Scientists are still unable to definitively determine how much exercise is ideal for any given person. It most likely differs depending on age, gender, and level of fitness.
The traditional idea is that the more exercise you get, the better. But it isn’t always the case.
Scientists are investigating the potential harm that excessive exercise can cause if adequate rest time isn’t given. The functioning of cells may be harmed by excessive high-intensity exercise, according to recent Swedish research. Additionally, other researchers are examining the reasons why excessive exercise can result in stress fractures, poor sleep, and other issues.
Exercise physiologist Mark Pataky, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, asserts that excessive amounts of exercise can be harmful.
Medical experts do not advise against exercising. Exercise increases bone density, prevents muscular atrophy, and shields the body from chronic illness.
The issues at hand are how much work you ought to put in, at what level of intensity, and with how much downtime in between. Scientists are still unable to definitively determine how much exercise is ideal for any given person. It most likely differs depending on age, gender, and level of fitness.
Exercise works by injuring the body and causing it to heal, even when done correctly. Exercise results in microfractures and microtears in the bones and muscles. These injuries bring on an inflammatory response, which, given enough time, will restore the damage. The body becomes stronger and adapts when repeated over time.
Brett Ely, an assistant professor who teaches nutrition, physical performance, and exercise science at Salem State University in Massachusetts, describes exercise as “strategically applied trauma.”
According to Christopher Minson, a cardiovascular physiologist at the University of Oregon who works with college and professional athletes, if the body isn’t given time to recover and repair, the immune system is compromised, inflammation develops into a chronic condition, adaptation disappears, and you’re “chronically breaking down.”
According to Minson, excessive exercise can lead to exhaustion, irritation, sleeplessness, and stress fractures. Excessive exercise can also undermine motivation and negatively affect results.
Endurance sports are one area on which scientists are concentrating. According to a survey by the International Association of Ultrarunners and athletic-shoe review business RunRepeat.com, participation in ultra marathons, or races longer than the typical 42.2km, more than quadrupled to 611,098 worldwide in the decade ending in 2020.
When Kelsey Santisteban, 28, competed cross-country and track at the University of California, Berkeley, she suffered five stress fractures. Every time she performed at her highest level, an injury would follow. Santisteban didn’t realize she had been training too hard until after college.
She claims, “I just wanted to go hard all the time.”
In retrospect, she argues, increasing the number of days with lighter workouts would be a better strategy. She now runs recreationally with a former teammate.
Even exceptionally fit athletes can be caught off guard by the risks of overdoing it when they attempt an activity for which they are not specifically trained.
Rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo), a hazardous medical disorder in which damaged muscles leak toxins into the blood that can harm the heart and kidneys, can be brought on by high pressure on untrained muscles.
A small study published last year in the journal Cell Metabolism suggested that excessive exercise impaired the functioning of mitochondria, the cell structures that use oxygen to generate energy.
According to Mikael Flockhart, a doctorate student at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and one of the researchers who carried out the research, the impairment may be the reason why excessive exercise can result in extreme exhaustion and deteriorating performance.
11 participants in the study underwent high-intensity interval training for four weeks before having their muscles sampled. The HIIT exercise was tolerated by the subjects for 90 minutes a week; the harm started when the weekly exercise time exceeded 152 minutes. The individuals’ glucose tolerance decreased as a result of the excessive activity, which impacted their bodies’ capacity to metabolize sugar. When the exercise intensity was decreased, the circumstances partially reversed.
According to Pataky, the results highlight the need for more accurate calculations of the ideal exercise volume and pace for various sports and demographic groups.
Excessive exercise can be treated with time and relaxation
According to marathon runner Ely, general life pressures like a wedding, renovation, or new baby might hinder recuperation.
According to Ely, many training plans include at least one rest day each week, which usually implies no highly regimented activity. For those who are more physically active, a relaxation day could include involve a 30-minute jog.