We all know that exercising has so many health benefits. Personally, after yoga, I feel much better and it’s as if I have taken a happy pill. Which is because of the hormones that gets released when we are physically active. That hormone is the “serotonin” which is our “happy hormone” that can help our moods.
And we can all agree that it feels better to be lighter when it comes to weight, when our body is toned and our muscles are leaner. Based on studies, exercising boosts our metabolism and by building lean muscles there’s a tendency to burn more calories which in turn will add definition to our body.
A defined body, leaner muscles, to look good, to be able to fit in a nicer clothes or a bathing suit, high metabolism, ideal weight etc. are those the reasons why people over exercise? Before I discuss about the dangers of extreme exercises, let me point out first the health benefits of exercise.
Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
- It will help better our mental health and moods (just like what I have mentioned above). It wards off depression.
- It boosts our metabolism.
- Our stamina and energy levels will increase with regular exercises.
- It strengthens our muscles and bones.
- The risks of acquiring chronic diseases will be lessened.
- Regular exercise increases our blood flow or aids in good blood circulation so it also helps us gain a healthier skin.
- Would you believe that it can help our brain health? It can help with our brain function, our memory and thinking skills as it increases our heart rate which promotes blood flow and oxygen to our brain.
- It helps with relaxation and sleep quality.
- Regular exercise, based on a lot of studies, helps relieve chronic pain.
- It can help promote a better sex life as it gives our body a better blood circulation, a better flexibility, toned muscles and a healthy heart which boosts sex drive and pleasure.
- It helps us control our weight along with proper balance diet.
- Regular exercise helps manage diabetes.
- It can help with quitting the habit of smoking as it can lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- For older adults, it helps with balance and muscle strengthening thus reduces the risks for falls.
- The percentage of living longer and healthier increases with regular exercise.
So you are probably asking, If exercising has a lot of health benefits then why would extreme exercises bad for our body? Well, everything that we do has to be balanced. When extreme demands are placed on our body, we are putting our health at risk. Studies say, moderate regular exercise is much better compare to excessive exercises.
Extreme Exercises–What Are The Dangers
A study that was conducted, found that a person who runs at an extensive pace for more than three times a week has a similar risk as the non runners, due to the extreme demands an intense workout puts on the heart. So here are the possible dangers that extreme exercises can do to our body:
- Extreme endurance exercises, based on studies, may lead to heart damage, abnormal irregular heart rhythms and enlarged arteries. It was found on one of the study that our heart can be remodeled due to repeated extreme exercises in which the heart muscle walls may developed thickening and scar tissues. Scary right?
- Women who exercise strenuously and excessively are more likely to suffer from “female athlete triad” which includes loss of menstruation, osteoporosis or bone mineral loss and eating disorders.
- The risks of heart attack and strokes for women, based on another study, increases when they exercise extremely and repeatedly.
- As for men, intense exercises causes decrease libido due to fatigue and decrease testosterone level.
- Over exercise, increases the risks of injury like tendinitis, overuse injuries and stress fractures.
- Immune system may suffer too as extreme exercises may suppress it. Which means viruses and bacteria may find it easily to infect the body.
- Rigorous exercise can also cause Rhabdomyolysis. It is a syndrome involving muscle breakdown and damage. When muscles become injured, they release a muscle enzyme (CPK – Creatinine Phosphokinase) into the bloodstream which can harm the kidneys and can cause kidney failure in up to 40% of cases. The sad and scary part is it also can harm the kidneys’ ability to remove urine and other waste which if prompt treatment is not given may cause death.
How Much Is Too Much With Exercising
We all are aware that more is not always better. Exercising is good for our body but too much of it can put a lot of risk especially without proper training or warm up exercises, nourishment and hydration. So here are the warning signs to watch out for:
- If someone is exercising above and beyond which is more than what is considered normal amount of time.
- When a person still exercises despite lack of proper nutrition and is underweight.
- If a person has an injury and illness but still exercises.
- If one’s heart rate has been elevated even for a prolonged period after exercising. There maybe other reasons to it but it is better to consult a doctor to avoid further problems.
- When one experiences “over training syndrome” which consists of a plateau in performance or decline.
- When one has worked out too much but is still plagued by thoughts that “she/he didn’t do enough” or “should have done more”.
- If an individual has rigid exercise schedule and prioritizes exercise over important functions or family gatherings.
- Overly concern about weights and body aesthetics.
- Withholds on food if unable to exercise as he/she feels unworthy or undeserving of any calories as it was not earned by exercising.
- When one is suffering with withdrawal effects when unable to exercise, such as mood shifts, inability to sleep, lack of appetite, severe anxiety, depression and feeling of guilt.
- When one’s body is always sore because of constant work out and not enough time to rest for recovery and repair.
- Your body suddenly feel weak and lethargic due to exercise burn out.
How To Promote Balance To Avoid All These Problems
First of all in everything we do, balance is the key and with exercising or any physical activity it is best to listen to our body.
According to Department of Health and Human Services, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity spread throughout the week should be sufficient and enough to provide us with health benefits.
They also stated that with strength training for all muscle groups after about 12-15 repetitions of weight lifting or resistance exercises are sufficient.
30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, according to Department of Health and Human Services, in general, should be a good goal to aim, to make regular physical activity as part of our lifestyle. So here are some tips to promote balance:
- Do not exercise when you are ill or injured. It is best to take a day or so of off time from exercising to help our body heal and rest.
- It is recommended that two days off a week is necessary to allow our body to heal and recover from exercising.
- Make sure that you are getting proper nutrients to fuel your workouts.
- Proper hydration is very important too as dehydration can pose a lot of issues.
- It is very important to seek a doctor’s advice before engaging in any exercises especially if one has any chronic conditions.
- Establishing a balance between exercise regimens with other life responsibilities should also be focused on.
- Combine varieties of activities that are enjoyable and suits your lifestyle instead of being overly attached to one type of routine exercise.
- Avoid doing your first class of exercise in a heated room. As a newbie, it is important to test first how your body will react in a cooler temperature.
- Don’t allow your body to get too hot or being overheated.
- Work out at a slower speed when you are a beginner with a certain exercise class IE. spin class.
- After trying an intense work out for the first time, take a few days of rest before working out again.
More Is Not Necessarily Better…
We should always keep in mind that the goal of exercising is to keep our body healthy that will allow us to enjoy and fulfill our maximum potentials. Let us be kind to our body!
“Take time to recharge your batteries. It’s hard to see where you’re going when your lights are dim.”
-Robert H. Conelly
Have you exercised extremely before? If you had and wants to share your experience and for any questions please leave your comments down below.