Spin, Spin, Spin

Have you ever been in a gym and observed a Spin Class? Perhaps you are a devotee of the art? Spin classes require 5 things to make them work.

The first is a shouty instructor who yells out loud and exuberant directions to their pack like “Come on !!!” and “Climb, come on !!!” and “Pedal, come on !!!”. The second is mind bendingly exciting up-tempo music which has just enough gaps for the shouty instructor to yell “Come on!!” at you, so you don’t forget what to do.

The third is bums, and here I mean bottoms, not people trying to get cigarettes from you outside 7/11. Even if you are in the front row of a spin class, you will be watching the shouty instructor’s bum. If you are in the middle or at the back, you will be watching the person in front’s bum, and someone will be watching yours. A bum fanciers wet dream which takes us to number four…

Sweat, and it is a vicious outpouring of water and minerals, not a glow. A 50-minute spin class can knock up to 600 calories out of your system, which is best demonstrated by your bodies attempt to cool you down before you catch on fire by shooting all the water you contain out of all your pores.

And the fifth and final thing is the knowledge that no matter how hard you pedal- come on!!!- and no matter how much you give, you are not actually going anywhere. Come on, we are staying right here.

Unfortunately, at the moment, not everyone who wants to has access to communal sweating at a gym. For many, home exercise has been the only option for months and months and the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months mean even going outside for a walk may not be as charming as it looks in movies.

With no let-up in sight, it may be time to invest in some ‘home-gym’ equipment and a stationary bike could be a good investment. For a start, they take up less space than a treadmill, and some even fold away. Of course, stationary bikes have been around for a while, but there have been some major developments in the tech in the last couple of years and the variety of options is quite remarkable.

You may have heard of the Peloton craze. Seen by many as the top of the range, Peloton products are sleek and sexy looking, you can actually join in ‘live’ spin classes online with other ‘Pelotoners’ while you pedal away, because this bike comes with a swivelling 24-inch touch screen. The classes run 24 hours, and you get all the shouty bum fun along with the bike. If watching Bridgeton on your Peloton is more your thing, you can do that, too, we won’t judge.

Pelotons are not cheap, upwards of $1500 plus USD, and to get the classes you need to pay a $40 USD monthly membership for the live steam. You also need to get cycling sports shoes with cleats which can be clipped in. The company has a good warranty policy, and lovers of this brand rave about not only the equipment, but the after-purchase service and the camaraderie their purchase provides.  

Plenty of other stationary bikes also come with screens and built-in scenic programs to follow, perhaps through the Alps, or around the cities of Europe. The NordicTrack brand is one of those, and comes highly recommended by those in the industry. For people feeling a tad housebound, a projected ‘bike ride’ through the better parts of the planet, may be a lovely option.

There are even bikes that work on your core by having the option to lean sideways and stabilize while remaining inside the frame of the bike, and some have handlebars that move back and forth while you spin, giving your upper body a good workout.

For a stationary bike with less bells and whistles but just as effective a calorie burn, you can expect to spend as little as $100 USD, a small investment considering the convenience of having the access to cardiovascular exercise at home.

If you were looking for a lower impact stationary bike workout, recumbent bikes are your best bet.

Not only are these bikes suitable for any age, they tend to be gentler on joints and the spine, but you will still get a good workout at home. Sports Scientists say that, even in a less mobile position, it is possible to burn the same 600 calories per 50 minutes leaning back. Although they take up more space, there is another reason why recumbent bikes are popular.

Anyone who has cycled for longer than 40 mins- whether in a spin class or on the road- knows that there are parts of the body, soft parts shall we say, that can truly suffer. There is a reason why gel pants are a thing.

Recumbent stationary bikes allow your ‘seat’ to sit in such a way that will not cause any ‘collateral damage’.

Stationary bikes have come a long way in the past few years and make for a handy bit of kit if space is limited, or other forms of indoor exercise are becoming stale. And until we can all get together again to be encouragingly shouted at in a sweaty, bums-in-the-air filled studio, we may need to embrace the joy of spinning our own wheels while getting nowhere.

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