Michael Hosking was a track and field athlete in college, but took up cycling after transferring to Creighton University for pre-med studies. While in graduate school at Indiana University he raced road and mountain bikes and staged various races with friends for the National Off-Road Bicycle Assocation (NORBA) series.
Cycling and science were his passion, and Michael was always interested in the body and health care. “I enjoy understanding how the body works,” said Michael, “and really see it as an incredible machine.” After earning his Ph.D. in biology he went on to teach at Davidson College, a top-ten national liberal arts college in North Carolina.
In 2010, Michael took a special interest in the mind-body connection and how aerobic exercise affects mental health and the brain. He began reading extensively on the subjects in books, online articles, and research papers in scientific journals. After reading Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey, M.D. of Harvard, Michael took a continuing education class from the author at Esalen, the famous spiritual retreat center in Big Sur, California.
“It was totally life changing,” said Michael. “That experience at Esalen studying with John Ratey inspired me to bring the newly understood body, mind and brain benefits of exercise to the public through a new indoor group cycling concept.”
Revocycle was the resulting business venture. Revocycle, which opens in September of 2012, is an indoor group cycling studio in the Pearl District with a focus on mind, body and brain health. The name captures two concepts: the very recent revolution in neuroscience that shows how exercise can dramatically improve brain health and function, and the revolution of the wheels and pedals in the cycling motion..
The intention and philosophy behind Revocycle – Michael’s vision – is different than most gym spin classes, or even spin studios, which can be intimidating to even the very fit. Michael understands that exercise is so essential to good mental and physical health that it should be accessible to all people regardless of fitness levels or experience.
Indoor cycling is a near perfect form of aerobic exercise because, unlike running or other sports that jar the joints and can create their own problems, it’s zero impact. The physical benefits of aerobic exercise are numerous and well-known: it reduces obesity and metabolic syndrome, strengthens the heart, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduces or eliminates high blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol, raises good triglycerides, significantly reduces the risk of certain cancers, reduces the effects of arthritis and the risk for it, and much, much more.
Aerobic exercise is also now known to affect the brain and emotions: it spurs creation of new neurons in the brain and improves memory, reduces cognitive decline as a result of aging, improves mood, reduces the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, reduces the risk for Parkinson’s disease and can reduce the symptoms once diagnosed, is shown to treat depression, has beneficial effects on ADHD, helps patients recovering from substance addiction, improves functioning of the prefrontal cortex (the executive center of the brain responsible for decision making), and much, much more.
In short, regular exercise is the single best predictor of physical and emotional health and is the most important determinant of long life. As researchers in the field say, if the benefits of exercise could be put in a pill it would be the the most important drug ever introduced.
“Our bodies are designed, through millions of years of evolution, to move. It is a part of who we are as a species,” said Michael. “When we move, we activate all sorts of biological processes that contribute to our mental and physical health.” Sedentary lifestyles create sickness and decline physically, neurologically and emotionally. “The science,” he says, “has become increasingly clear in the last decade- exercise can make you happier, more productive and more at peace.”
Part of the Revocycle mission is an ongoing effort to communicate to clients and instructors the new research that uncovers the important links between exercise, health, happiness and the reduction of stress.
Michael is passionate about helping others make exercise a central part of their lives. He sees Revocycle primarily as a health and happiness business built on a unique combination exercise, community and great music in beautiful and calming space. Careful attention has been paid to each of these aspects the business.The studio is equipped with 25 CycleOps 300 Pro Indoor Cycle bicycles, and a club quality audiophile sound system. A stunning oversized industrial fan keeps students cool, and a spacious entryway provides for casual conversations and coffee in the mornings.
“No gym in the city has the quality of bikes and environment and sound system that we have,” said Michael. “Its location on a cobblestone street with trees and a coffee shop across the street gives it a wonderful neighborhood feel,” said Michael, “a place where you can expect to meet old friends and make new ones.”
The classes at Revocycle don’t require any previous experience, yet are suitable for cyclists of all experience levels. The studio will offer special short, low intensity introductory classes to welcome beginners into the benefits of indoor group cycling. All classes can be booked online.
Revocycle plans on opening additional locations in Portland.
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