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Can too much exercise be bad for you?

Can too much exercise be bad for you?

We’re always being told that exercise is good, that it helps keep us healthy and diseases at bay. Is there ever a time though when it becomes too much and we should slow down?

When you take part in an extreme workout like running a marathon, the heart is pumping five times more blood around the body than when you are at rest. This brings about short term changes in the heart and arteries.

Negative effects of exercising this vigorously could include alterations in the function of the heart, possibly leading to abnormal heart rhythms, and enlarged hearts which are less effective at pumping blood and removing waste than normal sized organs.

Active people on average live around three to four years longer than unfit people, so it definitely pays to do exercise. However, too much exercise and you could start to see those benefits dipping  - putting your life expectancy on par with someone who does no exercise.

High intensity workouts - which can be just a minute long - may actually be better for us than prolonged bouts of exercise, tying in with the notion that too much can be bad for you.

There is a “Goldilocks” amount of exercise, which is not too little, and not too much. This ensures people get the optimal benefits. According to some researchers, the 'right amount' means jogging one to four hours a week, for no more than three days a week, at a slow to moderate pace.

What do you think? Does that sound like enough exercise to you?


the author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running ultra marathons. In addition to training for her epic runs she finds time for strength training, Pilates and Yoga. .