Can exercise be dangerous?

Before some of you get excited about the idea that exercise could really be dangerous and should not be attempted at all…… read on.

As we know and common sense tells us – moderation in pretty much all aspects of life is the safest way to live. Eat sweets in moderation, drink in moderation, blah blah blah… What if we add exercise to that list? Easy to do for most of us right? After some research I found out some reasons why this may be more important than you may think at first.

Now, I am not a marathon runner (frankly my knees would never let me be), but I know some people who are and I was always interested in what 26.2 miles would feel like or do to the body. After all, I get such an incredible high after a 10k – what must a marathon runner feel?  It seems that extreme endurance running should be done with caution. Check out this excerpt from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com:

               James H. O’Keefe, M.D., of Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, MO. explained:

“Physical exercise, though not a drug, possesses many traits of a powerful pharmacologic agent. A routine of daily              physical activity can be highly effective for prevention and treatment of many diseases, including coronary heart disease,hypertensionheart failure, and obesity

However, as with any pharmacologic agent, a safe upper dose limit potentially exists, beyond which the adverse effects of physical exercise, such as musculoskeletal trauma and cardiovascular stress, may outweigh its benefits.”

This seems a bit shocking I know since when we see a marathon runner we perceive that to be one of the highest levels of fitness. Some research indicates that after a marathon, some runners may actually experience altered heart rhythms for a few days – a little scary to me.  The article above goes on to explain how excessive endurance training can cause patchy scarring of the heart and even cause a greater risk of coronary heart disease. These effects are not limited to marathons but also to Ironman triathalons and any race that last an excessive amount of time.

Although these findings may be an excuse not to sign up for that local marathon or Ironman race, there is still no substitute for moderate exercise – moderate being defined as 1 hr per day – not 5 hrs a day. It seems our old friend “moderation” wins again – the real key to longevity.

If you would like to read a bit more of the technical aspect of this topic here is a great site:

http://www.drjohnm.org/2011/12/cw-more-bad-news-for-the-extreme-endurance-exerciser/

Happy MODERATE exercising!

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