Spin cycle classes have quickly become a favorite workout activity among popular celebrities and online personalities. When you watch YouTube videos of the ongoing classes, they seem to be incredibly fun with loud thumping music, energetic trainers yelling at people, and a bunch of men and women cycling their lives away. Putting the fun aspect of it aside, what are the benefits of spin class?
In this article we are going to explore more about this form of exercise to find answers behind frequently asked questions such as ‘what are the benefits of a spin class?’, ‘what are the benefits of spin class on body and mind?’, and ‘are there any benefits of spin class weight loss?’, among others.
What Is A Spin Class?
Also known as studio cycling or indoor cycling, spin classes are a form of group exercise classes in which participants use stationary spin bikes as their main form of workout equipment. The classes are often led by a lead instructor who not only shows the class what moves to make, but also trains and encourages everyone to keep up and work out to burn calories.
Spin classes are also usually set to loud music which helps keep your heart pumping to help you keep moving. While the classes are often done in a group and in a gym setting, if you can afford a stationary bike, you can easily do an at-home spin class using resources found online on YouTube and other platforms.
What Are The Benefits Of A Spin Class For Weight Loss?
If you have been considering purchasing a bike for a home gym or partaking a class but are still on the fence about it, here are some benefits of spin class for weight loss that will convince you to finally take the plunge:
1. It can be done by anyone
While the design of the bike may make it look intimidating, it is just like riding a bicycle outside – albeit a little better since you do not have to worry about maintaining your balance to keep the bike straight.
2. It burns a lot of calories
When working out, we often look for the best exercise that will burn the most calories in the shortest time. If you are looking to lose weight then taking an indoor cycling class may just be the solution to your problems.
Some sources claim that you can burn up to 600 calories (if not more) in one class, while others claim that the number ranges between 400 to 1000 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of the ride and how much you weigh.
3. It is a unique experience
One of the reasons why people often fall out working out is the routine of it. Doing the same kinds of workouts over and over becomes boring after a while and you eventually lose the motivation to do it.
One of the greatest benefits of spin class for weight loss is that it is almost a different experience every time you get to the gym. The music will always change from genre to genre (one day might be a pop playlist, the next rock, or EDM, etc.), the bike can also be set to different terrains to mimic working out outside, and the workouts are always set to different intensities. This makes it fun for everyone and you will always be looking forward to the next session.
4. It is a full-body workout
Indoor cycling does not only exercise your legs but it also works out your thighs, butt, and core.
5. It is a low impact workout
Unlike running, cycling is a low-impact workout that is safe for those with arthritis in their hips, knees, and ankles. It is also ideal for anyone who may be recovering from a joint injury.
6. It can help grow and sculpt your thighs and bum
While spinning is considered a full body workout most of the work in the class is done by your lower body, making it the perfect exercise to sculpt your glutes and muscles.
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7. Can help build muscle definition
This point ties in with the one above. If you have been looking to tone your calves, thighs, and glutes with something else other than the usual squats, lunges, and glute bridges, then indoor cycling is a great alternative workout.
8. Can improve your balance
Some of the more advanced spin classes call for complicated moves that can require you to ‘jog’ from the saddle. Such moves help improve your balance as you have to balance and stabilize yourself to keep moving and not fall off the machine.
What Are Health Benefits Of A Spin Class?
The benefits of spin class do not just end at weight loss. This workout also has other incredible benefits for your general health. Here are some health benefits of spin class:
It is great for your heart
Cycling is classified as a form of cardiovascular exercise and for good reason. Regular cycling, whether indoors or outside, stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In 2016, one study found that people who cycle regularly had about 15% fewer heart attacks than those who did not cycle at all.
It also helps to strengthen your heart muscles and to lower resting pulse – aka normal heart rate which ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. A lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.
It is good for your mental health
In 2018, one study found that cycling both indoors and outdoors was one of the best workouts that helped people deal with mental health issues such as stress and depression. The study that analyzed results from over 1 million people revealed that while all forms of exercise had some benefit towards mental health, team sports seemed to offer the most protection against bad mental health days.
Bike riding came second to soccer and other team sports with participants reporting experiencing 21.6% fewer bad mental health days when they went cycling. In 2004, another study revealed that aerobic activities can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety, which can further go towards preventing this feeling from developing into full-blown panic attacks or disorders (3).
Lower cholesterol levels
High levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body have again and again been proven to be fatal. When you have high cholesterol in your body, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can grow, preventing blood flow within your arteries. This puts you at a high risk of heart diseases such as stroke or heart attack.
The good news is that one of the best benefits of spin class is that it can help effectively lower cholesterol levels in the body. One 2016 study by the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that people who rode a bike to work were less likely to develop high cholesterol than those who used other means (1).
Helps with the management of diabetes
Physical activity and exercise are often recommended to people with diabetes to help them manage glycemic control and overall health. Taking a moderately paced spin class can be beneficial to a person suffering from this chronic illness. One study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that cycling at a moderate pace for an hour allows overweight people with diabetes to reduce their blood sugar levels by half for up to 24 hours after the exercise.
If you cannot manage a whole hour, taking a 30 minutes class can reduce these levels by 19% for the day. An important point to note is that whether you are cycling casually or regularly, it is crucial for you to monitor your blood sugar levels to make sure that they do not fall too low. If you choose to participate in this exercise for the benefits of spin class, please speak to your doctor so he/she may advise you on adjustments to be made to your lifestyle, diet, or insulin.
