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How a Loyola Spin Class Landed Me in the Hospital

*Disclaimer* Don’t be afraid to venture out and attend a class. This is my experience from attending one and a potential effect that may occur.  

My first year of college was challenging due to COVID-19, and we had to move in during the spring semester. I was looking for something to do, so I decided that I wanted to try out a spin class. This was (and still is) a popular workout that people attended. I decided to sign up for a spin class and was super excited to try it out. I figured that since I had played sports my entire life and enjoyed exercising, I should not have too much difficulty. Boy, was I wrong! 

I finished my classes for the day and headed to the FAC (Fitness and Aquatic Center). I was a little nervous because I hated attending events without knowing anyone. When I arrived, I listened to the instructor on how to set up the bike correctly. I hopped on the bike and started to get a feel for it. People started rolling in, and the music started pumping. I was ready to have fun while also getting cardio into my routine. As soon as we started, we were already standing up on the bike and doing push-ups. Oh no, I was not cut out for this!  

About ten minutes in, my legs gave out, and I just laughed it off because I was embarrassed. I thought, “great, everyone behind me just saw my legs completely give out.” I just sat back on the seat and decided to pedal at my own pace until I felt comfortable enough to get back up again. That time came, and I thought I was ready to try again. The second I got back up to standing, my legs gave up again, which was even worse this time. I made the decision that I needed to leave the class. So, I got off the bike and tried to walk out. I had the most difficulty walking without feeling like my legs were about to collapse underneath me. I threw myself on the nearest bench and called my mom crying. I was so embarrassed that I had to leave early, not even worried about the pain I was in. My mom told me, “it’s all right! I’m proud of you for trying. You are just in pain because you activated muscles that you aren’t used to working.”  

I returned to my dorm, still in the worst pain and struggling to walk. The time came for me to go to bed, and I was in so much pain that I felt sick. I did not sleep the entire night from severe discomfort. The next day came around, and my ability to walk became worse. Stairs and sitting were impossible. I had barely any strength to stand back up without using my arms to pull myself back up. Maybe I just pulled my muscles or strained them? Night came around again, and I did not sleep. The following day, I called Student Health Services on campus and told the Nurse Practitioner all my symptoms. She told me that my best bet was to go to urgent care because she did not think there was anything they could do for me at health services. I went to the urgent care, and the Nurse Practitioner would not even see me. He told me I probably had Rhabdomyolysis and needed to get to the ER. So, I went, and by that point, I had wholly lost strength in my legs and couldn’t walk. The nurses could not find a pulse in my feet, and I started to panic. They drew my blood, and sure enough, I had Rhabdomyolysis. This severe medical condition can be fatal or result in permanent disability. The muscles in your body begin to deteriorate and release toxins into the bloodstream, which can cause kidney failure. I was terrified because I became paralyzed from my waist down, unable to move my legs alone without someone moving them for me. My creatine kinase levels should have been near 100, but mine were at 77,000. The decision to take a spin class led me to be in the hospital for a week on close watch and unable to fully regain my strength until months later.  

In the months after, I struggled to participate in the activities I loved. I eventually regained my mental and physical strength, so now this is just a fun story. I would never stop people from attending a spin class because this could definitely be something exciting. However, it is also essential to know that Rhabdomyolysis can be caused by attending a spin class.

Abygale is an Accounting major from New Jersey and is a part of Loyola Maryland’s class of 2024. She also really enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and baking during her free time.