Wellness - Aug 31, 2022

Six Reasons to Consider Cycling for a High-Energy, Highly Effective Workout

Michele Mandell

If you’ve spent any time on our Outdoor Pool deck—or if you’ve been in Hamlin Garden and heard some high-energy tunes—you know that our Outdoor Cycling classes are still in session!

Our Cycling classes have dedicated packs of regulars… but they’re always ready to welcome new riders. Take a look at six reasons why you should consider adding yourself to their numbers!

1. Boost Your Heart Health

Let’s start with the heart! Cycling is an enjoyable and effective way to get a cardiovascular workout. When your cardiovascular system’s in good working order, your heart, blood cells, and lungs can efficiently provide oxygenated blood to your muscles, giving them the power to make the energy that gets you moving.

Adding to this, many cycling classes incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a type of exercise that involves performing bursts of work at maximum effort, followed by brief periods of rest and/or slower recovery periods—a great way to maximize the heart benefits of exercise in shorter amounts of time. HIIT can also increase your VO2 max (the measure of how much oxygen you can use during exercise), improve your blood pressure, and improve how responsive your cells are to insulin. Plus, regular cardiovascular workouts can also reduce your chances of contracting metabolic health problems, such as coronary heart disease. 

2. Increase Your Strength

If improved heart health wasn’t enough of a reason for you: increased strength comes along for the ride! 

Cycling classes offer an efficient way to exercise many of the muscles you depend on for everyday tasks—as well as any of those greater physical challenges you’d like to take on, such as a weekend hike in the hills. In each class, you’ll strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, the front of your shins, gluteal muscles, abdominals, and back muscles. And there’s more: when climbing out of the bike saddle, you work your arms and shoulders! Add it all up, and you’re training a large percentage of your body musculature in every cycling class.

3. Burn Serious Calories

Depending on the duration and intensity of the ride, as well as an individual’s size, a participant can potentially burn 400 to 600 calories during a cycling class.

On top of that: you can keep burning calories for hours, after your cycling class is over! That’s thanks to Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC): the elevation in metabolism (that is, the rate that calories are burned) after an exercise session ends. This increase in your metabolic rate is linked to increased consumption of oxygen, which is required to help the body restore and return to its pre-exercise state. That “afterburn” translates into additional weight loss benefits, such as an increase in your total calories burned for the day. 

4. Bust Through Your Stress

As you get into the intensity a cycling class, you’ll focus your attention on the tempo and intensity of your ride. The energetic music and the companionship of a “riding buddy” beside you can raise your spirits and help you temporarily forget the stress you’ve been facing. As you speed through those sprints and conquer those climbs—and as you see the results of your efforts—your confidence will increase, too. On top of all this, you’ll be boosting your endorphins—those “happy hormones” that trigger positive feelings and help naturally relieve pain.   

5. Get a Low-Impact Workout That’s Easy on Your Joints

If you are recovering from an injury or surgery—or just need to take things a little more gently—a cycling class is a great option. In contrast to running and other intense activities that require jumping and other high-impact activities, cycling works you as hard as you wish through shifts in resistance and speed. Thanks to those intervals of intense work and recovery (which we discussed earlier), you can increase the effectiveness of your workout exponentially without adding an excess of force to your bones, joints and ligaments.  

6. Join a Community Full of Camaraderie

Anyone from a beginning biker to a competitive cycler can get a great workout geared just to their needs, all in the same cycling class. That’s because you have control: you can increase or decrease the with a simple move of the bike’s gear switch.  

Plus, on a stationary bike, everyone physically stays together—so you’ll never fall behind. You can follow the instructor through hills, flats, race pace, or speed pushes—no wrong turns or road rash here! And you’re free to enjoy the energy of fellow riders and the specially picked playlist.  

When you choose to come to class, you automatically become part of the cycling community at the PJCC. Check our Group Exercise schedule for a class that meets your schedule—and come join the pack! 

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