How much exercise is too much training

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It is common knowledge that exercise has multiple benefits for the body and its health. Although they know about its benefits, many still do not know how beneficial exercise is and whether excessive exercise can cause harm to the body. When it comes to physical activity, the typical recommendation is to have at least 150 minutes of brisk walking or 75 minutes of jogging, spread over a week. Exercising for around 300 minutes a week can provide even greater benefits and help with weight management.

The benefits of physical activity far outweigh any possible risks. However, there may be potential risks of excessive strenuous exercise. This includes fatigue, dehydration, musculoskeletal injury, muscle injury/damage (rhabdomyolysis), heart rhythm disturbances (in people with underlying heart disease or previous episodes of abnormal heart rhythm) and rarely menstrual disorders in women.

A good rule of thumb is to gradually increase exercise intensity and duration and maintain adequate hydration, which can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury. A general heart checkup before beginning a planned regimen of intense exercise can be helpful in determining the appropriate exercise dose for that particular individual.

The greatest benefits of exercise seem to occur in the most active individuals. A duration of 60 to 80 minutes of exercise per day may provide the greatest benefits, regardless of age and gender. Benefits tend to peak at around 100 minutes/day of moderate-intensity exercise (brisk walking). Higher exercise durations may potentially outweigh the benefits, especially in people with a history of cardiovascular disease. Simply put, people should engage in any form of exercise, five to seven days a week, lasting 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight, improve your cardiorespiratory health, and even stave off depression. However, excessive exercise could have serious consequences on your body and brain. Exceeding your abilities will lead to serious health problems. It depends on factors such as your age, health and your selection of workouts.

Even during exercise, allow yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down by walking gently or stretching gently. Do more as stamina improves and see a trained professional if you experience discomfort or unusual symptoms. Rest and recovery are also extremely important in a fitness regimen.

The author is Senior Interventional Cardiologist, MD, DM Cardiology (PGIMER, Chandigarh) and Assistant Professor, GITAM Institute of Medical Sciences and Research. Views are personal.

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