Ask the Expert –Making Indoor Cycling more Fun!

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Q: I stress fractured my foot running a marathon this spring. In an effort to stay fit, I started cycling and discovered I really enjoy it. My foot healed well and I now alternate running and cycling workouts. Winter is coming and I plan to maintain my training schedule by switching to indoor cycling. I am concerned cycling indoors will be boring. Do you have any strategies to make indoor cycling more fun?

 —Major Wheeler

Dear Maj Wheeler:
Great to hear your foot has healed and you have discovered the joys of cycling. Indoor cycling is an extremely good way to stay fit, but the number one complaint is that it can be mundane. I cycle indoors throughout the winter and while it isn’t as much fun as being outdoors, there are many things you can do to make it more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions:

1. Keep your mind busy while you bike – put on music, watch TV or movies, listen to audio books, catch up on the news or learn from educational CDs. Some people even manage to read while they cycle;

2. Cross train – for example cross country ski on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and indoor bike on Tuesday and Thursday. This not only reduces your risk of injury, but it reduces the amount of time you spend cycling indoor;

3. Do a spin class – cycling with other people is always more fun;

4. Vary your workouts – doing the same workout every day can be a drag. Try adding interval work into at least one of your weekly cycling sessions – this will make your training time fly by and help you get fitter;

5. Use your bike as a circuit training station. Warm up and cool down on your bike and go hard whenever you get to the cycling station;

6. Try live streaming classes from the comfort of your home. Here everyone in a cycling group has their bike equipped with a special screen that shows them how everyone in the group is doing during a workout. These sessions get competitive and this can make your workouts more exciting.

7. Register for a cycling event in the spring – this will motivate you to work harder on your cycling fitness during the winter.

The bottom line is that you do not have to stop cycling during the Canadian winter. Indoor cycling is an excellent was to stay in shape – you just have to figure out some ways to keep your brain from getting a numb as your butt something does.

—Dr. Darrell Menard MD Dip Sport Med

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