I'm an active person, and I like all kinds of exercise. A couple times a week, I run outside, either next to the Hudson River in NYC or along the sound in Connecticut. I go to the gym when it's crummy out and do some elliptical, swim, or do strength-training routines. I also love to hike. Kayaking, horseback riding, bike rides, yoga and long walks in foreign cities all keep my head clear, my muscles healthy and my heart (hopefully) healthy. I enjoy exercise, but more than that, I've noticed that it keeps the blues away, and reduces my stress levels better than anything else.


Honestly, I work out more for my head than my body — when I go more than a couple days without doing something heart-elevating, I get bummed out. 


But a spin class is like getting the benefits from working out — from heart to butt to head — and multiplying it by five. After just under an hour at a Flywheel sports spin class, I'm in a seriously elevated mood. In some crazy combination of continually yelled motivation, loud-ass music, herd mentality and brinksmanship (Flywheel posts those competitive souls' overall "power" produced on a board at random points in the class), I walk out of those classes feeling just short of amazing, no hyperbole. 


Flywheel and competitor Soul Cycle sell their classes at a premium (Flywheel is just a couple bucks cheaper than Soul Cycle, but both hover around the $30 mark), and they're packed and both expanding at a pretty serious clip. Yes, even I can't believe I pay that much for an exercise class — I'm a writer, not an heiress — but the classes are that good.


Sometimes suspiciously good. I've tried analyzing what it is exactly about these classes that make them so fun and while I feel better than I do after an equally heart-pounding run or a great yoga class, but I can't figure it out. All I can say is that judging by my fellow riders, I'm not the only one who feels this way. I know plenty of yoga devotees who say similar things about practicing vinyasa or hot yoga, but I've never gotten the kind of high I get from spinning at a yoga class. 


Have you tried spinning? Love it or hate it? 


Related on MNN: 5 chair exercises you can do at the office


MNN tease photo of spin bike: Shutterstock


Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.