Spinning was THE exercise in the 90’s and early 00’s! It is safe to say that spinning has continued to be a hit in the fitness industry, and is still the go-to workout for many women who fell in love with the spinning hype back then! Life has inevitably changed since then, and many women who were once the youngest in the spinning class are now the veterans of the bike. You may be wondering if spinning is good for the menopause. The short answer is: yes, but there needs to be more than just spinning. Let us explain this for you.

 

Menopause is arguably one of the biggest transitions that we will ever experience in our lives as women. Hot flashes, a racing heart all of a sudden which runs us into a wall of anxiety, how we feel in our bodies that seemed to have changed overnight…it is all a bit complex. It is often during menopause that the hunt for exercises that make us feel good, and improve our symptoms begin. 

Among the many options of fitness classes and options available today, spinning is still a popular exercise choice for women, renown for its high-energy, low impact and feel-good factor. Indoor cycling enthusiasts, listen up!

In this article we lay it all out for you. The advantages of spinning for managing menopause symptoms, what you need to be careful of, and hear from our Founder, Louise, with her expert opinion on spinning during the menopause.

 

The Changes we Experience during Menopause

The changes that each women experiences during menopause will be completely unique to her, but beneath the symptoms that show up is a decline in estrogen. It is this decline that leads to any and all of the physical and emotional changes that you are experiencing.

To find out more about menopause and the symptoms, click here.

 

The Role of Exercise During Menopause

Exercise plays an incredibly important role in menopause. Essentially, it is a tool that we can use to mitigate the side effects of menopause and future-proof our health and well-being. 

I know what you are thinking: “But my experience of menopause is making me tired, and I am not feeling good!?” It probably feels like yet another thing to add onto your plate, or your to-do list? 

The right exercise during menopause is a game changer.

Regular physical activity, the type that works for you, will help when managing the changes in your metabolism, manage your difficult symptoms and assist you to age well; with maintaining cardiovascular health, bone health and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Which is a something that you absolutely should be considering!

 

These are all well and good, but we don’t really see or feel the impact of these changes right away…but have you ever left a workout and just felt excellent?

Feeling pumped for the day, or a huge sense of achievement and your spirits are lifted? This occurs because exercise releases endorphins – known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone, which is a wonderful help in alleviating the mood and psychological symptoms of menopause, and contribute to a better overall mental health. 

There is no hiding from it. Regular exercise will significantly improve the quality of life of a woman going through the menopause. 

 

Spinning and Menopause

A quick spinning 101, in case you aren’t entirely sure what spinning is:

Spinning is also known as indoor cycling. It is a type of exercise that is completed on a stationary bike, typically in the form of a class; inside a cycling studio in the gym. A spinning class typically has an endurance, intervals and a HIIT section.

Spinning is cardio

As the title explains, spinning is what we would class as cardiovascular based training. In very simple terms, this means that spinning works the heart and lungs in particular. 

As far as any cardiovascular exercise goes, spinning is actually one of the best classes you can do for your cardiovascular fitness whether you are menopausal or not! 

 

Spinning will benefit your cardiovascular system during menopause by:

Increasing your brains release of the noradrenaline neurotransmitter. Noradrenlaine plays an essential role in your regulating your attention span, cognitive function and also controlling the stress responses that we feel.

There is some research that suggests stress may contribute to hot flashes, and the lack of our nervous system being able to regulate this stress during menopause. Therefore, exercising to help alleviate your stress and help our bodies regulate our noradrenaline is a win-win situation!


Decrease your resting heart rate. A lower resting heart rate means that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard at rest, in order to keep everything functioning properly. Think of it as making your heart more efficient.

 

Slowing down the rate of weight gain during menopause and aging. There are many factors that influence this, but regular spin classes are a fantastic way to manage potential weight gain from hormonal changes and also from aging. 

With regular exercise like spinning (and other forms of exercise) we may be able to not only reduce overall fat, but also the fat in mid-section. The fat that surrounds our internal organs especially! Which is fantastic from a health perspective too, not just how we look. 

