Experts Warn of Dangers of Intense Exercise


News reports about the dangers of intense exercise are spreading across the country after a man left a spin class and was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening muscle disorder.

Now, doctors say there are signs to look for before you end up in the emergency room.

A story came out from CNN this week talking about a condition called rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle caused by over exertion.

Doctors say this disease is not diagnosed often, but people really need to stop pushing through the pain and listen to their bodies.

Rhabdomyolysis is something athletic trainers are taught about, but say it’s rare to see.

“Specifically with rhabdo’, one of the things that was always stressed to us is that the body has a lot of ways of giving you feedback long before you get there,” said Justin Goodman, co-owner of Zoom Indoor Cycling

Not being able to catch your breath, feeling nauseous, even yawning during exercise are some signs trainers or instructors look for in a client that is being overworked.

“The day after your first class you might feel a little bit sore, but for the most part it’s not like heavy weightlifting where you’re going to feel sore for a few days. It should last no more than one day,” Goodman said.

Doctors agree. They say it’s something they used to see with military recruits, but that’s not the case anymore.

“It’s more people like us, it’s middle-aged people who are not in shape who are excessively exercising,” said SMJ Director of Sports Medicine Dr. Stephen B. Gunther.

It’s a disorder some people have started to associate with spin classes.

“Spin gets a bad rep when it comes to cases of people getting rhabdo’, because it’s popular. So in cases of people having a hard time with high intensity cardio workouts, it’s obviously going to be in something that more people are doing,” said Goodman.

If you are exercising and start to feel the burning in your muscles, that’s the first sign. Pushing too hard through that lactic acid build up can cause muscle damage and more.

“You can get breakdown of the muscle, and that can send little things to the kidney which is not good and you can get very sick which is very uncommon and very easily avoidable,” Gunther said.

The key to preventing this is to exercise reasonably and work your way up slowly. Doctors say that hydration before exercise is key to helping with muscle recovery. And if you’re sore, rest for a while before working that same area again.

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