Indeed, staying active is essential to a healthy body, and the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. It is commonly acknowledged that regular exercise every week helps keep you and I fit and healthy. However, did you know that perhaps, there could be an upper limit to the amount of exercise that should be done, before exercising harms, rather than benefits the body?
In a report in the Journal of the America College of Cardiology, where researchers studied more than 1,000 joggers and non-joggers for a 12-year period, and participants were requested to log down the frequency they jogged, the duration and intensity, as well as their health, it revealed that jogging at a steady pace, at about 8 kilometres per hour, for less than two and a half hours weekly appears to be the best for health. Surprisingly, those who ran too little or too much were linked to higher rates of deaths. What is even more astonishing is that the study showed that those who ran for 2.5 hours to four hours a week at an average pace less than three times a week, showed a slightly higher mortality risk, compared to those who ran less than three times a week for one to 2.4 hours, at a slow to moderate pace.
Researcher Jacob Louis Marott, from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, said, “You don’t actually have to do that much to have a good impact on your health. And perhaps you shouldn’t actually do too much.”
There are no exercise recommendations that mention the maximum amount of safe exercise, but this study has shown that perhaps, there could be one. Light and moderate jogging has been found to be more beneficial to health, compared to being inactive on one side of the spectrum or exercising strenuously, on the opposite side. While many people understand the potential risks of not exercising, few know of the impact that long-term strenuous exercise can do the heart.
Senior cardiac nurse, Maureen Talbot, at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This study shows that you don’t have to run marathons to keep your heart healthy. Light and moderate jogging has found to be more beneficial that being inactive or undertaking strenuous jogging, possibly adding years to your life.”
Few studies have mentioned that there is an upper limit to the amount of exercise, and even fewer people have known of its existence. But perhaps, there is indeed one that we can look out for. And so, if you’re considering running extra hard this weekend, to make up for the missed chances during the hectic work week, you may want to reconsider that!
British Broadcasting Corporation | Training very hard ‘as bad as no exercise at all’
Elle | Is Focusing On Exercise Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?
Gaesser, G. A. (2013). Big fat lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books.
Time | When Exercise Does More Harm than Good
The New York Times | To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More
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