The Power of Cycle

By: Laila Zarfeshan, UMD RecWell Group Fitness Instructor

It is no secret that college can become busy between exams, deadlines, social life, and sleepless nights. Students often find it difficult to find a healthy balance. All of these factors can contribute to stress, so taking time out of the day to exercise is really important for a student’s physical AND mental health.

Many of us enjoyed riding bicycles as kids, and indoor cycle classes mimic the same euphoria, which is why this “fitness fad” has become a workout obsession.

What I really enjoy about cycling is that you are able to push yourself at your own pace, by adding or lowering the resistance at a rate that is comfortable to you.

It is a fun, energy-filled environment that inspires you to work hard, along with blood pumping music to keep you motivated.

Cycle classes allow you to take time to yourself to do something good for your body and mind.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider trying a class:

  1. It’s good for your heart. We all know that cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for improving your health, but more specifically, it can play a major factor in your cardiovascular health. Cycling can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The increased blood flow can increase oxygen capacity throughout your body, which can lead to a more improved lung and heart capacity.
  2. It’s a low impact workout. One great thing about cycling compared to other sports like running, is that it is light on your body. The pedaling is easy on your joints and you can keep your muscles in tact. So go ahead, skip leg day and jump on a spin bike for an hour to strengthen those quads and tone those leg muscles without tearing them up.
  3. One word: endorphins. Following a cycling class, the blood is composed of high levels of endorphins and anandamide, a natural cannabinoid. The brain releases endorphins following a workout and this can result in a lifted mood and increased energy when you walk out of that room. For this reason, studies have shown that anxiety and depression levels are lower in individuals who exercise regularly.
  4. You’ll not only feel mentally better after a ride, but you’ll actually be smarter. Increased blood flow to the brain results in more essential nutrients delivered to the brain, which can keep us thinking sharp as we age. A study from the University of Illinois found that the hippocampus in individuals who cycled daily for 6 months grew by 15 to 20 percent more than their sedentary counterparts. These active individuals recorded a higher ability to focus and improved memory. You can’t argue with science…
  5. You won’t get bored. In a cycling class, there’s a lot going on. From the lights to the pumping music, everyone can get to that finish line together in a fun, challenging environment. When you start to feel like you can’t go longer, your instructor and participants will motivate you and help you believe that you are capable of the challenge and that you can push past your limits.

A 45-minute class is less than 4% of your day, and this time is essential to keep your mind and body healthy, especially as stress takes over.

Cycle is a great class for anyone who is looking to improve their health, clear their mind, or just take a break from everyday life. So go ahead, try it out…you have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

All roads lead to happiness; these roads are just contained in a room.

View the schedule for upcoming RecWell cycling classes >>