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Despite growing popularity of indoor cycling and more and more people trying out this effective and fun workout, some myths still prevent a lot of fitness enthusiasts from giving it a try.

Let’s look at the five most common myths and see if we can debunk them.

1. I have to get fit before I take an indoor cycling class

While you should definitely consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program, cycling classes welcome participants of all fitness levels.

The instructor will cue “adding resistance” to the flywheel to increase intensity or “increasing cadence” (speed). But you are in control of both your resistance and speed. No one will ever know how many times you increased resistance or if you did at all.

Listen carefully to what the instructor tells you, but also stay in tune with your body – if that turn on the resistance knob doesn’t feel right, don’t take it.

Like with everything else, the more you do it, the better you get. Don’t get discouraged if you have trouble keeping up in your first class. Stay with it and results will follow.

2. Indoor cycling class is full of outdoor cyclists, and I won’t understand the instructions

Indoor cycling was created by an outdoor cyclist (Johnny G and his original Spinning Program), but you don’t have to be one to take the class. The outdoor cyclists attending classes in their off season are there for a workout just like you.

Arrive early and let the instructor know you’re new, and he/she will help you set up your bike and go over basic terminology and safety. Stay after class and ask the instructor to write down your bike settings so you can set up your bike yourself next time.

3. I need to buy special apparel/shoes to attend class

Some people wear padded shorts and cycling shoes in indoor cycling classes. While those might help you feel more comfortable on the bike, they are not required.

Wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes with a thick and stiff sole. A water bottle and a towel are a must have in an indoor cycling class.

4. Indoor cycling will make my legs huge.

This article by Shannan Lynch, director of education at Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc., "The REAL Truth on Whether Indoor Cycling Bulks Up Your Legs," talks about how this myth started, and what scientific research is out there to prove it wrong.

5. Indoor cycling is not for me because I have bad knees.

If you have knee issues, consult your doctor before taking on indoor cycling to determine if it is a good fit for your particular situation. Indoor cycling has been recommended for numerous knee issues as a low-impact activity since it is not a weight bearing exercise when riding in a seated position. It also strengthens your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves, which helps protect and support your knee joints.

Even if you’ve been cleared by your doctor to take the class – listen to your body. If riding standing up doesn’t agree with your knees – stay seated. Talk to your instructor beforehand, let them know of the issues and listen to their cues in class – they’ll usually include options for you while cuing the drills.

I hope I’ve convinced you to give indoor cycling a try. While it’s a challenging workout, it develops strength, endurance, improves cardiovascular health and creates a wonderful comradery among the participants.

Join us in the AMP Room of the Carlisle Family YMCA!

Lena Hershey is a certified personal trainer, Spinning and TRX instructor and RYT-300 in training.


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