Indoor Cycling: Benefits and Advantages

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Almost always used as a synonym for "spinning" - which is based on the "use of a spin bike - etymologically speaking, it should more correctly indicate any form of pedaling that does not involve any advancement (therefore also stationary bikes, horizontal bikes, cycling on rollers).

Compared to actual cycling - the traditional activity from which it derives - in whatever form it may be found, it could be said that "indoor cycling is not one of the sports proper, but rather in the group of fitness activities and possibly wellness. This statement arises from the fact that, at least in Italy, indoor cycling competitions are all in all quite limited; this has nothing to do with the difficulty or level of training they may require.

In this article we will go into detail about the advantages and benefits, but also the disadvantages and contraindications, attributable to indoor cycling.

To learn more: Spinning: What it is and Benefits but more suitable for intense work.

The resistance of the spin bike is given by a flywheel made to rotate by pedaling which, as we have said, does not affect the movement of the tool on the surface - it can instead be moved from one part of the room to the other thanks to small wheels in the base. The saddle is adjustable in height and distance from the handlebar. The pedals are non-slip and equipped with straps or quick attachment for cycling shoes. The pinion transmits motion to the flywheel crown by chain or belt. The central tube, in addition to the adjustment of the flywheel, can contain the bottle cage, where to house the thermal bottle. The handlebar, which offers various grip positions, is adjustable in height; the knob is positioned at the front. On the handlebar you can find other adjustments or electronic tools.

For further information: Spin Bike: How to Choose the Best it is very vast; so why choose indoor cycling rather than another discipline?

More than most group fitness activities (courses), indoor cycling can certainly guarantee all this through specific and personalized training regardless of the level of the group. This is possible first of all because the spin bike does not move, while in cycling it would not be possible to vary certain parameters of the training without detaching oneself from the "flock". Secondly, thanks to the "real-time assistance of the instructor, who will take care of :

  • Instruct on spin bike adjustment;
  • Teach the basic techniques of pedaling;
  • Educate on the importance of the training load, given by the volume (time) and by the intensity (perception of acute fatigue, measurable with the control of the heartbeat by means of a heart rate monitor or a smartwatch); we exclude the work density since spinning should not foresee passive recoveries, that is real breaks, but only a variation of the rhythm.

Basically, indoor cycling is a fatigue endurance activity.This is not totally focused on aerobic or anaerobic lactacid metabolism, because they are both well present but in a variable percentage depending on preferences, training level and goals.

Unlike the usual practice of exercise bikes, indoor cycling is based on the principle of high intensity - High Intensity Training (HIT). which spinning is excluded from the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circle.

What happens is an "activation of the basic aerobic metabolism, that is the one that exploits the use of oxygen, and the jolting recruitment of the anaerobic lactacid, that is the one that - due to its greater intensity - determines the production of lactic acid and creates a limit dictated by the accumulation of the same. The percentage of one or the other changes from one training to the other, as we have said, according to numerous variables.

To learn more: Exercise bike or Spinning? , to train the aerobic and anaerobic lactacid metabolism - with all the cardio-vascular, respiratory and metabolic benefits of the case - and to strengthen the muscles of the lower limbs. The quadriceps hamstrings and hamstrings are more involved - thanks to the use of cycling shoes or straps on the pedals. In addition, in the standing position on the saddle, spinning also significantly activates the abdominals and secondarily the pectorals and the triceps.

The benefits of indoor cycling are greater in the novice who starts the activity and in those looking for a progressive increase in the training load. Generally speaking, we could say that indoor cycling:

  • It improves cardio-vascular and respiratory fitness: this is due to a greater efficiency of the heart, which pumps more blood with less effort, and to an improvement in circulation, which boasts more arterial elasticity, capillarization and venous return;
    • Decreases resting heart rate;
    • Blood pressure tends to normalize - especially when excessive;
    • Increases tissue oxygenation;
    • It increases the coronary blood supply of the heart;
  • Improves respiratory fitness: thanks to a more effective dilation response of the bronchi and better perfusion of the alveoli;
    • Therefore, some forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can improve;
  • Improves specific muscle and tendon fitness: in terms of strength, strength endurance, speed, speed endurance, general endurance, aerobic power, anaerobic power etc. Tendons become more resilient and less prone to injury;
    • In addition to the aforementioned, the following are also not negligibly recruited: gluteus maximus adductors, abductors, calves, foot extensors.
  • Improves joint fitness: especially in sedentary patients, preventing or slowing the onset of rheumatic disorders, arthrosis, etc. A well-developed muscle mass also helps to keep the joints in place, protecting them especially in case of capsule or ligament damage;
  • Helps maintain good bone density: in the absence of other risk factors, spinning can help prevent osteoporosis;
  • Platelet aggregation decreases and therefore, in theory, also the risk of thrombosis, embolism and related ischemias;
  • Optimizes body recomposition: it favors caloric expenditure and therefore, with the same energy introduced with the diet, it promotes weight loss and ensures muscle trophism. It is good to remember that motor activity also increases appetite, which is why it is not always possible to lose weight quickly by moving more;
  • Metabolism homeostasis: practiced regularly, spinning increases good HDL cholesterol, helps to keep blood sugar under control and fights type 2 diabetes mellitus - thanks to an increase in glucose tolerance - reduces triglyceridemia, normalizes blood pressure, decreases - especially following weight loss - uric acid in the blood and the possibility of gout or kidney stones from uric acid etc;
  • Maintains a good ability to balance: especially in people approaching the third age, practicing motor activity helps to maintain functions such as balance - but not only that, cognitive functions also benefit and reduce the chances of senile dementia;
  • Promotes good mood: thanks to the release of nervous stress and the release of endorphins.
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