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For many, riding a bike serves as the first introduction to exercise. Children spend entire summers racing their bikes from dawn to dusk throughout their neighborhoods.
As we become adults, biking starts to feel more like work and less like fun. While 30 minutes on an immobile bike serves as good exercise, it feels dreadful and boring.
To counter this, the cycling industry has begun offering classes that make the boring, old stationary bike anything but.
“Some of these workout routines like, SoulCycle, things change rather quickly so when you think you've kind of hit a rut, the next thing you know you're switching over to a different routine, it kind of keeps your senses stimulated,” says Dr. T. Sean Lynch, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University.
SoulCycle is part of the newest generation of bike exercise classes, which includes Flywheel and Peloton, and all are quickly gaining popularity across the country. These classes incorporate colors, candles and music into the workout, making the stationary bike feel as exciting as biking during childhood.
On top of creating a fun, exciting atmosphere, group biking classes bolster participants’ sense of belonging and camaraderie, offering a psychological boost, too.
“The classes that are being offered now, from a fitness perspective, it is appealing to multiple senses, it's increasing intensity to push people to their limits working out but also from a psychological perspective,” says Lynch.
For those looking for a more intense full body work out, there are bootcamp-type classes that offer biking with upper body toning. And, for the truly adventurous, nothing quite compliments biking like bouldering, aka rock climbing with any of the traditional ropes or harnesses that help ease the struggle of climbing.
The reason bouldering pairs so well with biking? The cycling provides the cardio and leg workout while grappling up the rock works out the rest of the muscles.