 minutes class an burn 500 calories or more—a major but low-impact workout that suits people of all ages.

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The other benefits of cycling are the mental aspects of it: spinning classes offer videotaped rides with fantastic landscapes, soothing music and encouragement, all with the benefits of workout out in a group of likeminded exercisers.

Spinning includes a variety of riding, including hills and plains, which are simulated by increasing or decreasing the resistance of the special bike. It's a cardiovascular workout, which also exercises the lower body and builds endurance. When you first start spinning, be prepared to encounter some new sensations, especially around the rump. Bike seats are never that comfortable, and indoor cyclers deal with the new position by wearing padded bike shorts or maybe shorts under or over sweatpants. Sweating is part of the experience too, and cyclers are expected to bring bottled water to drink during the workout. It's important to stay hydrated: otherwise, you may suffer from muscle cramps from loss of fluids.

If you're not starting out with a class of other beginners, you should still expect a little extra help from your instructor. You should be taught the best way to adjust the bike seat and handlebars so they'll fit your body correctly. A proper fit on the bike makes your workout more effective and reduces your chance of injury.

Everyone agrees that the first few cycling classes are uncomfortable, and that you need to stick with it for half a dozen classes before you get used to the feelings. One potential hazard is your inner competitor: there are some people who can't stand it if others are cycling faster or with more resistance, and these folks are most likely to suffer strains by trying to keep up with more advanced cyclers. Don't let this happen to you! Take it easy while you're learning and remember that you're using muscle groups that haven't been getting this kind of exercise. Be patient with yourself and don't try to compete with other people. After all, it's not like you're actually going anywhere!

Start with one or two spinning classes a week, but don't overdo it. Keep on working out in other ways weight training, yoga classes or swimming, and add to your spinning gradually. Pay attention to the way you hold your neck and your upper back; your knees shouldn't be locked, and you'll probably need to remind yourself to keep your shoulders relaxed. We've all seen bike races on TV where the pros are hunched over their handlebars: you're not supposed to look like that when spinning!

Your joints are at some risk in indoor cycling, so make sure you aren't putting additional pressure on your wrists, elbows or knees when you're going for the burn. Try to keep things loose and easy, and if you find yourself straining to go ever faster or harder, get some perspective and ease up on the burn.

Continue reading the next aerobics article on jazzercise

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