Written by Victoire Morier

Chances are, when you mention “spin class”, you’ll get one of the following: “It’s great!”, “Be careful – I’ve heard that people have died.” and “What’s that?”

For the uninitiated, spin class is a low-impact indoor cycling activity that combines high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts with a stationary bicycle, fast-paced music and strobing lights. In other words, spin class consists of riding an indoor bicycle that’s going nowhere and activities such as crunches, sprinting and resistance training – in a gymnasium that resembles a club.

For all that it sounds fun and easy, spin classes are gruelling cardiovascular experiences that should not be undertaken more than perhaps two to four times a week.

Is spin really dangerous?

In and of itself, the activity is not really dangerous. After all, indoor cycling machines have been around far longer than classes have been. Without the classes, using indoor cycling equipment carries approximately the same risk similar devices like the elliptical machine or treadmill do.

However, danger does lie in ignoring the body’s signals for rest and/or water. In this sense, spin classes can carry the same type of risk many other sports do – the risk of dehydration and overexertion.

This risk can be mitigated by keeping a weather eye out for dehydration and overexertion, as well as by being aware of the body’s limits and understanding how to pace oneself. In other words, if the body signals that it needs a rest, one should take a rest.

So is spin a good activity?

Unfortunately, there’s no right answer to that – it really depends on what a person is looking for in an exercise regime – but at the bottom of it all, indoor cycling, even without the spin class element, is a low-impact exercise that can be an enjoyable one.