Spinning exercise offers a great cardiovascular workout for the body and is also good for optimising fat burning. Here's a quick guide on why starting out in spinning could be right for you, and what a typical class might involve.

1. Builds leg strength

Using a bike can help tone your quad, calf and gluteal (buttocks) muscles as well as strengthen your tendons, without any load bearing. If you’re looking to improve your legs the spinning bike is the perfect solution.

2. Optimises fat burning

Fat burning takes place when your heart rate is at around 65-75% of your maximum. You can measure your heart rate manually or by using a monitor, which can be linked up to a stationary bike in the gym. Many gym bikes also have digital displays that display your heart rate if you place your hands on the sensors. By measuring your heart rate correctly you can then use the bike to help you burn fat and so lose weight. It’s particularly easy to keep at the correct level on a stationary bike and achieve the 20 minutes needed to see some real benefits.

3. Great for working 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 the bike that works the heart and lungs slowly and to a pre-determined level. 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 so reduces risk of injury

Another advantage of cycling 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. Interval training

The stationary bikes in your local gym will most probably have pre-programmed interval sessions to follow with gradual increases in the intensity level over time. If you’re using a bike outdoors then the same applies.

All you need to do is decide on which sections of your route you will cycle harder and for how long. Stick to the same routine and increase your intensity, using your heart rate monitor as a guide.

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.