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Stop overdoing! How exercise can become harmful to your health?

by Shatakshi Gupta
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If you watch individuals exercising, whether in parks, gyms, or social media videos, you’ll see that they’re constantly pushing themselves to exercise harder and for a longer period of time. To maintain peak fitness levels, increasing stamina and capacity is a crucial goal. But can you push yourself past the point where it may no longer be beneficial? The answer is yes. In fact, engaging in too much exercise may raise your mortality chances and cause joint and cardiac problems. In this article, we are sharing the ill effects excessive exercise corroborated by several studies. The following studies have made an effort to establish a connection between different exercise volumes and their effects on longevity.

After a threshold, it is futile

A 2021 study that was reported in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal examined the relationships between weekly exercise and mortality outcomes. A higher volume of weekly sports training, including cardiac exercise, ball sports, weight lifting, etc., was found to initially significantly lower the risk of mortality.

These benefits began to wane for people who exercised vigorously for more than 4.5 hours per week.

Despite the fact that their mortality risks were still significantly lower than those of non-exercisers, they were getting less benefit from their intense workouts than those who exercised more moderately.

Overtraining can harm the heart

Read more: What is Cardiovascular fitness? Why is it crucial? How to improve it?

Too much exercise can harm the heart, according to a study on rodents that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Basic to Translational Science.The researchers discovered that multiple types of artery stiffening and thickening were associated with severe activity in mice, which is comparable to jogging for 60 minutes per day, five days per week, for 10–12 years in people. The abnormalities in the enzymes that regulate the heart’s contraction and relaxation were also facilitated by this level of intensive exercise.

Runners are at risk

This study applies to everybody who runs or wants to start. The same research team discovered in 2015 that the best mortality outcomes were seen in those who ran between 60 minutes and 2.4 hours per week. However, those who ran more frequently noticed a decrease in the advantages.

The same research team discovered a comparable U-shaped risk curve among runners back in 2015. They made the startling discovery that the death rates of the most intense runners, who averaged a pace of at least 7 miles per hour for four or more hours per week, were comparable to those of sedentary individuals who did not exercise at all. That study team concluded that long-term, intense exercise may cause pathological structural remodelling of the heart and major arteries.

Strong motions may be harmful

Researchers examined the longevity of professional Japanese traditional artists in a study that was published in the journal Palgrave Communications, and they discovered that Kabuki (classical Japanese dance-drama) actors, who are known for their high-impact, vigorous movements, had shorter lifespans compared to other traditional arts performers who, for the most part, lead sedentary lifestyles.

In your 40s, switch to less strenuous exercise

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Read more: How hormonal changes take place due to exercise? Understand the effect of exercise on 8 crucial hormones

In their youth, many people take their physical health and fitness for granted. For demanding exercises like severe cardio training, that is the most secure time. The heart becomes significantly less resilient and more vulnerable to cardiac overuse injury after the age of 40 or 45.

Consequently, as you get older, you should put more of an emphasis on less-demanding physical activities like walking, yoga, easy cycling, gardening, etc.

With this switch, your fitness level might go down, but you won’t be putting your mortality rate at risk, and you’ll probably live longer.

The ideal duration for exercise is as follows

According to a recent study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, the majority of the mortality advantages of exercise don’t require hours of daily training.

75–150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, such as running, swimming, cycling, etc., or roughly 15–30 minutes of vigorous exercise five days per week, is sufficient to halve your risk of death from all causes, heart disease, and other causes.

The same health advantages are available if you choose to engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes each week.

How to Avoid Overtraining?

By paying attention to your body and obtaining proper rest, you can prevent overdoing it. Here are some other steps you may take to prevent overdoing it:

  • Eat adequate calories for the amount of exercise you undertake.
  • Reduce your exercise regimen before a competition.
  • Drink adequate water when working out.
  • Try to sleep for at least 8 hours per night.
  • Never work out in harsh temperatures.
  • When you’re not feeling well or are under a lot of stress, reduce or halt your exercise routine.
  • Between workout sessions, you should rest for at least six hours. Every week, take a whole day off.