, Salem, MA


March 23, 2013

Cookson: Lessons learned in spinning class

Not all of us are cut out to be regular exercisers. While I admire the discipline of it, the minute I commit to a gym membership — the very second I supply my bank’s routing number for the automatic withdrawals I find I’m no longer getting to the class.

I don’t have any earthly explanation for this, but a local health club owner once told me that only 20 percent of people who pay for gym memberships actually use them. So to avoid once again being in that 80 percent of people who just throw their money away, I’m going to stick with being an “irregular exerciser.”

This means I do a variety of exercises in a random way, like reaching out to pet my cat or going Rollerblading. Sometimes I hike or cross-country ski. Other times I walk to the kitchen for a snack or out to the mailbox. Also I do laundry, which is how I injured my rotator cuff.

But if I were to become a regular exerciser, I’d probably choose spinning. I used to spin and loved it (until I bought an ill-fated prepaid punch card and stopped going).

Actually I didn’t love the “spinning” part; I loved “having spun.” Spinning is one of those “hurts so good” activities you appreciate more when you’re finished like how you might view the Boston Marathon from the perspective of the finish line as opposed to a quarter of the way up Heartbreak Hill (not that I know this from any real experience).

Spinning is a bit like being involved in an indoor high-speed police chase in the dark, on hilly terrain, on bikes going nowhere. With strobe lights flashing, you pedal your hardest to the beat of a blaring soundtrack, faster and faster on downhills, then pumping harder and harder on the uphills, sitting way back in the saddle, or standing up on the pedals like you’re on one of those stair climbers, with it on the hardest setting.

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