Know the Rare and Dangerous Side Effect That Is Affecting Weekend Warriors

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Experts say more intense exercise classes are putting people at risk for “rhabdo.” Here are some tips on how to avoid it.

A rare, serious side effect of exercise is not only affecting extreme athletes, but it’s also popping up in weekend warriors.

Rhabdomyolysis, or “rhabdo,” is a rare condition that can occur from exercising. Muscles become so overworked their cell contents are released into the blood stream, causing injury to the kidneys.

In recent years, exercise classes that push people to up their cardio — sometimes dramatically — have become more and more popular.

Dr. Robert Flannery, a sports medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, said it’s these classes that can sometimes cause amateur athletes to push themselves a little too far.

“We’re seeing more of it with coach-driven exercise classes,” Flannery told Healthline. “The big one that seems to have the most is the spin classes … you see it a little bit in some of the Zumba intense workout classes.”

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