Staying Healthy

Indoor cycling for older adults

Today's high-tech stationary bikes are ridden at top speed, with instructors telling cyclists when to coast, sprint, and climb.

indoor cycling spin class
 Image: JackF/Thinkstock

One of the hottest trends among the workout set springs from your old stationary bicycle. The new use for old wheels is a supercharged cardio workout called indoor cycling or Spinning (its trademarked name). First popular in the 1990s, the activity is still going strong and is now popular among older adults. "Many classes are specifically for seniors, with instructors who are familiar with modifications for your age group," says Jacob Girlinghouse, a physical therapist with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The workout and benefits

Is it right for you?

While indoor cycling classes are safe for most people, get your doctor's okay first, especially if you have a heart problem. If you have an injury, pain in your neck or back, or any serious medical conditions, it may be a good idea to ride a regular stationary bicycle at your own pace until your pain subsides. If you are unsure, ask your physician or your physical therapist.

If you have balance problems, a Spinning class can be a safe alternative to other forms of cardiovascular exercise because you exercise while seated. "If your balance is good enough to get on and off the bike safely, then you should be good to go. However, if you feel unsteady when mounting or dismounting, a stationary recumbent bike might be a better option for you," says Girlinghouse.

Making it work

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