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Spinning - Crazy Fad or Useful Exercise?

Updated on August 12, 2016
Spinning bike - working up a sweat
Spinning bike - working up a sweat | Source

Introduction to Spinning Exercise Classes

This is merely a page to discuss advantages and disadvantages of Spinning exercises, from a personal point of view. This page shares my opinions, but includes facts about this fitness activity that is becoming popular around the globe.

Poll - Spinning Exercises - Exercise your right to vote!

[Wikipedia]-Spin home trainer, circa 1924
[Wikipedia]-Spin home trainer, circa 1924

Do you think that spinning exercises are more beneficial than regular traditional exercise workouts?

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Spinning Classes
Spinning Classes

Spinning - Crazy Fad or Useful Exercise?

Things you need to know about this growing exercise trend

Spinning? When I first heard this term, I pictured people standing around in a room and simply turning their entire bodies around in a circle. And I thought what are those fitness fanatics going to think of next? When I decided to search Google, I found out that it was just some type of indoor work out where the participants all utilize stationary cycling bikes. Now while exercising on a stationary bike is nothing new, I was surprised to discover that in Spinning classes, participants were usually grouped together in a close setting. In addition the instructor/gunnery sergeant would be barking orders, all to the beat of up-tempo dance music.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the gym. However I still see the need for exercise. My philosophy is that you should enjoy your workout; and not view it as a chore. That way, time passes quickly and you have fun during your workout. The very thought of being cooped up inside a small room, [even with air conditioning], and having to stare at the sweaty backside of the person in front of me, is not my idea of fun - AT ALL.

In a perfect world, people would simply eat what they want when they want and they would remain at their ideal weight and wouldn't gain any additional weight. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world and persons have to find a way to include exercise workouts within their hectic lives.

Whatever happened to riding a bike in the great outdoors? That was fun, and if you had a friend on another bike, they would challenge you to a race and off you would go. With the wind streaming through your hair, and the sun on your face, you could have yourself a fantastic workout. Spinning attempts to do the same thing, minus all the things that make the outdoors not such a wonderful place. Allergens, bugs in your teeth, traffic, and inclement weather conditions are just a few of the myriad of problems encountered by persons in their everyday lives.

What is Spinning all about?

Spinning classes usually take place in a fitness studio where experiments in mood lighting and rhythmic beats try to create some sort of keyed up atmosphere. Instructors are present to assist participants through the different workout phases. The lead instructor can often be identified by the headset microphone that he/she wears, shouting out commands in an authoritative tone. The participants have to keep adjusting resistance, and matching the speeds of the workout timeline.

Workouts can last anywhere from between 30 minutes to over 65 minutes, and remember you'll be glued to your stationary bike, trying to match the intensity of other members within your Spinning group. Breaks are minimal, or none at all depending on the lead instructor. To rehydrate, participants are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. It is also a good idea to bring your own towels/rags to wipe away perspiration, as well as comfortable exercise clothing that is breathable.

I tried a Spinning class for six weeks before writing this article and I can tell you that you have to be in reasonably good shape before starting this routine. After the first two sessions for the week, I could barely walk as my leg muscles were so stiff, I had to retrain myself on how to walk again. During the class, much of the time was spent with my butt off the saddle for an extended period of time. I swear that my head instructor was once an apprentice trained by the Marquis de Sade. She seemed to revel in the pain and discomfort experienced by all of the participants in the group, urging and pushing everyone to try to keep up with her.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Spinning Exercises

So what are the real advantages and disadvantages of Spinning? There are many people touting the benefits of Spinning as they are disparaging it. Proponents argue that Spinning can provide a person with a better work out than utilizing several different workout machines during a gym session. It also burns more calories by keeping more muscle groups in better shape especially in inclement weather. They also report that it's great for everyone, regardless of ability. In addition, many of these bikes are equipped with universal toe clips that can accommodate most athletic footwear.

They also argue that Spinning causes fewer injuries than other exercises such as jogging or any other aerobic exercises [such as dance-type workouts]. Also they say a big motivational factor, is the ability to track your progress in real time while using the stationary bikes. And you get to do all this without wearing a goofy-looking helmet. Too, people with arthritis can benefit from these Spinning exercises.

But I ask myself, who are these "experts" anyway? Have they ever actually met anyone with severe arthritic conditions? I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the instructors of these Spinning classes that are its greatest supporters.

On the other hand, opponents argue that Spinning routines can be seen as tedious, as instructors have to keep ramping up the intensity for the participants, for them to see any real benefit. Also not everyone likes being in a near claustrophobic situation being surrounded by smelly, sweaty people making grunting sounds. So if you're a loner, Spinning classes are not for you.

Researchers in Sweden, now suddenly claim that Spinning exercises are biochemically similar to having a heart attack. Heart-stopping, isn't it? Go here to read the full article.


So my final thoughts? There are some aspects of Spinning that can be beneficial, but Spinning exercises alone do not provide you with a full body workout. Spinning can be included and can replace other aerobic exercises such as jogging on the treadmill. In addition, to prevent injuries, it is always a good idea to stretch your muscles properly before each session.

If I don't have to see another stationary bike again, it'll be too soon. I know my thigh muscles will thank me for this decision.

You don't have to be pressured while exercising. Your workout routine shouldn't be that - routine. Find an activity that you love e.g. skipping rope, and you'll be surprised how time flies when you're having fun. Grab a friend with similar body type so you won't get conceited or intimidated when you both workout. Stretch properly before beginning any exercise workout and remember to keep hydrated. Above all, have fun!

Gym Exercises - Images courtesy of Wikipedia

Click thumbnail to view full-size
[Wikipedia]-Stationary cycle classes at gym with lead instructor[Wikipedia]-Stationary spin cycle practice at gym[Wikipedia]-Spin home trainer, circa 1924[Wikipedia]-Stationary bicycle trainer.jpg[Wikipedia]-Foundation-20F9-0353.jpg[Wikipedia]-Spinning on roller.jpg[Wikipedia]-Spinning driving wheel.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Stationary cycle classes at gym with lead instructor
[Wikipedia]-Stationary cycle classes at gym with lead instructor
[Wikipedia]-Stationary spin cycle practice at gym
[Wikipedia]-Stationary spin cycle practice at gym
[Wikipedia]-Spin home trainer, circa 1924
[Wikipedia]-Spin home trainer, circa 1924
[Wikipedia]-Stationary bicycle trainer.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Stationary bicycle trainer.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Spinning on roller.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Spinning on roller.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Spinning driving wheel.jpg
[Wikipedia]-Spinning driving wheel.jpg

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