Day 44 - Exercise...but not too much!
I came across this story in the news this morning. It details a research study that was done regarding long bouts of exercise, most notably, marathon running.
Marathon runners, triathletes and long-distance cyclists could be doing harm to their hearts in the long term, cardiologists say.
The June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings includes a review of how excessive endurance exercise is thought to cause damage to the heart.
The study's authors say that based on both animal and human data, the cardiovascular benefits of vigorous aerobic exercise build up over about one hour, "beyond which further exertion produces diminishing returns and may even cause adverse cardiovascular event effects in some individuals."
I have discussed a similar topic in the past, detailing a "more is better" feeling many humans carry. Whenever a topic such as exercise, or a specific dietary item, comes along, many people feel as though, "If a little bit is good for me, then a lot must be better!"
I have participated in half-marathons, myself, and although I enjoyed the journey to a new fitness goal, it should be noted that these types of long-duration exercise bouts can be extremely taxing on the body.
I know some people, however, can withstand the rigors of long-duration exercise, but most people can and should not partake in bouts of exercise that last so long.
I think if you are an individual who has grown up performing well in long-duration aerobic exercise, and has no ill-effects, then more power to you! I think there are individuals who crave, want, and need to run, bike, and/or swim tons of miles a week to feel like they have accomplished something.
On the other hand, if you are an individual who is looking to 'get in shape' and lose a few pounds, do not feel as though hours and hours of exercise is the way to go.
Instead, look into short-duration, intense exercise (High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT), as interval training has been shown to mimic the benefits of aerobic exercise in half the time!
This is also a classic example of sport-specificity training. If you are wishing to run (bike or swim) a 5, 10, 21, or 42km race, long bouts of exercise are needed to meet your goal. On the other hand, if you are just looking to get in shape, then keep things short but intense!
O'Keefe wants people to understand that the lion's share of benefits come at a relatively modest level. No further benefits are obtained beyond 30 to 60 minutes a day of vigorous activity.
Quote of the day:
"All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them."