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Are there any risks to physical activity?

Are there any risks to physical activity?

The benefits of regular physical activity far outweigh any risk to your health. But it's a good idea to be aware of problems that could occur and how to avoid them:


Some physical activities increase your risk of sprains, strains and more serious injuries, particularly to the feet, ankle and knees.

Tip: Reduce your risk by warming up properly and wearing decent footwear. Have a good stretching routine and stick to it. Also do ankle strengthening exercises to build your ankle musculature and to strengthen lower leg muscles.


These often occur due to repetitive forces placed on a bone which eventually overwhelm it. Stress fractures commonly occur in the feet, shins, thigh and pelvis.

Tip: Always wear supportive shoes. Alternate activities to relieve pressure on the bones, such as switching from the treadmill to swimming. Endurance sports such as marathons also increase the risk so increase bone strength by practicing regular strength training.


Even if you’re fit, the risk of sudden cardiac arrest increases five-fold during intense exercise. For unfit people, this increases by a scary 56 times.

Tip: Stay active! It is the sudden stress placed on the heart that causes sudden death. But remember that, in general, exercise protects the heart.  So maintain a regular exercise routine, avoiding sudden exertions if you have heart problems. Also, consider using heart monitor and aim for 60 – 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.


Exercise too much or too hard and you can cause amenorrhea, which is irregular or lack of periods altogether. This is because the release of stress hormones during exercise affects the body’s production of reproductive hormones. Intense exercise can also affect fertility, so keep an eye on your routine if you’re trying to conceive. 

Tip: If you notice changes in your menstrual cycle, cut back on your exercise, particularly if you are a low bodyweight. Make an appointment with your doctor so they can help you get your cycle back on track.


Some people can become so obsessed with physical fitness it actually becomes unhealthy, strange as this seems. Instead of improving your lifestyle, extreme exercise begins to cause injuries, lack of rest, malnutrition and even a burned out adrenal gland. You also become anxious and frustrated when you aren’t able to exercise.

Tip: The first step is to recognize the addiction. 3% of gym users are believed to have exercise addiction. Next, seek help. Speak to your gym instructor and your doctor and allow them to work out a healthy schedule for you, as well as look at the underlying issues causing the addiction.

So, any more excuses not to exercise? If you are careful and follow our advice above you shouldn't run into problems - now get yourself along to a gym today and get that heart pumping and body healthy!

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.