Across the world, the entire focus is on exercise and remaining fit and healthy. Due to this, there is a proliferation of health initiatives, gymnasium chains, mobile applications and diet experts. The mantra being given is, ‘more is better’. As a result, the ones who do start exercising try to do a lot. They run more or cycle more or ‘push’ more when they are doing weight training. More and more people are taking to running marathons or becoming obsessive about their daily exercise.
MORE EXERCISE IS HARMFUL
However, more exercise is actually harmful for us. So preparing and running for a marathon will cause long term health problems. Cycling or swimming for hours or working out a lot is as harmful. Now this seems like something which we may not believe. However, there are many studies which clearly show the ill effects of exercising beyond low to moderate levels.
STUDIES ON EXERCISE
There are many studies done of the effects of intense or long drawn out exercise. However, the following three latest studies really nail the subject:
a) British Physicians Study
The study conducted by British physicians and was presented at the European Society of Cardiology. They found that athletes who ran less than thirty five miles a week had lower levels of artery calcium and much lower risk of heart attacks. All those athletes who ran more than this in a week had much higher artery calcium and their risk of heart attacks and strokes was much higher than even a lot of sedentary people. They also had higher heart rates.
b) College of Cardiology, Denmark
This study presented by researchers showed that those who ‘pushed’ their bodies actually reverse the benefits of exercise. They found that those who ran at a brisk pace for more than four hours a week had the same risk of cardiac and health problems as sedentary people. Conversely, those who ran at a steady pace for up to a maximum of two and a half hours a week were healthy.
c) Research in Taiwan
There has been another interesting study done in Taiwan and was reported in the Lancet. It states that exercise helps health and longevity. However, the benefits of exercise plateaued at a maximum of forty five minutes a day.
ILL EFFECTS OF EXERCISING MORE
The question we may ask now is why does more exercise either in terms of duration or intensity actually harms us more. There are many reasons why this happens, some of which are given below:
a) The body metabolism undergoes a change which may not be aware of. This leads to under nutrition or over nutrition, both of which are harmful for the body.
b) The risk of injuries to the muscular and skeletal systems (muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, joints), increases dramatically. Wear and tear all increases leading to arthritis, aches and pains in middle ages.
c) There is a drop or imbalance in hormones. This causes a lot of problems. In many cases, it leads to reproductive issues in women and also stoppage of monthly periods.
d) Over exercising leads to weakening of the immune system. This leads to more colds, flu, infections and illnesses.
e) Sleep patterns are disturbed due to excess adrenaline and this also impairs emotional and cognitive functioning.
f) More exercise causes actual stress. Stress has been definitely found to lead to increase in not only abdominal fat but also diseases like strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and cancer.
All of this tells us that anything in moderation is fine and it is even more important to listen to your body. ‘Pushing’ or doing more which is touted and glorified by everyone these days is actually killing you slowly.
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