Regular exercise and activity have some wonderful health benefits such as lowering the blood pressure, increasing strength, speeding up metabolism, and reducing the risk for diabetes by normalizing blood glucose, leptin and insulin levels. In addition, exercise forces mitochondria within our bodies to work harder which leads to their increased production.
This makes exercise one of the most potent and natural stimulants to increase the number of mitochondria.
As exercise has all these wonderful effects some could even say that exercise is just like a medication. And it should also be treated as one! Just as with any other medication, the dosage is crucial – take too little and the effects will not show; take too much and damaging side effects will take over!
We are talking about over exercising or even addiction to exercise which can lead to serious health complications.
Studies have shown that some endurance athletes who exercised at very high intensities over long periods of time have had higher rates of heart problems than those who exercised more moderately over the same time period.
During exercise, the body creates small biomarkers which are associated with the natural damage that has been caused by the exercise. These biomarkers then travel through the blood and in a healthy body are eliminated shortly after the exercise and do not cause any harm.
However, there is a constant physical stress from over-exercising over a long period of time, these biomarkers do not get eliminated as efficiently and cause remodeling of the heart which leads to thickening of the cardiac walls as well as to scarring of the cardiac tissue, both of which can cause rhythm problems over time.
Exercise is often praised for its great health benefits and people are usually encouraged to do more of it and therefore it may be quite hard to recognize whether someone has pushed their exercising past a healthy point.
Health professionals suggest that 40-50 minutes of vigorous exercise or 1 hour of moderate exercise should be just enough to feel the benefits. According to this graph, however, as much as 61% of people exceed this time period, as they exercise for more than 1 hour per day.
Now, it is important to note, that not every one of those people suffers from exercise addiction and will have heart problems but it surely suggests the trend within the fitness industry which states: ‘The more exercise, the better!’
This approach is not only incorrect but might also be damaging to some individuals! Chronic extreme over-training may lead to rapid weight loss, undernourishment, fertility problems, fatigue, frequent injuries, heart damage, rhythm disorders, and in severe cases even death.
There is a few warning sign though that may suggest that you or someone you know may be taking it too far:
- Exercising for several hours multiple times during in a course of ONE day
- Always scheduling other activities around exercise
- Raining regardless of sickness or an injury
- Pushing past exhaustion, dehydration or pain during exercise
- Using exercise as a compensation for eating
- Rapid mood swings or isolation
In conclusion, there is undeniable evidence that appropriate amount of exercise is crucial for a healthy body. However as soon as the amount of exercise gets too extreme and exceeds an hour per day for a prolonged time period, it might start to have some adverse health effects.
It is important to note that:
….so keep exercising moderately and moving more! Implement walking and taking the stairs into your daily routine!