Spinning: An Alternative to Running

Spinning: An Alternative to Running

Spinning: An Alternative to Running

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

After 30-plus years of running, I have had to cut my running back due to arthritis and the multiple injuries that I have sustained recently. I must admit, I have always used running as a way to control my weight and also control my stress levels. I used to say the first 30 minutes is for my body and the next 30 minutes is for my mind. While I like cycling outdoors, it takes twice as long to burn the same amount of calories that running does – or so I thought. Cycling outdoors is just not safe these days, plus the cold weather is not my idea of great cycling weather. But fortunately, I have found a way of exercising that burns almost as many calories for the same amount of time of running – spinning . I have to admit, before I found out how many calories one burns during indoor spinning classes, I was more stressed out about my inability to run due my recovery from my in injury. (See Table 1. Calories Burned Per Minute of Spinning at Various Weights in Pounds ).

The typical spinning class lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. Each class has an instructor who continuously changes the intensity of the spinning. The class is choreographed to motivational music. The class starts out slow to warm your muscles up, then you will climb hills, race down the hills, do sprints, or you can do whatever you want. Because of my injury, I spend less time seated and more time standing. I usually attend classes at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center. Some of the bikes at BEM have computers which track your heart rate, cadence, miles cycled and calories burned. I always wear my heart rate monitor so I can determine how hard I am working on the bike. I sweat intensely during these classes.

When I can''t get to spinning class, I spin at home. Several years ago, my husband bought me a new stationary bike from Scheller''s Fitness & Cycling. It''s called a Cycle Ops Pro 300PT. This stationary bike comes equipped with all the bells and whistles. It records distance, cadence, heart rate and for the techno minded people you can even plug all the data into the computer to track your progress. I must admit, the spinning classes provide me with an environment that makes me work harder whereas when I am at home I don''t feel that I get the intense workout that I get in the group setting.

Table 1. Calories Burned Per Minute of Spinning at Various Weights in Pounds (#)

Activity 110# 130# 150# 170# 190#


9 10.7 12.4 14.1 15.7


10.8 12.7 14.8 16.7 18.7
Running on flat surface

11 min/mile

6.8 7.9 9.2 10.5 11.7

9 min/mile

9.7 11.4 13.1 14.9 16.6

7 min/mile

12.2 13.9 15.6 17.4 19.1

6 min/mile

13.9 16.9 19.7 22.2 24.9

*From: www.self.com/health/activity/calculation/spinning

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