Fitness Trends

Ready to Go Spinning?

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By Nick Parkinson, M.Ed., ATC, AT

Spinning is one of few fitness crazes that have withstood the test of time. And for good reason — it’s a heart-pumping cycling workout that’s easy on the joints. Add spirited instructors, hooting, hollering, music and a sense of community to the mix, and it’s no wonder spin classes continue to headline at gyms around the country.

Since your feet never touch the ground, spinning doesn’t tax the joints the way other cardio activities like running and jumping do.

Spin-offs like SoulCycle (a spin class with a spiritual element) and Flywheel (which incorporates upper body movements and interval training) have become the celebrity workout of choice while traditional spin classes continue to attract fitness enthusiasts. Here are five good reasons to consider going for a spin:

  1. It works your heart. Spin classes go far beyond just pedaling on a stationery bike. Aside from the intense workout, the thumping music and the energy in the room get your heart pumping. The end result: an awesome cardiovascular workout that torches calories by the bushel.
  1. It’s easy on the joints. If running, aerobics and other forms of vigorous aerobic exercise begin taxing your joints, spinning is an ideal way to stay in shape. In fact, spinning is among the lowest-impact cardiovascular workouts, so it’s great for seniors, newbies and injured athletes who are recovering.
  1. It tones your legs. The muscles you work during a spin class – your glutes and quadriceps – are among the biggest muscles in the body. In fact, all of the muscles in your legs get strengthened and toned, and if you use proper form, you’ll learn to stabilize your core.
  1. It’s fun! Spin instructors double as entertainers. Some even add a spiritual element to the class, reminding you to dig deep and find your strength. Add it all together and a 60-minute workout flies by fast.
  1. There’s a sense of community. For most people who spin, cycle time is more than just an opportunity to sweat. Most classes have an upbeat, encouraging vibe. People are cheering, hollering it’s almost like being at a sporting event. People don’t judge each other. It’s a really good environment.

Before you become a spinning devotee, keep in mind that traditional spin classes don’t work your upper body. New spinners have to learn to let go of the death grip on the handlebars and stop crouching over the bike in ways that compromise the body.

Leaning on the handlebars can tax the shoulders, but not in the best ways. It’s like sitting over a computer and holding your shoulders up to your ears.

A more important cautionary note: it’s easy to overexert yourself. You can overstress your body to the point where your muscles start to shut down, so it’s important to recognize your limitations.

Related topic: Living with Back Pain? 5 Core Exercises You Need

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