SARASOTA, Fla. - CrossFit is known as a hardcore, results-driven workout. But hidden dangers of the push-yourself-beyond-limits discipline can impact your health, maybe even your life.
This is what you may expect in a forty-five minute to an hour CrossFit class says Suncoast fitness enthusiast Jason Koczman: "We ran a mile and then we did a combination of running, or doing three hundred, two hundred push ups and a hundred pull ups, and then we ran another mile. I was exhausted."
We all want to look better, feel stronger and go forever, but why do some exercise to the point of exhaustion and muscle failure? "I like to train at a high intensity, so I find those workouts are very satisfying," says Koczman.
The quest to be Uber-fit and engage in classes like CrossFit can lead to unwanted medical problems including overuse injuries.
"I've had people that have ruptured their knee cap tendon, ruptured their rotator cuff, broken their kneecaps...Achilles tendon is a common injury," says Sarasota-based Orthopedic Surgeon, John T. Moor of Advanced Sports Medicine Center.
These are some signs and symptoms to watch out for he explained. "Sudden painful sharp pain that gets better when you stop but it doesn't go away completely, sometimes associated with bleeding and swelling and bruising."
Even elite athletes aren't exempt from serious conditions, like exercise induced rhabdomyolsis. "The muscles break down, the protein in the muscles go to the kidneys, the kidneys actually fail. They call it acute renal failure; it can be fatal, it can be permanently damaging to your kidneys where you have to have to have dialysis and ongoing terrible problems."
Although rare, rhabdomyolisis can even cause death. But you can protect yourself when working out by hydrating, staying cool, avoid stressing your muscles, and most of all listen to your body. If you are in pain... stop.
But, is it OK to for those of a certain fitness level to do CrossFit? "It is," says Dr. Moor. "And, as we get older you'll have to still modify it a little bit because the older we get the less our body can heal itself."
Its always good to check with your doctor before starting a new activity to make sure its appropriate for you, and because of the intensity of CrossFit, you may want to be a little more cautious before jumping in.