Weighing In: Why Not Spin?

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Leah Polakoff and Caitlyn Kronket will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.

After spending five minutes on an indoor stationary bike for the first time, sweat was rolling off my body and accumulating in a puddle on the floor. I was huffing, puffing and gasping for air. It took every ounce of energy left in my body to respond to my trainer, who was wondering if I had Asthma.

That first bike ride was horrible. But it opened my eyes to a whole new way of working out. Who knew riding a bike could be so difficult?

Cycling, whether indoor or outdoor, offers an excellent workout. Going at an intense pace on a course (or in a class) that includes hills and speed work can help you tone your thighs, rear end and abs. Not to mention, cycling can burn up to 11 calories a minute. Goodbye holiday food, hello hot bod!

Because it’s a low-impact activity, cycling is great for athletes who have joint problems or knee pain. Unlike most cardio-heavy exercises, like running or jumping, cycling places little stress on your knees or other injury prone areas, while still providing an extremely difficult workout. Just make sure your bike is fitted to your body and adjusted to your height to prevent injuries.

Cycling is a workout that can be adjusted to fit every fitness level. Whether you’re a workout newbie or an experienced gym-goer, adjusting the resistance on the bike can increase or decrease the difficulty of your ride.  As you become more advanced, you will ride with higher resistance and faster speeds.

Penn State Fitness Instructor Emily Stubler says that cycling offers a challenge every time.

“My favorite part of cycling is that regardless of what each persons’ goals are, they can all leave feeling successful and getting a great workout,” Stubler says. “There is never a point where you stop growing as an athlete in the cycling studio.”

Being on a bike allows you to push yourself not only physically, but also mentally. Numerous studies have shown that cycling is good for mental health.

Penn State Club Cycling Treasurer, Brett Wachtendorf, says that he gets a sense of freedom when riding on the road.

“When I first started riding, I rode a lot by myself. I’d go on these 50 mile rides and be alone for 2.5 or more hours, and I’d get this overwhelming sense of freedom. It’s hard to describe exactly how it feels.”

So what are you waiting for? Head over to White Building today and hit up a spin class. The trainers will help you find your inner motivation.

“The coolest part about cycling is that the patrons need to be internally motivated in order to achieve all of these goals,” Stubler says. “When they leave feeling successful, they can thank themselves because they had motivated themselves enough to add the resistance, ass the pace and work hard.”

Here’s a link to the White Building Fitness Class Schedule– happy spinning!

Photo by Tyler Hankins

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