Age-old wisdom states that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. This has been true for everything, from food to wine, from emotional stimulation to intellectual pursuit. Yet, the modern world and the nature of the consumer’s market make people so very prone to material excess. Of course, it isn’t just material excess that people are prone to. The global landscape is also filled with so many people who are attempting to achieve peak physical fitness using even the most extreme methods, to the point that a few have developed habitual abuse of muscle relaxants. In some minds, the old adage can be applied and the question asked: is too much exercise bad for you?
The short answer to that loaded question is one that is guaranteed to earn the ire of exercise and fitness buffs the world over. Because the short answer is a resounding and unpleasant Yes. Too much cardio, for example, can put such a toll on your heart that it may increase the chances of heart failure. Too much physical training is already known to lead to the need for muscle relaxants and pain killers, which both carry the risk of being habit-forming. One does not even need prolonged use to fall into that trap, though the way some people exercise, regular use over an extended period is practically a given. So it is true that excessive exercise can have negative effects on the body, but it also begs yet another question. What, exactly, is too much exercise?
In the realm of cardiovascular exercise, the American Heart Association has set down some concrete guidelines on just how much of a work-out the average heart can take before the exercise starts to do more harm than good. The recommendation is at least half an hour worth of brisk, but not intensive, physical activity daily, with more intensive workouts at least three times a weak. Anything more could put potential risk on the heart, though some variances and allowances have to be made for certain individuals and factors.
Can Too Much Exercise Be Bad For You?
General consensus among the medical community is that defining the point where exercise becomes dangerous and damaging can be as different for every individual as their fingerprints or DNA. Some health experts ultimately believe that the best person to tell someone that they’re exercising too much would be the person doing the exercising. There are various signs, physicians say, that can help one figure out whether or not they’re exercising too much for their body’s good. Among those signs are feelings of fatigue after light physical activity, the need to regularly take muscle relaxants despite engaging in less stressful workouts, and dizziness during exercise.
There are problems with that, however. Since the best person to indicate whether an individual is over-exercising or not is the individual himself, there is a very good chance that physical signs can be misinterpreted. While the guidelines are clear on what signs constitute over-exercise, some people might not have the medical knowledge required to objectively tell whether or not they are overdoing it. Still others might convince themselves that they are over-exercising, using it as an excuse to disengage from unpleasant physical activity.