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Introduction to spinning exercise

A guide to the health benefits of spinning exercise

Studio cycling or 'spinning' is a high-energy, studio-based fitness session that can burn hundreds of calories. Here's our guide to spinning classes and how spinning could benefit your own fitness training.

What spinning classes involve:

In a group, people work out together in a spinning class for around 45 minutes. The spinning instructor and  'classmates' surrounding you motivate you to such extremes that you find yourselves taking your fellow ‘spinners’ on in a sprint or hill climb. You have a resistance dial that you increase and decrease, making the class as hard, or as easy, as you wish.

A general good level of fitness is required for these classes. There are often beginners, intermediate and advanced classes in each program so check when booking that you have the right spin class for you. It is suggested that you attend a few beginner spin classes first as spinning bikes do take some getting used to and your first spin session may be more than you had originally bargained for.

Benefits of spinning classes

The benefits of a spinning class are typical of many forms of cycling. A spinning class will bring the following fitness benefits:

1. Builds leg strength
Using a bike can help tone your quad, calf and glut (buttock) muscles as well as strengthen your tendons, without any load bearing. If you’re looking to improve your legs, the bike is the perfect solution.

2. Optimises fat burning
Fat burning takes place when your heart rate is at around 65-75 per cent of your maximum.You can measure your heart rate manually or by using a monitor, which can be linked up to the bike in the gym.

3. Great exercise to work the cardiovascular system
Your heart and lungs make up your cardiovascular system and the fitter you become, the more efficiently they work. This means a better flow of blood through your body and a corresponding increase in the speed with which the oxygen is pumped through your system. Your fitness level depends on how well this process is carried out. It is made more effective by using equipment such as a spinning bike that works the heart and lungs. By increasing your training on the bike over time, there is an associated improvement in the performance of your cardiovascular system and therefore your fitness level.

4. Non load-bearing exercise so reduces risk of injury
Another advantage of spinning is that it is a non-load bearing form of exercise. By that we mean that your whole body is not being supported during your training as it is when for example, you run. The very action of sitting means that a degree of pressure is being taken off your joints, meaning there is a reduced chance of injury.

5. Good exercise for interval training
The stationary spinning bikes in your class are ideal for interval sessions with bursts of intensity being applied during the spinning class. Your class leader will decided on the intervals when the extra efforts are to be applied.

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