Benefits of Indoor Cycling: What You Need to Know

What is Indoor Cycling?

Over 20 years ago Johnny G, a South African cyclist and former professional cyclist, introduced Spinning® to the world. (Spinning is now a Registered Trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.) He transformed the stationary bike you see sitting in the gym into a group fitness program called indoor cycling.

What is indoor cycling? Indoor cycling is an organized activity with a group fitness format. Classes focus on endurance, strength, interval, and high intensity training using the stationary bike. The indoor cycle that evolved from the stationary bike is designed with a heavy weighted flywheel, chain drive, and friction resistance offering an experience similar to that of a road bike.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) if you are looking for a cardiovascular workout that offers a large expenditure of energy with minimal impact on your hips, knees and ankles, indoor cycling is an excellent option in both areas. With a little bit of knowledge you can ensure that an indoor cycling class is the most challenging workout of your week and also a lot of fun!

Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling is similar to other exercise equipment you find in the gym with regard to health benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) specifically mentions the following fitness benefits with regard to indoor cycling:

1. Low Impact

Indoor cycling is a low-impact activity.  If cycling is done correctly, there is minimal impact on the hip, knee, and ankle joints. A person, whether recovering from injury or not, avoids the pounding associated with other activities such as running.

2. Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance refers to the ability of a muscle to continually and repeatedly exert force over an extended period of time. When you are pedaling against resistance in indoor cycling you increase the endurance of the muscles in the legs to include the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, and the calf muscles. Working these muscles also helps to strengthen surrounding bones, tendons, and ligaments increasing overall strength so that activities of daily living can be performed with ease.

3. Stress Levels

We’ve all heard about the runner's high. An indoor cycling class can provide that same rush of adrenaline and a release of happy mood-inducing neurotransmitters known as endorphins. Endorphins tend to create feelings of euphoria, lower stress levels, and enhance the body's immune response.

4. Cardiovascular

ACSM recommends that healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be achieved through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). An indoor cycling class can keep your heart rate well within a vigorous range for approximately 45-60 minutes. As with all continuous cardiovascular activity, an indoor cycling program can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease.

The YMCA offers numerous morning and evening group cycling classes each week.  Come check one out!