Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bad News For Runners And Other Endurance Athletes

The Medical Community Finally Speaks Out On Too Much Exercising

There is mounting evidence of the harmful effects of people over-dosing on running, and other endurance activities such as triathlons and marathons.

Excerpts from The Exercise Equivalent of a Cheeseburger?:

In the face of this research, long-standing skepticism about the possibility of "exercise overdose" is softening among many sports physicians. "The lesson I've learned from 40 years of cardiology is that when there's this much smoke, there's often some fire," said Paul Thompson, a sports-medicine specialist and veteran marathoner who is chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut.

Anecdotal concerns about endurance athletics have been building for years. Cardiac conditions that required surgery have forced into retirement two winners of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. In 2011, Ironman winner Normann Stadler underwent emergency surgery to repair an enormous aortic aneurysm, a condition not caused but very possibly aggravated by endurance athletics. Research shows an association between endurance athletics and enlarged aortic roots.

Other recent studies suggest the significant mortality benefits of running may diminish or disappear at mileage exceeding 30 miles a week and other, very small studies have shown elevated levels of coronary plaque in serial marathoners—a problem that rigorous exercise theoretically could cause.

"Heart disease comes from inflammation and if you're constantly, chronically inflaming yourself, never letting your body heal, why wouldn't there be a relationship between over exercise and heart disease?" said John Mandrola, a cardiac electrophysiologist and columnist for

Running and endurance training are just examples of America's obsession with over-dosing and doing things to extreme. Whether its over-eating, over-drinking, drug abuse, and even exercise.

In the fight world, it was common place for fighters to come in over-trained and end up going to the hospital after the fight to find out that their muscle tissue was wasting away. Body, totally inflamed from too much training. The fight itself was damaging but not nearly as bad as training. Recently Junior Dos Santos had this problem in his second fight with Cain Velasquez and it nearly cost him his life.

Cardio fanatics are also guilty of over training, these days doing cardio for hours every day. Constantly forcing their body to repair without ever giving it a chance to. It's not just for runners, it's true for spinning, bootcamp, and lately the newest trend has become too much Crossfit.

I often get e-mails from people who say they do hours of cardio daily but they're not losing any weight, in fact they're gaining. A question I ask clients, is your relationship with food healthy? The second question I ask is, is your relationship with cardio healthy? From there we begin to connect the dots.

You can even do too much yoga and cause joint injuries.

The take away from all this is, too much isn't the same as optimal. An optimal dosage of exercise is what you need. Enough to create beneficial change without causing damage.

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