CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
I'd like to know if someone who is over the hill and semiactive could get through a spinning class in one piece. Everything I hear about it intimidates me, like it is a killer class that leaves you sore and dripping with sweat. I need something that will make me work, and I like the idea of a class situation, but am not into torturous workouts. Would you recommend? -- Janet
The answer is a firm yes. You can definitely do it. Unfortunately for spinning, it seems as if the only thing we hear is how strenuous it is and that you need to be some kind of superstar athlete to get through it. While this can be one person's experience in a spin class, the intensity lies in the hands of the spinner. I really believe it is these misconceptions that keep many from jumping on a bike and giving it a try.
Spinning is a group cycling experience that builds a foundation of muscular and cardiovascular endurance on specially designed stationary bikes. A spin coach motivates you with great music and cues you when to increase or decrease resistance.
Typically, there will be pace changes -- for example, standing up on hill climbs followed by recovery spins -- that makes this an interval training class. Interval training conditions your heart and lungs faster than any other type of aerobic class, but when done on land, it can be difficult or even detrimental for someone who has age-related joint pain. This is why spinning, in an interval format, can be a beneficial rather than a killer class for you.
Benefits of taking a spin are:
Spinning is both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance over an extended period of time. Heart health is an obvious benefit, but as you work harder, you'll also learn breath control, which can increase the capacity and efficiency of your lungs.