Spinning: the indoor workout where you get on a bike and pedal until you’re sore. Chances are you’ve heard of it before. But you might not know why it’s such an effective activity.

To some people, spinning sounds like nothing more than 40 minutes of hell-on-wheels. But it’s an incredibly beneficial exercise, and can be great fun to participate in.

So keep reading to learn why spinning makes for a great all-round workout.

What is spinning?

First of all, a quick explanation of what spinning is. Simply put, spinning is indoor cycling performed on a stationary bike. It can be done alone or in a group, at home or at the gym.

Spinning classes are led by instructors, who will take participants through a (usually quite rigourous…) routine. One of the major differences between spinning and regular cycling, aside from the fact that one is stationary, is that you can’t coast on a spinning bike. This means you’re using your muscles for the majority of the workout.

Other than that it’s all quite straightforward: jump on your bike and pedal!

Spinning is social 

One of the main non-physical benefits of spinning is that it’s a social exercise. Of course, there’s always the option to buy a stationary bike and do your spinning at home. But it can be quite expensive, so more often that not people tend to opt for the gym.

In a spinning class, you’re working with a room full of people. With this comes a real feeling of community. You’re all in it together, working towards the same goal, sweating and panting together!

There are added benefits of working out in a class environment, as well, which include increased motivation and accountability.

Taking cycling as an example. Some people may find it much easier to cycle as part of a group than on their own. So right away there’s less motivation required to actually get up and do the exercise. However, the accountability of being part of a group (that sense of guilt you may feel when you miss a lesson) is motivation in itself.

The overall effect may be that getting yourself to a spinning class is much easier than getting out on your bike by yourself.

You’ll push yourself

Spinning is intense. No matter what level of fitness you’re at when you enter a class, it’s always going to be a push, and you’re always going to feel the burn. But this is what makes it such a great exercise.

Cycling is non-stop. Your legs are constantly moving. And when you increase the resistance, you’re going to pedal harder. Add an instructor into the mix, who’s constantly encouraging you to keep pushing yourself, and you can’t help but get a great workout.

The physical benefit of all that pushing? Well, when spinning, you could burn up to 600 calories in just 40 minutes.

It’s low impact

Less pressure on the knees or joints makes spinning the perfect exercise for those who struggle to run or engage in other high-impact activities. And regardless of your physical capabilities, it’s always good to incorporate low-impact workouts into your exercise routine.

The result is that your risk of injury from spinning is much lower than that of other, more high-impact activities. And your joints will suffer much less over time.

You’re legs will look nicer

One thing that can’t be denied: spinning is great for the legs. Just like squats and lunges, regular spinning will tone and strengthen your legs and greatly improve lower body strength. And one advantage that it has over bodyweight leg exercises is that the resistance can be altered, so you can increase the difficulty whenever you feel like a bigger challenge!

It’s suitable for everyone

There may be an instructor in the room, but it’s not a requirement for you keep up with them. One of the best things about spinning is that if you’re feeling fatigued you can lighten the load. Instead of cutting your workout short and hitting the changing rooms early, you can keep going but just at a lower intensity.

The same goes for how hard you pedal. There’s no pressure to keep up with anyone in the room. The idea is to push yourself and do what you’re capable of doing. So it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting on the bike next to a veteran long-distance cyclist. You’re both going at a pace that suits your current fitness levels.

This means that even beginners can go the distance and endure a full-length spinning class.

Spinning classes are easy to find

Spinning is popular, there’s no doubt about that, and with popularity comes accessibility. Almost anywhere you go you’ll be able to find a spinning class nearby. And if not a class, then at the very least you’ll be able to find a spinning bike. So it doesn’t matter if you’re travelling away on business, visiting friends in a new city, or just looking for a fresh environment to exercise in. It’s a safe bet to assume that wherever you can find a gym, you can find a spinning class.

It’s stress relieving

As with all forms of cardiovascular exercise, spinning can really help to relieve stress and clear your mind. When we engage in something so physically intense we’re almost forced to think about nothing else. Even if what we’re focussing on might feel unpleasant (the burning sensations and fatigue), we’re still distracted from everything else.

So a spinning class may be 40 minutes of thinking “why am I here, this is awful, I want to get off”. But it’s also 40 minutes of not thinking about work, or what happened to us earlier in the day, or all the things we have to do later on. It’s just spinning. And at the end of the session, when we get off the bike red-faced and drenched in sweat, we find that it comes with a sense of calmness and serenity. And we can often carry this with us throughout our day.

There’s no adverse weather

Unlike its outdoor counterpart, an indoor bike has a roof over it. This means that spinning isn’t at the mercy of the temperamental British weather. So whether it’s raining, snowing, hailing, or blowing gale force winds outside, your spinning bike awaits, warm and dry.

This is great for staying motivated, as it’s all too easy to call off an exercise session due to poor weather. But when you’re protected by gym walls and central heating, excuses are much harder to come by!

Fancy a spin at spinning?

Why not get down to Jesmond Pool and Gym and have a go at spinning? Take a look at our timetable for the latest class listings.