By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
It’s a well-known fact that too little physical activity − being sedentary – is a real health risk. But did you know that too much can be bad for you too? A 2014 study in the British Medical Journal, analyzed the self-reported exercise activity over the span of a decade for more than a thousand German patients with heart problems. The surprising results: vigorous daily exercise appeared to double the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to those who exercised two to four days a week. To be sure, those who exercised less or not at all were even more prone to have trouble.
My Viewpoint: The guidelines for the general population, including heart patients, are to exercise five to seven times a week. So we’ll have to see if subsequent research bears out the findings in this one study. Nevertheless, overdoing it translates to excess stress on the body that can lead to oxidative stress, a greater chance of injury, and draining of important nutrients like CoQ10 and magnesium. Some studies have shown that the benefits of exercise vanish with extreme activity.
What this Means to You: Addiction of any kind, even to something as generally beneficial as exercise, can be harmful. Remember the old saying, moderation in all things. That goes for exercise. More may not be better.
Recommendation: As I’ve said many times, go back to the basics. Try to walk on a daily basis, or throw in some dancing now and then and maybe use some light weights. That’s what the body needs. For a good book on getting maximum benefits from a minimum of basic physical activity, I recommend Move Yourself, written by Tedd Mitchell, M.D., and Tim Church, M.D., Ph.D., former physicians at the world-famous Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas.
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