Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spinning for a healthier tomorrow

As Lance Armstrong cycles throughout numerous countries and hillsides for the fight against cancer, many Americans are also fighting the battle of the bulge through cycling, but with a few modifications.

When you enter the Pedal Spin studio in Rancho Cucamonga it appears to be a simple gym room: wooden floors, bright wall colors, mirrors throughout the room, and small cubbies. But, when the lights dim a whole different scene unfolds.

Cyndi Lauper’s familiar song, “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun” takes over the sound system and multicolored lights begin to flash on the floor. I am on a bicycle but it feels more like a club. The instructor, a petite woman in a bright shirt with the word “spinaholic” across it faces the group of exercise enthusiasts. Some stragglers still enter the room, a little groggy in the early morning, to join the group of “professional” spinners and new comers. Many are dressed in cycle gear, others in everyday running outfits, but they are all here for the same reason, to get their hearts beating to the music.

Spin classes have become a craze throughout America. From large gyms in New York city lofts to a dozen bikes in a brick covered building in California, thousands are drawn to this form of exercise.

The Mayo Clinic confirms that regular high intensity cardio exercising like spinning will improve moods, sleep and manage chronic disease. Spin has joined yoga on the platform of stress relieving exercise. WebMD’s Health and Fitness Journal rated spin classes in the top twenty for stress relief and optimal health.

A mix of music keeps the ride upbeat.

When I spin, which I do two to three times a week, it is like I am not even working out at all. The song selection throughout the hour ride makes time fly by, I barely realize I have ridden over five miles at the end of each session. Each song is pared perfectly with the intensity of each resistance level, I feel like there is background music to my life as I ride. Many people spin because of the music selection, each instructor has their own mix to mask the intensity of the workout.

“ I can sum this up by just saying that it is healthy, smart and it keeps your heart pumpin’,” said spin instructor Cheryl Gordon of Rancho Cucamonga.

Gordon calls out each rider by name during her class, encouraging them through the class. Most of the attendees view her as more of a friend than an instructor. “Don’t touch that resistance, push through guys, come on,” yells Gordon whose passion is to make every person inspired, motivated and challenged through her workout.

My heart is beating through my chest as body heat consumes my whole self. I sing along to Freddie Mercury as my legs quicken to keep up with the pace of "Bohemian Rhapsody". To my right, a pregnant woman paces to the slow off beats while to my left, a man in spandex races to his finish line. There is no exact “type” of individual who spins. It is a place to commune together, and when you visit you will see everyone helps each other out. It is as if pedal spin is more of a therapeutic center than a workout room.

“ You always need to change up your routine for optimal health and fitness, I started to spin to do that for me,” said Denice Higgins of Alta Loma.

Higgins has suffered from a heart condition since her early 20s and has found it hard to really exercise in any medium without making the rhythms of her heart out of sync.

“After six months of spinning I now use it as my primary workout,” Higgins said. “My heart condition is a bit hard to work with at times but spin allows me to control my own intensity without loosing momentum. It is a great stress reliever, if you feel worried or frustrated just push it harder during a great song, I sing a lot of the time,” she added.

Many of the studios like pedal spin allow the first ride free to new comers. While also having many discounted packages for students and seniors, the studio is willing to work with any type of income to give people the workout they need.

I find myself smiling despite the burning feeling in my legs and the sweat on my brow. It is as if the songs bring back memories and make the workout more fun than most. It leaves me rejuvenated and fresh, ready to tackle the rest of my school year and the hardships that may lay ahead.

“ This is my fountain of youth,” Gordon said. “I eat right and exercise, this is what keeps me going. I am turning forty-one soon and I have never felt more alive.”

1 comment:

  1. Great post: I think spin class is very for you. Thanks for the great resource.