Spin classes have gained popularity in recent years and there has been a rise in trendy boutique studios. They can be a great option for a fun and challenging workout, but as with all group fitness classes, there are pros and cons to spin.
Low impact exercise:
Cycling is a great alternative for cardiovascular activity that isn’t hard on your joints. It’s low intensity means that it is suitable for most people regardless of age and fitness level. Cycling is also a good option to keep cardio fitness while recovering from a lower body injury (depending on the injury, of course).
Group fitness motivation:
Group classes, especially spin classes, are fun fitness environments. Not only are there typically many people in a spin class, they usually also have a fun, motivational instructor and great music. Some are even held in dark studios that almost give the class a club-like feel.
Time effective HIIT:
Spin is a high intensity workout, usually consisting of a combination of “sprints” and “climbs”. You work hard during these intervals, which contributes to the calorie burning effects of spin. Like any HIIT workout, it’s a good bang for your buck when it comes to overall effectiveness in a short time period.
Spinning can boost overall cardiovascular health. Continually working at high heart rate intensities has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure, as well as lowering overall resting heart rate.
Not the best for beginners:
Depending on your fitness level, spinning might be too intense. There is a risk that someone new to exercise or spin in general might overexert themselves in a class. It’s important to ease into it and listen to your body if you are not conditioned to deal with the intensity of spin.
Spin classes have gained popularity, which has resulted in a rise in the cost of classes. Many classes are upwards of $20 for a drop in, and many studios require you to purchase a pack of classes. There are some exceptions, as in community centres that offer spin classes that are free with a facility membership.
While it might be perceived as a positive that your intensity is self-determined, this is actually a downside. The effectiveness of spin relies on intensity, which means that it is up to the participant to push themselves appropriately. This is easier said than done, and many people struggle to push themselves enough in these types of classes.
No progression program:
Spin classes are a great workout, but they don’t allow for much progression. While you’ll gain cardiovascular fitness from spin class, eventually, this will lead to a plateau. Additionally, because there is no structured progression, it is up to the participant to push harder as their fitness increases in order to continue to see progress.
To know if spin is right for you and your fitness goals, try out a class! Just be sure to educate yourself before you go in.
Kristen Hansen, BA, CSEP-CPT, PFT-NAIT, NASM-CES, FRCms
SVPT Fitness & Athletics