Overdoing It On A Spin Bike Can Be Dangerous

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By Natalie Martin

There is no denying that spinning is popular. The high energy classes are exhilarating, and can make exercising seem fun. According to Dr. Nadya Swedan, a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, spinning for an hour can burn up to 700 calories. Best of all, this exercise machine is generally considered safe for almost everyone.

However, Dr. Swedan is quick to point out that spinning can also be potentially dangerous if you overdo it.


Dangers of “Overspinning”

Getting in your cardio on a spin bike is a fantastic way to get healthy and stay in shape. Health problems typically only happen when you push your body too hard. These can also occur when you overdo it on a spin bike.

“Overspinning” is usually defined as taking classes 5 -7 days in a row, sometimes even back to back.

For most people, its neck and back pain caused by bad posture during spinning. Various muscle aches are also common since you do use your entire body.

These health dangers due to over exercising can usually be resolved by correcting your posture, and easing up on the intensity. Mixing up your exercise routine can also help prevent these problems.

Instead of spending one hour every day on a spin bike, change it up with a workout on an elliptical or treadmill. If you’ve hit a plateau, this can help boost you over that hurdle.

A few aches and pains might not sound that bad, after all it’s to be expected if you want to see results. Unfortunately, this is not the only danger of over exercising on a spin bike.


What is Rhabdomyolysis?

This little known and potentially life-threatening medical condition, is suddenly starting to gain attention due to the popularity of spin classes.

Rhabdomyolysis typically occurs in novice spinners, and if it is not treated immediately it could cause irreparable damage to the kidneys. The reason it can be a problem is that spinning forces you to work large muscles, usually at a high rate. The intense exercise can cause oxygen levels in the muscles to decrease. Swelling is common, but in severe cases the tissue can break down. The proteins that are released can cause kidney damage.

Dr. Maureen Brogan, a kidney specialist at Westchester Medical Center, warns that beginners need to start off slow and listen to their bodies. Most importantly take a break if needed.

Whether you are new to spinning or an experienced pro, Rhabdomyolysis is a health danger. Treatment often involves dialysis, until the kidneys are repaired. Physical therapy is also required to regain the lost muscle strength. Dr. Brogan stresses that if you experience any of these symptoms after a spinning class a licensed physician should be contacted immediately.

  • Extreme soreness or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Weakness and pain in the thighs
  • Urine is dark colored and a decrease in output
  • Severe muscle swelling and tenderness

These symptoms typically appear within 24 hours of taking a spin class, and ignoring them can lead to eventual kidney failure.


Stay Healthy and Safe Spinning

Don’t worry if you love spinning. You don’t have to give it up, simply follow a few guidelines and you can stay healthy and safe on a spin bike.

The most important is too never “overdo” it, even if you’ve been spinning for years. Even experienced athletes can damage their bodies by over exercising. If you feel lightheaded or nausea during a spin class, slow down gradually and take a break. This also applies if your muscles feel weak or “wobbly”. You don’t want to stop pedaling suddenly, it could cause additional injuries. Simply listening to your body’s needs is one of the best ways to prevent Rhabdomyolysis from ever happening to you.

Hydration during a spin class is key for your health, and most experienced trainers recommend keeping a water bottle close at hand. Dehydration can also result in severe health problems, even if you’re not overdoing it on the spin bike.

Posture is also crucial if you want to stay safe on a spinning bike, and get maximum results. It is important to remember that your form will be different on an indoor bike than it is when you’re riding outside.

When you’re on a spin bike you shouldn’t be hunched over the handle bars, this puts unnecessary strain on the body. Muscle aches commonly occur, and in some cases painful strains and tears. Keeping your shoulders back, and remembering that there shouldn’t be any weight on your hands will help ensure you can continue with the exercise you love.


You Don’t Have to Quit Spinning

Unless your physician has told you that spinning is dangerous, there is no reason for you to quit if you are getting results. Use common sense when exercising, stay hydrated, listen to your body, and spinning will continue to be a safe and effective exercise.

If you do experience any of the symptoms associated with Rhabdomyolysis it is important to seek immediate medical attention. This condition can be life-threatening if left untreated, and it can happen to beginners and experienced spinners.

When it comes to your health, it is always better to be safe and ask a physician’s advice.



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