The Benefits of Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling can be an ideal option to keep you pedaling for fitness, fun and a positive attitude during winter weather conditions or anytime.
Indoor cycling can be done on a cycling trainer at home or on a spinning bike at your local fitness club. A cycling trainer is a stationary device that attaches to the rear wheel of your bicycle and allows you to pedal without forward movement. You can increase the resistance on the rear wheel to make it more challenging to pedal in an effort to increase your strength, endurance and muscle tone. The spinning bike is a stationary bike specifically designed with the front wheel turning as you pedal at varying speeds, degrees of inclination, and resistance levels. There are also devices attached to monitor your speed, tempo, heart rate and calories burned. Spinning is most often part of an instructor guided workout session.
Whichever method works best for you, indoor cycling is one of the few activities that combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise in the same motions. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy while indoor cycling:
Endurance – Cardio-vascular system
Indoor cycling can be a vigorously sustained exercise that tasks the body to function more optimally. In doing so, the cardio-vascular system (heart and lungs) is engaged and following a steady training schedule your endurance to ride further can be significantly improved.
This low-impact, non-load bearing, exercise is a great way to build muscle strength in your core, gluteus maximus (butt), hamstrings and quadriceps (thighs), calves and tendons. Increased strength can help you climb and sustain your bike rides over time.
Depending on length of time, amount of resistance and intensity of indoor cycling, you can get your heart rate up to 70-80% of maximum. This is an ideal range for burning calories and fat reduction. As much as 600-1000 calories per/hour can be burned. Increasing your metabolism and reducing weight can increase your bicycling speed and lighten your carrying load.
Indoor cycling helps promote an essential element of bicycling – the pedal stroke. The stationary aspect of indoor cycling increases the attention on the efficiency of the pedal stroke – otherwise called spinning. An effective spinning technique aids the bicyclists’ ability to climb, sustain an efficient cadence over distance, and reduce the muscular effort often used with an ineffective pedal stroke.
Mood, Memory and Learning Enhancement
Exercise is the single most important thing you can do for your brain’s mood, memory and learning, according to John Ratey, Harvard Medical School Psychiatrist. Indoor cycling increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the production of brain chemicals, neuron and blood vessel growth, and new neuron connections that can help counter depression, mitigate stress, and improve learning. Oxygen carrying blood also enhances the brain’s ability for focused attention and concentration in all aspects of our life.
Indoor cycling stimulates production of the brain’s “happy” chemicals; serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that can improve our mood and lift us up from the effects of depression and stress. This mood enhancement has been referred as the “runner’s high”.
The “runner’s high” sensation can evoke a feeling of aliveness, openness and more connected with self, others and nature. The community aspect of the spinning class can also provide an important social connection with other like-committed individuals.
When we experience the “runner’s high” and see our body transforming, we feel good about ourselves, and this can help us move more confidently in the world – personally and professionally.
Indoor cycling at home or at a spinning class has many benefits that can be enjoyed year round. Try it out.
Tara Wallace of www.spliefitness.com assisted in this article.