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Spin classes: a hidden danger?

Personal fitness is a key goal for many New Yorkers these days, which is why stationary cycling classes are so popular. Also known as spinning classes, they are group workouts that strengthen the lower body and burn high amounts of calories. According to medical reports, they may also be increasing your risk of kidney damage. 

study published in the American Journal of Medicine is suggesting that these classes could put you at risk for rhabdomyolysis, a dangerous syndrome caused by muscle injury. It occurs when lack of oxygen damages the muscles, causing them to break down and send their contents into your bloodstream. Potential complications from high levels of myoglobin in the blood include:  

  • Kidney failure 
  • Cardiac arrest 

Rhabdomyolysis typically appears in people who have suffered a devastating crush injury, such as a motor vehicle collision, severe slip and fall, or building collapse. It is only recently that doctors have seen it appear in fitness enthusiasts who exceeded their limits in spin classes at the local gym. 

According to this article, half of those who develop rhabdomyolysis experience no symptoms and the condition eventually corrects itself on its own. But if you’ve reached the point where your muscles have been severely damaged, symptoms that signal a serious problem may appear, such as: 

  • An overall feeling of weakness 
  • Nausea 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Dark urine 

The Today show recently highlighted the case of a Bronx school teacher who decided to take a spin class to improve her fitness levels. After 15 minutes of intense activity, she was nauseated and nearly fainted. Two days later her thigh muscles became swollen and painful and her urine had turned dark. 

Kidney specialist Dr. Maureen Brogan told the show that guidelines are needed for spinning to be safe, as some of the biggest muscles in the body are being used at an intense rate. It’s not an activity that a novice should take without some preparation like regular moderate to medium levels of exercise. Rather than pushing themselves to do more than they can handle, they should start lower-intensity classes first. 

Although personal awareness can prevent this type of injury, it may be possible that untrained fitness facility staff members, uninformed about the connection between rhabdomyolysis and renal failure, may direct or enable a gym user to take spinning classes that exceed their abilities. If this happens to you, and you suffer kidney damage as a result, contact a New York personal injury attorney who can make sure that you are compensated for the facility’s negligence. When spin classes damage the body instead of strengthening it, any parties who contributed to your injury should be held accountable. 

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY personal injury lawyer. He offers free initial in-person consultations. In the event of a serious injury, home and/or hospital visits may be available. To schedule your appointment, call 718-329-9500.

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