The Dangers of Exercise

Most of us wish that we exercised more. If you’re like me, your wishing doesn't make it happen, though. Now there is new research that points out that too much exercise can be as dangerous as too little. How can the right balance be struck?

Nearly everyone has experienced a trip to the doctor where exercising more is encouraged. The second most popular New Year’s resolution is "exercise more", right behind "eat better". But can you take a good thing too far? Turns out that you can!

The American College of Sports Medicine says that about 150 minutes a week of “moderate” exercise is about right for most of us. That’s walking briskly, or jogging, maybe swimming in a leisurely fashion. If your exercise is more strenuous, like sprinting or playing racquetball, half that amount is enough. Notice that this is a weekly, not a daily, exercise total.

Exercising more than that can have negative health impacts. The most common problems are heart related. Heavy duty physical training, like preparing for a marathon, can cause heart scaring. This can possibly lead to cardiac arrhythmias. Too much extreme exercise can also lead to a dangerous calcium buildup in your arteries, raising your blood pressure and potentially leading to blood clots or a stroke.

What can you do? First, check with your doctor before taking on any serious physical training program. There are some simple blood tests that can detect cardiovascular damage in its early stages, before any real harm is done. Then check back with the good doctor periodically to make sure that your ticker is still in fine form.

So the next time someone brings up their extreme sports training at a party, tell them that you are cutting back, for the sake of your heart. That should really turn the tables!

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