How To Do A Simple Spin Class At Home?
If you have access to a stationary bike at home or in your building’s gym then you can do a simple quick at home workout to help you gain some benefits of spin class for weight loss. Here are some things to keep in mind before starting:
Understand the language used
Just like with all other kinds of exercise spin classes have their own coded language. Some words to learn and understand include:
1. First position. You are seated on the bike’s chair with your hands on the handlebars.
2. Second position. Often referred to as ‘running’, it requires you to be standing upright with your hands resting lightly on the bar closest to you for balance. The cycling movement done in the second position often mimics the high knees workout.
3. Third position. This is probably the most well known position associated with spin classes. Referred to as a ‘standing sprint’, it is done by standing up and out of the saddle with your hips back over the saddle and hands on the ends of the bars furthest from you. If you have seen bike races before then you can picture the position easily.
Define your goals
Spin class exercises can be used for multiple reasons. Depending on the goal you have in mind, you can choose a workout for speed, for weight loss by doing a HIIT spin class, for muscular endurance or overall physical endurance, etc.
Have a killer playlist
The one common thing in all spin classes is the presence of loud thumping music. According to the Center for Research, listening to music during a workout does not only prevent boredom, but it can also improve the quality of your workout as it increases your stamina and puts you in a better mood (2).
A 2006 study that looked at the effect of music on the selection of treadmill speed concluded that when participants listened to fast-paced music, they increased their pace and distance travelled without becoming more tired (5).
When the lyrics to a particular song resonate with you, they can motivate you making you push harder improving your endurance (2). In spin classes, the music is often synchronized with the workout and this is said to have both physical and psychological benefits.
During an at-home spin class you should aim to listen to some upbeat music. One study in 2011 showed that the best performance during a cycling workout was achieved when the study participants were listening to upbeat tempos that were between 125 and 140 beats per minute (4).
Psychology Today backs up this claims by also stating that listening to music during a workout:
- Gives you something else to concentrate on other than the pain in your muscles from the exercise.
- Improves overall performance.
- Helps you feel better after the workout. They feel positive after the workout in question.
Choose the type of class you prefer
There are 4 types:
1. Beat-based structure. This is the most common type. The class or session in question is often synchronized to the beats of the playlist. You could work to synchronize your playlist to your workout, but if that feels like too much work, you can find already synchronized exercises online.
2. RPM structure. In this structure, you are required to adjust the resistance of the bike to a cycling cadence appropriate for the workout’s goals. Some RPMs are appropriate for climbing, while others work best for sprints.
3. Watts-based structure. This relies on the intensity level of the workout in question. I.e., you can increase or decrease the watts on your bike’s computer depending on your exercise intensity level.
4. Heart-rate training. It requires you to wear a heart monitoring device which helps you adjust the intensity of your workout depending on your heart rate.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Spin Class Once A Week?
If you cannot take classes several times a week, probably due to cost, distance or a busy schedule, do not fret. You can still gain some benefits of spin class by going once a week, especially if you choose to join a group workout.
Some benefits of spin class once a week include:
1. It helps get you out of the house
There is no denying that home workouts are great. They are a fantastic and cost-effective way to lose weight from the comfort of your own home. However, if you are working from home and exercising in the same space, it can begin to drive you up the wall.
One of the best benefits of taking a spin class once a week is that it gets you out of the house, letting you interact with something other than your phone, laptop, significant other, or pet.
2. It is a great way to make friends
New friends are always a great thing and a fantastic way to bring new experiences into your everyday life. Another one of the great benefits of spin class once a week is a chance to meet new people and make friends. Just like in group sports, sweating away at the gym and complaining about aching muscles later may end up making your life a little richer.
3. It gets you moving
We all know the benefits of exercise, however, very few of us actually make the time to workout. To make matters worse, many of us spend most of our days seated in front of a screen, meaning that we mostly lead sedentary lifestyles which puts us at a risk of multiple health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, certain types of cancers and more. One of the greatest benefits of spin class is that it gets you moving and working out to better yourself and your health.
4. Accountability partners
It is very easy to slack off home workouts, especially if you do not have someone to hold you accountable. Having a set spin class for one day a week makes you hold yourself accountable to it, and will have your trainer looking for you as well as your fellow classmates looking to hold you accountable to show up and put the work in.
5. A great way to burn calories
Spinning is a high-intensity workout that will have you drenched in sweat in no time. Plus if you are looking to workout the lower half of your body, adding a spin class once a week means that ‘leg day’ is already sorted.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of spin class go far beyond it being a fantastic lower body workout. Despite the workout being done indoors it offers multiple health benefits and the machine in question can be adjusted to mimic an outdoor terrain which can make the exercise as easy or as hard as you want.
If you have been curious about taking this class, we hope that the above points have convinced you to take the plunge and give it a chance. As always, please remember to always consult a doctor before starting any new workout routine.
Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Bicycling to Work and Primordial Prevention of Cardiovascular Risk: A Cohort Study Among Swedish Men and Women (2016, ahajournals.org)
- Can Listening to Music Improve Your Workout? (n.d., center4research.org)
- Effects of aerobic exercise on anxiety sensitivity (2004, sciencedirect.com)
- Revisiting the relationship between exercise heart rate and music tempo preference (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effects of music tempo and loudness level on treadmill exercise (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)