I feel like I’ve been lied to, misled and deceived. You spend your whole life believing something to be true only to find out that it isn’t. How is one supposed to go on in this world wracked with uncertainty?!
Okay, okay, I’m being a tad over dramatic… Alright, more than a tad. But I stand by that first statement: I feel like I’ve been lied to. The fitness blogs, the magazines, the personal trainers, they all lied. “Working out is good for you! It is the best thing you can do for your body!” Lies, all lies. I know what you’re all thinking “Alex, what are you grumbling on about? Working out IS good for you.” Well to that I say, you weren’t the one in the hospital yesterday were you! Yup, that’s right. I spent the majority of my Wednesday in the emergency room all thanks to exercise.
Let me share my warning tale. On Tuesday night I went to the gym. I had recently read an article about how the rowing machine is a super-duper full body workout. So I set myself down, put on some bass heavy jams and nailed out 20 minutes of hard core rowing. I felt great afterwards. I could really feel it in my abs and my shoulders but it was that good kind of pain that makes you feel like you’re really making a difference to your body. After that I did a short 15 minute run. No big, right? WRONG. Apparently, I pulled or sprained my diaphragm muscle.
For those of you who are not aware the diaphragm is a thin muscle that sits below the lungs at the bottom of the rib cage. In non-medical terms, when you inhale it moves down and out of the way so that the lungs can expand and when you exhale it moves upwards to help push the air out. If you’ve ever sung in a choir or played an instrument you may have heard your teacher tell you to drop your diaphragm when inhaling.
So basically my super awesome workout strained my diaphragm muscle. The muscle isn’t damaged badly enough for it to effect my normal airflow but heavy or intense breathing is an issue. I discovered this on Wednesday morning while walking to work. I was having a hell of a time inhaling, the pain in between my rib cage was so real. I attributed it to the cold air and kept on trekking (a bad idea). Once I got to my office I expected the pain to subside, it didn’t. My 20 minutes of brisk walking had caused my poor diaphragm to spasm. Naturally, I had no idea what was happening. I’m not entirely sure when this happened but I soon found myself laying on my office floor, clutching my rib cage and writhing around in pain.
At this point I had resolved that I needed to go home. The plan was to stay on the floor until the pain let up and then I was going to tell my boss that I was going to take the rest of the day as a sick day. Unfortunately, she found me before I was able to get off the floor and she insisted on sending me to the hospital. At this point I was in a lot of pain and I was exceptionally embarrassed. I tried to protest but she quickly helped me into her car and drove me to the ER. Once there my pain had gone down significantly but I figured I might as well see what was going on. After waiting around for an hour I was told to put on one of those horrid hospital gowns, then I was poked and prodded until it was determined that my diaphragm muscle was pulled. Then I was sent home for the day with doctor recommendations to take it easy for the next few days.
Final verdict: The pros have not been lying, working out is good for you. But when trying a new workout, don’t push yourself to hard and listen to your body.