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Cycling classes can provide health benefits

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Marisa Favero | The Daily Wildcat

Spin classes can offer many health benefits for participants including weight loss and muscle strengthening. Revolve Cycling offers classes seven days a week.

Indoor cycling has become quite the trend over the past few years. The hype began in 2006 when SoulCycle created its indoor cycling “cardio party.”

The fitness movement recently grew to Tucson. The only boutique cycling studio in Tucson, Revolve Cycling, has become increasingly popular among UA students and Tucson locals. According to Revolve’s website, owners Tony and Susie Stevens established a “space created by Tucsonans for Tucsonans.”

But beyond its popularity, is cycling really beneficial? Or is the dark room and club lighting just a distraction?

Indoor cycling goes beyond riding a stationary bike. Laura Schwecherl wrote on the health blog Greatist that this workout was “more intense than riding a stationary bike” and it used “different body positions (i.e. standing versus sitting), pedal speed and resistance.” Some classes incorporated “upper-body workouts [or] resistant bands” as well, Schwecherl wrote.

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Schwecherl wrote that indoor cycling “will amp up VO2 max (the rate oxygen is carried to the muscles)” and “will work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core.”

Schwecherl also said indoor cycling is helpful in weight loss. A 2010 study by researchers in the Department of Sports Science at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy, looked at “the effects of indoor cycling training in sedentary, overweight women” and concluded that indoor cycling “may be efficient for losing weight and preventing the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in young, overweight women.”

Most people are unaware of the difference between Spinning and indoor cycling. Nicole Perry of healthy lifestyle blog Pumps and Iron wrote on her website that Spinning is a trademarked name and that it’s based on outdoor cycling, so spinners only do things on the stationary bike that they would do riding a bicycle outdoors.

“So that fun, trendy class you just took where you’re dancing around on a bike, using hand weights, doing push ups on the handle bars and riding to the beat of the music?” Perry wrote on her website. “Not a Spinning class. That’s an indoor cycling class.”

According to Perry, many things done in indoor cycling classes are prohibited in Spinning classes for safety or because it would not be done on an outdoor bicycle.

Dr. Stephen Paul, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UA’s College of Medicine, said there are both pros and cons regarding indoor cycling.

“Indoor or outdoor, any cycling activity is a good activity, and most importantly any activity that gets us moving is good,” Paul said. “Specific to indoor, benefits include fewer opportunities for falls and accidents, [the] environment could be better controlled and, if membership is available, indoor cycling should be more cost-effective.”

The cons of indoor cycling relate to safety and overall enjoyment.

“The bike fit is super important, so using someone else’s equipment may affect that, and poor bike fit can lead to injuries,” Paul said. “Boredom from lack of stimulation from nature and terrain and lack of socialization may adversely affect motivation to keep at it long enough to see gains.”

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Dana Santoro, assistant director of fitness and wellness at UA’s Campus Recreation, gave a similar response to Dr. Paul in regards to indoor cycling.

“Cycling is an excellent form of low-impact cardiovascular and strength training program,” Santoro said. “Although indoor cycling is a great alternative to outdoor cycling in terms of road safety and cost of equipment, you are limited on getting out into the environment.”

For those who want to try indoor cycling for themselves, Revolve Cycling offers morning and night classes Monday through Thursday, morning and afternoon classes Fridays and Sundays and morning classes on Saturdays. The first class is $8, and the drop-in student rate is $13. Reserve a bike online at revolvetucson.com prior to taking a class.

“Revolve is super upbeat and doesn’t even feel like you’re working out,” said Revolve cycler Torrey Freund, a junior majoring in economics.

The Student Recreation Center also holds cycling opportunities. It offers cycling, Bike and Bodyweight and Rise n’ Ride. Bike and Bodyweight combines cycling and strength training using bodyweight, and Rise n’ Ride is an early morning class that focuses on high energy. Register for these classes through the group fitness class schedule on the Rec Center website.


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