And more!

But as a woman in the menopause, you need more…

Spinning and cardiovascular focused exercised doesn’t cover all of the bases that you need as a woman going through the menopause. 

There is one very important training approach that you need to incorporate alongside your spinning classes, in order to make your training have the best impact on your menopause experience and for your health in the long-term. 

Resistance training. 

Yep, we said it. Resistance training. 

Spinning and resistance training together is a recipe of success!

 

A snippet of why strength training is important alongside your spinning during menopause:

  • As we progress through the menopause, we lose muscle mass. This is due to the decline in estrogen, and a little bit of aging. Resistance training combats this by generating muscle making cells. 
  • More muscle = a higher metabolic rate. With a higher metabolic rate, you will burn more calories at rest. Resistance training protects your metabolism and helps to stop it from slowing down.
  • The decline of estrogen in menopause impacts our bone mass and bone density. During the menopause phase, we lose about 20% of our bone mass and increase our risk of osteoporosis, which is bad news for us getting older. Resistance training = longevity of better health.
  • And more!

 

We aren’t telling you to drop the spin classes and pick up a weight…

But spinning on its own is not going to give you the best outcomes for menopause and aging.

You need a more ‘whole’ approach to your training.

 

TIP: Swap one of your spin classes for an introduction with a Personal Trainer around the gym. Ask about the classes that can offer a resistance training approach. This is a great place to start!

Our Expert Opinion

“Exercise in general, no matter how you do it, will benefit you during the menopause. Consistent and regular exercise that works for you will work wonders on many aspects of your health and well-being, which is important even more now that you are going through the menopause. Spinning is a great approach for your cardiovascular health but the ultimate combination of exercise during menopause would be spinning and some sort of resistance training. By doing cardiovascular training and resistance training you will be improving on the foundation that you already have, as well as working on future proofing your body for the upcoming years. Whether that be continuing through the menopause or postmenopause.”

References

Find out more

References
Daley, A. J., Stokes-Lampard, H. J., & MacArthur, C. (2009). Exercise to reduce vasomotor and other menopausal symptoms: a review. Maturitas, 63(3), 176-180.

Dugan, S. A., Everson‐Rose, S. A., Karavolos, K., Avery, E. F., Wesley, D. E., & Powell, L. H. (2010). Physical activity and reduced intra‐abdominal fat in midlife African‐American and white women. Obesity, 18(6), 1260-1265.

MacDonald, H. M., New, S. A., Campbell, M. K., & Reid, D. M. (2003). Longitudinal changes in weight in perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women: effects of dietary energy intake, energy expenditure, dietary calcium intake and hormone replacement therapy. International journal of obesity, 27(6), 669-676.

Sandercock, G. R., Bromley, P. D., & Brodie, D. A. (2005). Effects of exercise on heart rate variability: inferences from meta-analysis. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 37(3), 433-439.

Stacy Sims and Selene Yeager. Next Level: Your Guide to Kicking Ass, Feeling Great, and Crushing Goals Through Menopause and Beyond.

Sternfeld B, Dugan S. Physical activity and health during the menopausal transition. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011 Sep;38(3):537-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.05.008. PMID: 21961719; PMCID: PMC3270074.

Wallace, B. A., & Cumming, R. G. (2000). Systematic review of randomized trials of the effect of exercise on bone mass in pre-and postmenopausal women. Calcified tissue international, 67, 10-18.

Yavuz, A., Sarı, İ., Habipoğlu, S., & Ayan, D. (2022). The effects of moderate-intensity step-aerobics, spinning, and educational game exercise programs on plasma dopamine and oxytocin levels in women in the menopausal transition period. Journal of Surgery & Medicine (JOSAM), 6(9).

https://www.endocrine.org/patient-engagement/endocrine-library/menopause-and-bone-loss

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/menopause/what-menopause

https://www.rcog.org.uk/for-the-public/browse-our-patient-information/treatment-for-symptoms-of-the-menopause/

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photo credit: burnfitnessltd (instagram)

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