Recently we showed you how less exercise is actually a better way to lose weight. But today we’re going even further…
We’re saying that too much exercise is downright bad for you.
Studies are proving that longer, harder workouts do more damage than good to your body. And possibly your heart.
The European Heart Journal published a German study that looked at runners.1 Researchers compared the hearts of 108 marathoners to several non-runners. After monitoring the subjects for three years the researchers scanned their hearts.
The marathon runners showed significantly more plaque build-up than the non-runners. Several runners also had tissue scarring. Simply put—they damaged their heart by straining the heart muscle. Too much scar tissue in the heart can lead to congestive heart failure and even death.2
Another study published by the Medical Journal of Australia confirmed it. For this study the researchers did blood tests before and after runners finished a race.3 They found that 32 percent of the runners had high levels of cardiac troponin. Doctors consider troponin a marker for heart disorders. The more troponin in the blood, the more heart damage.
Canadian researchers found the same thing. Long distance runners had elevated troponin.
“We measure those same blood markers when someone comes in to the emergency room and we suspect a heart attack,” said lead author Dr. Davinder S. Jassal. “Blood profiles like those displayed by the runners are similar to those in a very mild heart attack.”
So what’s the limit when it comes to running?
Well we don’t suggest any type of distance running.
Interval training is the way to go. Sprint as far and as fast as you can until your heart is pumping and you’re out of breath. Then walk until your heart rate returns to normal. Then sprint again. Then rest. You only need to do this for about 10-12 minutes.
And studies confirm this recommendation. Researchers presented a study at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting showing how just two weeks of interval training improved aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training.4
Another study compared endurance and interval training and once again interval training proved to be better for the heart.5 And after just eight weeks of interval training, those subjects were able to perform better and showed less signs of stress to their bodies.
We’ve explained before how exercise is hard on your body.6 Exercise causes oxidative stress and DNA damage. Oxidative stress is when cells aren’t getting enough oxygen. And lack of oxygen creates free radicals. Free radicals wreak havoc on your body—causing advanced aging to cancer.
You don’t have to kill yourself to be healthy. No more spending hours in the gym. Or hours hitting the pavement. As the studies show, a little bit is all you need when it comes to exercise.