SAN DIEGO - Some call it torturous, others exhilarating. But there’s no denying its popularity – some see indoor cycling, commonly referred to as "Spinning," as the biggest thing to hit the fitness industry since step aerobics. What sets these classes apart from the usual boredom of stationary cycling is the visual imagery provided by instructors. Participants are led on a "virtual" outdoor road race complete with hills, valleys, straight-ways and finish lines.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers these helpful tips to make your first cycling experience a positive one:
- Spend some time on a stationary bike - endurance, built by interspersed high- and low-intensity cycling, will get you ready to join an indoor cycling class in a few short weeks.
- Make sure to bring some essentials to your first class, including padded bike shorts to reduce chaffing and discomfort, and a full water bottle.
- Ask your teacher about his or her training. In addition to specific training or certification in group cycling, instructors should have primary certification from an organization such as ACE or ACSM, and a group-exercise teaching background.
- Know what your normal rate of exertion is before taking a class (heart-rate zone) and make sure you stay within a safe zone during the class. Or better yet, wear a heart-rate monitor to track your exertion. Monitoring your rate of perceived exertion also is an excellent way to prevent overexertion.
- Above all, concentrate on exercising at your own pace. Don’t be intimidated by the high speeds and furious intensity of others around you in class. Listen to your body, adjust the tension and speed accordingly, and don’t be afraid to take a break by pedaling more slowly when necessary.