After a big Thanksgiving dinner and days of leftovers, it's time to start thinking about how to burn off the stuffing and pumpkin pie. For many, a bike ride over the river and through the woods might be just the ticket.
But with winter on the horizon, cold air and icy roads are putting the brakes on cycling season. Luckily, there is a fun and healthy alternative to riding outdoors.
Spinning is the original indoor cycling program, created by fitness guru, Johnny G in conjunction with an orthopedic surgeon. You walk into a room full of stationary bikes, usually with mood lighting and upbeat music and get ready for a challenging workout, both physically and mentally.
Dawn McClellan is the owner of Evolution Alternative Physical Therapy and Wellness Studio in Altoona, which offers an array of spinning classes.
"It's really meant to improve your cardiovascular system as well as getting your legs strong and being able to be on a bile for as long as you need to be," she said.
Spinning is a great way to stay in shape for warm-weather rides outside, but it's also a great workout for people who don't bike at all. The indoor "rides" simulate cycling challenges, which include anything from all-out seated sprints, like you're racing on a flat stretch to hard standing climbs as though you're working your way up a steep hill.
A tension knob on the bike allows you to adjust the level of resistance you experience, as well as your level of exertion, so an experienced cyclist can workout right alongside a newcomer while each gets the workout they want.
"It's the one class where you can have a group of people with all physical abilities that can ride together," said McClellan, "because you make it your own ride as far as the tension goes."
Certified Spinning instructors are required to continually update their education and training. They guide their students through a variety of rides, including workouts that focus on endurance, intervals and strength as well as recovery sessions and race days. The teachers help students burn between 450 and 600 calories per class while also improving their mental and physical stamina.
"When you have an instructor up front giving you the cues to keep going, whether it's in a climb or sitting and spinning as fast as you can, whatever it is, it makes you tougher because you've got to get through that," McClellan said.
Spinning programs are available at Evolution and at the Summit Tennis and Athletic Center, while Pro Care Health and Fitness and the Hollidaysburg YMCA also offer similar indoor group cycling programs.
The only thing missing from these challenging and rewarding indoor workouts is the chance to ride into the sunset.
Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.