I’m in my early 50s and while I wouldn’t describe myself as an athlete, those of you who’ve been with me all these years know how important staying fit is to me.
I’ve always been active. In my youth I played tennis, which was totally my jam. I swam and, despite my height and lack of interest, I was fairly decent on the basketball court. I tried to take up running but absolutely hated it. In my much (much) younger years I studied ballet at a world-renown ballet school in New York City. I was terrible and they sure let me know it! I didn’t fare any better with gymnastics, but I was eager and I did try.
In my early 40s I discovered Zumba and fell in love with it. But then I started to have some pretty severe back issues that had me sidelined and in search of something gentler. I found pilates and various strength training classes but I missed the calorie torching, heart-pulsing, sweat-inducing cardio. I decided to try a spin class. I admit that I didn’t love it but I loved the results. THEN I joined a boutique spin studio, and that my friends was a total GAME CHANGER!
Did you know that not only is spin an amazing (the best??) calorie-torching low impact exercise? Because as great as toning and strengthening are, we all need cardio.
And here’s the thing. ANYONE can take an indoor cycling class. ANYONE. My spin studio has men and women who range in age from early 20s to those well into their 80s. Yes, their EIGHTIES! So, there’s no excuse… Because if I can, you can. Here’s why:
In the past 10 years I’ve been diagnosed with or have had:
Shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum from multiple shoulder dislocations
2 herniated discs in my lower spine
Degenerative disc disease (getting old sucks, man!)
Osteoarthritis (in hips, knees, back, neck and hands)
Fibromyalgia which is a form of chronic pain that affects joints, soft tissue and bone and causes severe mononucleosis-like exhaustion.
And, to top that off, I suffer from exercise-induced asthma.
So, if anyone has an excuse not to exercise I do. But I don’t. I will tell you first-hand how much it helps.
I didn’t start spinning until I was 48. (I was no spring chicken!)
I needed to switch to something that was low impact and without jarring motions.
I wanted something that offered proven results.
I combine it with Pilates, Strength training and Barre which I also love.
The 11 reasons why I love spinning:
You’re never alone - You’ve got a team all around you.
Other people’s positivity and energy is contagious
You’re stronger and faster than you think you are
When you put your mind to it and you can do anything!
It forces you to BREATHE
Because yes you CAN make it up that climb
You are stronger than your excuses - excuses get you nowhere!
The steep climbs always make the downhills that much sweeter
Just when you feel like you can’t you realize not only that you can, but you could the whole time!
You can’t coast in spin class
LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
Because of my physical limitations this is what I do:
I push myself but I don’t overdo it. I used to be able to take back to back classes a few times a week. My body won’t let me anymore, and so when I do I make sure to do so on a day when I don’t have much on my plate.
I don’t try to keep up with anyone else! I’m not 20 anymore. Some days I’m stronger than other. I just strive to do the best that I can do on that particular day.
I set my own goals. Usually I’m able to surpass them.
If the incline is too steep for my back, I take some of the tension off. I’d rather slow down than be sidelined.
I drink plenty of water.
My rescue inhaler makes my mouth dry - so I suck on a Lifesaver
I focus on my breathing and take the necessary time to catch my breath.
I don’t compare myself to anyone! (It took me a long time to get myself to stop doing this.) My spin studio is filled with men and women who range in age from their teens to their 80s. We all have to go at our own pace.
I don’t make excuses.
I keep pushing myself (within limits)
I don’t give up!
It’s also proven that group fitness classes are better than working out alone at home. The following is an excerpt from Livestrong.
Attending a group fitness class gets you up off the couch and out of the same four walls of your home to meet people in your community. You are likely to have more fun exercising in a group than working out on your own. Fitness classes are a wonderful place to meet people who have similar lifestyle goals and needs. Make friends, have adult conversations and discover solutions to problems as you talk with other participants before and after class.
Participating in a group exercise class challenges you to work out beyond your perceived limitations. The instructor observes your body for signs of fatigue and pushes you to your limits. You are likely to work out harder, as everyone is exercising toward the same goal, than you would on your own. A group fitness instructor explains the benefits of each exercise, which increases your reasons to complete the workout and keeps you returning to class.
Health and Form Benefits
Group exercise class are available in a variety of workout styles. If your goals are cardiovascular improvement and weight loss, select aerobic-based classes such as dance aerobics, indoor cycling, kickboxing or step aerobics. Select weight training, calisthenics or boot camp classes if you also want to improve your muscular endurance and strength. If flexibility is your goal, a stretching or yoga class is a nice option.
Additionally, certain forms of exercises, such as spin, yoga and strength-training, benefit from using proper form. As a newbie, you might not know the proper form to use, which increases your risk of injury. In a class, though, the instructor will spot-check you, correcting your positioning if necessary.
A group exercise setting helps keep you accountable to attend the class. When the instructor and other participants ask why you were absent, they generally are concerned for your well-being, and you will not want to have an "I sat on the couch" answer. If you are required to prepay for a group class, your accountability also increases. You have a limited number of classes that you paid for and are more likely to attend.
If I can, you can!
You can start slow, at your own pace.
The only equipment you’ll want is a pair of spin shoes that will last you forever.
So what’s stopping you from trying?