Exercise is a must but you should not overdo it…Studies warn on excessive workouts

Exercising is supposed to be good for us. Regular exercise controls weights, Prevents- strokes, high BP, type two diabetes & helps battle anxiety. Apart from this, it also improves mood, boosts energy, helps us sleep better, and definitely, it wards off depression.

Running, walking, swimming, strength training, and yoga are indeed some of the best exercises. They also improve brain activity and the ability to focus or concentrate. So regular exercises prevent most of the health-related disorders to an extent. But too much of anything is good for nothing. 

when overdone, workouts can be deadly. Too many trips to the gym could actually undo all the gains you have been working towards. They might be doing damage to your heart, arteries and causing your brain to become addicted to exercise.

There are questions on what exactly is this “too much exercise”. Well, it depends on factors like your age, health, and choice of workouts. But in general, adults should get around 5 hours a week of moderate exercise or 2-and-a-half hours of more intense activity or some combination of the two that’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But research shows that going way above and beyond that doesn’t enhance your health.

Symptoms of exercise addiction include withdrawal – that’s when you feel anxious or exhausted when you miss a workout. Or feeling a lack of control and unable to cut down on exercise. Even when you know it’s hurting you.

One study found that repeated extreme exercises can “remodel” the heart, thickening the muscle’s walls and scarring tissue. Another study showed that women were less likely to have a heart attack or stroke if they were physically active at least once a week. But that risk of heart attacks and strokes shot up for women who exercised vigorously every day. So, excessive exercise doesn’t provide more benefits than moderate exercise. And it could be riskier.

Normally our resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. The American Heart Association generally recommends a target heart rate of:

  • Moderate exercise intensity from 50% to about 70% of your maximum heart rate
  • And the Vigorous exercise intensity is calculated from 70% to about 85% of your maximum heart rate. 
  • Intensity lies when you exercise at 80 to 95% of your maximum heart rate.

Researchers also found that the physically inactive participants were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. And those who worked out 4 times a week were also twice as likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.

Read Also: World Heart Day 2021; Here’s the history, significance of the day, and the ways to maintain a healthy heart

A study was conducted in Sweden in which more than 4400 men were sampled all between the ages of 45 and 79. It is found that men who did intense exercise more than 5 hours a week were 19% likely to develop an irregular heartbeat by the age of 60 than those who exercise less than 1 hour a week. Men who did a less intense exercise like cycling, brisk walking for an hour every day were 13% less likely to develop an irregular heartbeat than those who did not exercise at all.

So in short, moderate workouts are still the best prescription for good physical and mental health. While moderate workouts can improve your immune system, excessive workouts can actually suppress it.  Despite the concern about extreme workouts, there is not much reason for the average person to worry. 

It should always be noted that there is no substitute to exercise. Exercise is a must but you should not overexercise.