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Why Indoor Cycling Classes Are A Great Cardio Workout

Jan 19, 2008
Soon after joining my local health club late last summer, I began to look for an appropriate cardio workout to help me shed some excess weight that added up over the last few years. My goal was to find something lower impact that I'd enjoy and stay with. At the same time, I knew that my high impact style from 20 years ago was a thing of the past. While I can still jog and climb the Stairmaster, it was important to seek out a lower impact alternative.

My first order of business was finding a safe, effective cardio workout. The goal was a good workout I could do 2 or 3 times per week, but minus the joint jarring workouts I'd done 20 years ago, like jogging and the stairmaster for 45 minutes at a time. Oh and, by the way, could we make this workout somewhat enjoyable?

A short time after joining the health club, I began to notice the various aerobic class options. Some were as I remembered, while others were more intriguing. One type of class that caught my attention was an indoor cycling class. Although I've never been much of a bike rider, I did notice the folks who exited the spin class had gone through a challenging workout and were actually smiling as they exited!

The next day, I participated in my very first indoor cycling class. The instructor referred to the class as spin class and announced it to be one hour in duration. Truth be told, that hour flew by. I found the spin class to be challenging, enjoyable, and a very efficient cardio workout. Best of all, months later spin classes are an important part of my fitness routine. I've stuck with them, as they are low impact and actually an enjoyable way to spend an hour.

Despite me just discovering spin classes, they aren't new at all. In our class, we had students ranging in age from teenager to a few people in their 60's. These classes are flexible enough to be appropriate for all fitness levels. Our instructor told us we typically burn several hundred calories per class, depending on our own exertion level.

Most spin classes are one hour in duration, offering plenty of time to warm up and reach what my instructer calls the "fat burning zone". Heart rate monitors are available, which allow participants to see how hard they're working. A good instructor will explain the nuances of a typical class, as well as helping newer participants become acclimated.

As for the class itself, you'll cycle on a stationary bike which is specially suited for spin classes. Adjusting the bike to your height and comfort level takes only a minute or two. Similar to other aerobic classes, you'll cycle along to music, provided by the instructor, with slower songs for warm up and cool down, and more energetic music during periods of higher exertion.

During my first few spin classes, I found it particularly helpful to be able to work at my own pace and not feel out of place compared to more experienced participants. In fact, spin instructors are specifically trained to emphasize this point. The instructor wants to motivate participants to challenge themselves and improve, but not to the point of overexertion.

All in all, spin classes have proven to be a very effective part of my workout routine. Even two classes per week have given me a significantly greater fitness level and loss of weight. Combined with other forms of exercise like moderate resistance training, indoor cycling classes can help you reach your desired level of fitness. Don't be afraid to try a spin class at your local health club.
About the Author
Jim Hofman enjoys maintaining and improving his fitness level with low impact, effective cardio workouts. One of Jim's favorite forms of working out is indoor cycling, due to its efficient fat burning and cardio benefits. Learn more about indoor cycling and spin classes here!
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