Spin Class with Migraines

When I started getting migraines working out took a major back seat.  Now that it’s been over a year, I wanted to commit to getting back in shape.  Some of the classes at the gym can be really tough because they are SO LOUD.  Spin being the worst offender, cranking the volume to deafening.  I have found ways to go to Spin class and not die in the process.

Water Before and During

Make sure you are hydrated.  Even if you don’t have migraines, being dehydrated can and will cause a headache.  I drink 4-8oz of water and I fill my 24oz water bottle and finish it off during the class.

Talk To the Instructor

Don’t be embarrassed to let the instructor know you have migraines.  While a lot of Spin instructors love to crank the dial, their main goal is to help their class get in shape in a safe way.  If it gets a little too loud, raise your hand and say so.

Picking Your Bike

Sit as far away from the speakers as possible (get to class a little early).  If you have informed your instructor about your migraines and sound sensitivity, they can direct you to which bikes are furthest from speakers since they know the layout.

Tip to Relax Your Eyes

Watch the instructor’s feet to keep the pace.  The screen can feel so bright in a dimmed/dark room.  It can feel like brighter than it actually is.  The instructor will be pedaling to the pace.  Keeping an eye on their feet can help you know how fast to pedal.

If Your Eyes Are Really Bothering You

This might feel weird, but one thing that helps if my migraine is stronger than a typical day is closing my eyes during class.  Don’t worry, no one is looking at you.  Everyone is focused on the instructor or their screens.  Again, no one is looking at you!

To help keep my pace I’ll tap my hand to the beat of the music.  I will flutter my eyes open once in a while to check my RPMs and usually I’m more on pace with my eyes shut then open. Go figure!  If my RPMs are dropping, since I talked to my instructor, he will sometimes cue the beat verbally (left, right, left, right).  An instructor will often cue the pace throughout the class so don’t feel like they are calling you out.

Muffle the Volume

I use these ear plugs, but shop around because I tried a few before finding what was comfortable for me.  Seems like a no brainer, but a lot of people have hearing sensitivity and don’t (or won’t) wear ear plugs to class.  I don’t care if it makes me nerdy if it means I’m more comfortable.  This only muffles the sound, not cancel it completely.  You do need the beat of the music to help you work out and hear the instructor because the pace and gear shift throughout the class.



I thought I wouldn’t be able to do Spin class but I’ve been going regularly for five or six months now.  I’m not a medical professional or a personal trainer, and always consult with your doctor. This is what has worked for me, and if you suffer from migraines, everyone’s body is different so adjust for what works best for you.  My final tip is to listen to your body.  Working out should feel uncomfortable but not painful!

If you have a tip, let me know.  I’m always looking for ways to make my workout easier (but still pushing myself!)

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