The benefits for the over 50s
By Keith Giles
Do you think that because you have reached, or passed the age of fifty that you are too old to exercise? Perhaps you would like to get some exercise but think that you are too old or maybe you think that you are too far out of shape to bother. Whatever your age and state of fitness, there is an exercise out there that is ideal for the unfit over fifties. What is it?
It is indoor cycling or spinning.
Okay, it sounds good but what is spinning you may ask. It is indoor cycling, a studio based group exercise class using specifically designed stationary bikes. These bikes can be quickly adjusted to fit each and every one of us.
Get The Wheels In Motion…
Do not be afraid of turning up for a class, everyone has to start sometime. At the front of the class is the instructor who will happily show you how to set up the stationary bike so that it is comfortable for you. You will be shown the three hand positions used in the class and how to increase and decrease the tension thereby setting the level of exercise suitable for you.
Tracey Wareing, an experienced spinning instructor from the De Vere Leisure club said
‘I have been a personal trainer and spinning instructor for over twenty years. Spinning is a low impact form of cardiovascular exercise which places very little pressure on the bones and joints despite the intensity. It is a class for all fitness levels and I thoroughly recommend it.’
Spinning is more than just a workout, if pursued it can set you on the path to good health and fitness. If so desired, it can set you up with some personal challenges, help you find new friends and all this at your own pace and effort level.
The instructor will use music to encourage and lead you through the session which begins, like all forms of exercise, with a warm up. This is followed by both seated and standing exercises which work the muscles and joints in the legs and buttocks making indoor cycling a great way to work these traditional problem areas of the body. All work is at your own pace and level and you will not be expected to do as much as a regular spinner. As in all exercise, one build’s up.
There are numerous benefits to be had from a spinning class not least of which is the fact that you remain indoors thereby getting the better of the British weather meaning you can ‘spin’ all year round. Much more fun that being outdoors on your bike in the winter months.
Cycling in general increases the density of the bones. This is helpful to all, not just older people.
For A Healthier Heart and Lungs…
Regular indoor cycling can make one’s heart and lungs stronger too. This happens by easing the blood circulation process of the body which makes the heart and lungs stronger.
Lucie Marsh who has a BA Hons in Sports Science, spinning instructor for Blackpool Council said…
‘For the over 50s, spinning is an excellent cardio vascular workout. It exercises the lungs and gets the heart working more than it would if one was walking or taking a pilates class’
Cardio vascular exercise helps prevent disease, increases metabolism, oxygenates food, controls or maintains a healthy body weight, increases circulation and improves body awareness and mental awareness.
A low impact exercise, spinning puts no pressure on the knees and other joints and some GPs actually recommend taking a class to those who suffer from Arthritis. The low impact workout reduces the risk of injury which can be caused by running or gym work.
Any type of exercise is known to relieve stress however, a spinning class can be a more effective stress reliever than most. This is because the workout is more intense.
Geoff Ormrod, a lawyer said…
‘I have a stressful job and sometimes I take the stress home. When I am spinning however, I leave it all behind as I cannot think about anything else whilst riding. You turn off from the daily grind and I find it great stress relief.’
Make New Friends…
It is also a place where you can meet people and socialize.
Jenifer Stafford, a housewife who admits to being over 50 explained…
‘I was introduced to spinning a few years ago and enjoy the class enormously. It gives me a good workout and helps keep me healthy. I prefer it to the gym but that’s me. I have met and made some good friends in the spinning class. After, I like to relax over coffee and have the spinning class to thank for some good friends.’
When one pedals against resistance, as in an indoor spinning class, one greatly increases the endurance of the leg muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. Working these muscle groups will also help to strengthen the surrounding bones, tendons and ligaments.
It is also possible to burn calories during a class. As many as 400 to 600 can be burned in a forty five minute session. This is of course dependent on how much effort is put in but in any event, calories will be burned. This is a great way for people to get back into shape.
Indoor cycling provides a variety of psychological benefits to the participant with the instructor well aware how to motivate everyone from novice to experienced rider.
On a personal note, I have osteoarthritis in my knees. I used to take a glucosamine supplement which didn’t really do any good. Then a friend introduced me to spinning and I found that after a couple of weeks I was not experiencing any knee pain. I dropped the glucosamine and have been virtually pain free since. This was in 2002.
Like any form of strenuous exercise, it is advisable to consult your GP before undertaking a class.
Finally, what to wear. Shorts and tee shirts are fine, you will get hot so do remember to take water in with you. A towel is a good idea too as you will sweat.
By Keith Giles.
Keith is a freelance writer from Blackpool. If you enjoyed this article and want to get in touch, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org