Pioneer Fit: Cycling Offers a Cardiovascular Alternative

A view of the cycling machines in Pamplin. Photo by Arran Hashim.

Indoor cycling is a great cardiovascular workout for those looking for an alternative to running and other forms of exercise and since it is both indoor and stationary, it can be done anytime regardless of the weather.

Shana Levine, the Director of Physical Education and Athletics, has been a Lewis & Clark Pioneer since 2014 after serving six years as the Associate Director of Athletics at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. What students may not know is that on top of this, Levine also serves as one of the instructors for indoor cycling classes.

Levine discussed her experiences with indoor cycling along with her motivation for becoming involved.

“I have been taking and teaching indoor cycling for about 10 years now,” Levine said. “I started doing it to stay in shape for soccer when I realized that running was a little too much impact for my body. Then two years ago, I tore my ACL and cycling was a key part of my rehab and getting me back to where I am today.”

Additionally, Levine also finds that indoor cycling is an excellent alternative to other forms of exercise, as it is not as hard on your body.

“Cycling is a great cardio workout without the pounding and impact of running,” Levine said.

Yet despite the physical benefits of cycling, Levine expressed that indoor cycling is not a form of exercise she particularly enjoys to do alone, but rather with a community.

“I do not actually love cycling, especially by myself,” Levine said. “But doing it in a class format with good music makes it fun. Coming together with the class, I feel like I can push myself harder and longer than I would if I was doing it on my own.”

For the students she instructs here at LC, Levine shared her overall class goals.

“I try to create classes that allow students to push themselves, regardless of their current level of fitness,” Levine stated. “My goal is that they will be able to work harder and recover more quickly by the end of the semester. If students can set goals and experience progress, I think that can be empowering.”

Besides concentrating on physical capabilities and advancements, Levine also focuses on creating an enjoyable environment for her students to feel comfortable and thrive in.

“I also try to play upbeat music that goes along with what we are doing on the bike — intervals, sprints, hills, etc.,” Levine said. “I ask the classes to provide songs they want to listen to.”

Levine expressed that indoor cycling is great for students at any level of physical fitness because the exercise is adaptable.

“Each student can individually determine how much resistance they want and how fast and hard they want to pedal,” Levine said. “We start off the beginning of the semester with much shorter classes and then work up to about a 35-minute workout.”

Besides being a physical challenge, Levine acknowledged that indoor cycling, as with most forms of exercise, requires time to become accustomed to.

“The only thing that can be a little tough is getting used to the bike seat for the first time,” Levine said. “Even for me when I take a break for a while, sitting on that bike seat can make you sore. But stick it out! After two to three times, your body definitely gets used to it.”

The classes provided by LC are held in the Pamplin Sports Center. However, if those do not seem to coincide with your schedule there are several bikes that are stationed inside Pamplin near the front entrance and two more in the weight room that are free to be used at anytime. If you are a student that is trying to incorporate cardio into your daily routine and looking for something that will not put too much stress on your body, indoor cycling is a wonderful option.

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