“Too much of a good thing ends up not being that good in the end.”
“The dosage makes the poison” – Paracelsus
This title isn’t meant to scare you or have you think that you shouldn’t exercise at all. Exercise, movement and being active are all great things. People who exercise on a regular basis are healthier, both physically and mentally.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
In fact, active people have at least a 30% lower risk of death than those who are inactive. But how much is too much? At what point does exercise become a hindrance to your health rather than a benefit?
It is no secret that society as a whole, needs to exercise and move more. Obesity and obesity related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have been trending upward, in part because of how sedentary our lives have become.
This is why researchers recommend that we get 150 minutes of exercise each week.
However, some people take it to extremes and overdo it. This can cause just as many problems and be just as unhealthy as not exercising at all, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
In this study, 1,098 joggers and 3,950 non joggers were followed since 2001. The aim was to determine mortality rates and how pace, frequency and quantity affected those rates.
What was found was quite surprising in that there was no statistical difference in mortality rate between the sedentary group and the strenuous jogging group.
What this suggests is that you can in fact exercise yourself into a higher mortality rate. What it also suggests is that there is a balance between no exercise at all and strenuous exercise all the time.
More research needs to be done into the why’s and how’s of the results seen, but it begs the question,
“Why would working out too much be just as harmful as no exercise at all?”
Now this study only focused on jogging as the exercise choice, but the idea of exercising too much isn’t just limited to jogging, it also expands into weight training as well.
So don’t take this at face value and think it doesn’t apply because you don’t jog. It’s important to keep this in mind no matter what kind of exercise you choose.
Lack of Recovery
In order to see the benefits of exercise, it is important to note how you are recovering from exercise.
Progress isn’t necessarily accomplished by what you do in the gym, it’s based on how well your body can adapt to what you’re doing, and how well your body can recover from what you’re doing.
If you don’t give yourself enough time to recover between bouts of exercise, eventually you are going to see a breakdown, whether that comes in the form of injury, regressions in strength, poor workouts, or even poor nutritional and sleep habits.
If you find yourself stagnating or even regressing, it may be time to take a step back and analyze what and how much you are doing.
Since we are always being told to exercise due to its health benefits, we get caught up in thinking that if 30 minutes is good or recommended, than 90 minutes must be amazing.
Then we get caught up in doing more. More weight, more miles, more sets, more days, more hours. If 4 days of exercise is good, then 7 days will get me in better shape quicker. Unfortunately, that’s not how the body works.
Your muscles, tendons, ligaments and more importantly your central nervous system all need time to repair and regenerate. What happens when they don’t have the time to do that because you are constantly pushing their limits?
You start to see breakdowns in the form of sleep patterns, lack of progress, especially in strength, maybe you get sick more often, or little aches and pains develop out of nowhere or into something worse.
You don’t want to end up burnt out from exercise. You want to enjoy it, and you want your body to see results from it. That can’t and most likely won’t happen if you stay on a path of thinking more is better.
Why would more exercise be just as bad as no exercise at all? In a nutshell, both put you at risk for getting sick, having poor sleep patterns, constant fatigue, and lots of aches and pains.
Listen, we all know that we could stand to move a little more and eat a little better. For the most of the population, an abundance of exercise is NOT the problem. It’s the lack of exercise.
So don’t read this study or this article and say “oh Chris said not to exercise because I’ll die.” No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that I want you to find a balance.
I don’t want you to misconstrue what this study is saying. Any increase in movement is going to be better than no movement at all. What it is saying is to be mindful of what you are doing, to find a balance between being sedentary and overdoing it.
There is a point where we may be doing more harm than good when it comes to exercise.
Remember more is not necessarily better, better is better. Avoid the thinking that the more you do, the better. It’s a recipe for disaster.