The Art of Spinning

spinningWords by Henri Fisher

I have enjoyed my five-year transition into cycling after being introduced to Indoor Cycling or Spinning over four years ago. Since several of my friends had added the biking routine to their daily workouts, I had always been intrigued. But of course there were reservations upon taking my first class. Yet, I decided to give it a try through the encouragement of a colleague. Before participating in my first class I had no idea how much intensity would be endured. The instructor was challenging and demanded the same level of energy from everyone. Though I thought I was in moderate physical shape, this initiation was very challenging to say the least. However, I continued going the rest of that summer and later that fall I purchased a road bike to help improve my ride endurance.

spinning (1)Some exercises are dreadful while others are addictive. I have found Spinning addictive since it offers an immense cardiovascular burn and has been a key in my lifestyle change that has resulted in a loss of over one hundred pounds between Spinning and riding outdoors. Spinning is a cardiovascular cycling workout on a stationary bike in which the tension can be increased or decreased, mileage and lapsed time are kept by a small computer, and calories burned and heart rate can be tracked by using an additional, inexpensive heart rate monitor. Unlike stationary bikes of old, Spinning developed as a class in which certified spinners taught routines ranging from strength and endurance training to calorie burners.

Some Spinning classes today still have live trainers to encourage spinners and lead them through a heart-healthy workout. Other Spinning programs follow video instruction. I am not going to say when I first started Spinning it wasn’t challenging. However, as I became accustomed to the workout and saw the pounds begin to melt away faster than they had on any other cardio equipment I became incessantly hooked. A good 30-minute workout on a Spinning Cycle can burn as much as 500 calories. Even at challenging levels other cardio machines such as an elliptical cannot burn that much in such a short period of time. I usually spin for 60 minutes while burning from 800 to 1,000 calories.

Spinning_Fit_FathersWhen considering the benefits of Spinning to my health and lifestyle there are at least several reasons to adopt the exercise.

  • Spinning is primarily an anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance over an extended period of time. However, there are also aerobic benefits. Planned Spinning programs include both endurance and cardiovascular training during the workout. At several points you may be required to break your steady pace and speed up to increase your heart rate.
  • Heart health is an obvious factor, as is lung capacity. As you work harder during your cycle you will learn to work on controlled breathing. This may help with anxiety and lower your heart rate when put into a situation where physical exertion begins to take your breath away.
  • The warm-up and cool-down are great ways to relax. Before and after putting my body through a strenuous spin, I close my eyes, work just a little, and allow the physical exertion to become a catharsis for releasing pent-up emotions.
  • Spinning also builds mental strength. There will always be good and bad days when you walk in a class. The important note is to carry through with your regular routine. Push through difficult times, push through uphill climbs, and push through endurance training.

Self-discipline of the mind gained from Spinning can be applied to all areas of life. It is most beneficial to me in areas of self-control and confidence. Spinning certainly helps develop a positive “can do” attitude!