Spinning is awesome. You’re indoors away from the sun, that euphoria that comes from pushing yourself to the max while you ride to killer music is indescribable, and as opposed to popular belief, you do get a full-body workout beyond those legs! There’s literally no wondering why this form of exercise is so beloved, and most importantly, you burn a ton of calories in an intense but short amount of time.
With all that said, doctors are now warning first timers who are attempting this high-intensity workout about exertional rhabdomyolysis. This rare but severe condition can occur after a muscle injury in the past and can be triggered by various causes such as overdoing it at the gym and car crash injuries.
What happens is that damaged skeletal muscle fibres start to disintegrate rapidly, releasing its substances into the bloodstream. In extreme cases, it can lead to life-threatening kidney damage. Symptoms of exertional rhabdomyolysis that may occur after a first spin class include nausea, vomiting, tenderness, weakness and swelling, whereas treatment involves aggressive intravenous fluid hydration.
Before you dismiss the condition thinking it won’t happen to you, think again. A 2017 study has attested that 42 out of 49 reported cases of this condition occurred after a first spin class, and three out of the 42 then developed acute kidney injury. While the authors of the study do not discourage spinning, they are advising first timers to take it slow when they start and gradually increase the intensity over time.
The takeaway from this is not to overexert yourself during any activity your body isn’t quite capable of managing. This applies to any form of exercise of course, but pay extra attention when you do decide on spinning!