Can you exercise too much?

Can you exercise too much?

Exercising regularly is important to maintain a healthy heart and body, but how much exercise is too much?

Studies show that over-exercising can reverse the health benefits of working out and put your heart health at risk.

It’s just as important not to overwork your heart by exercising too much as it is to exercise in the first place.

“Over-exercising increases the amount of stress that is put on the heart,” says Dr. Kartik Mehta, cardiologist with the Advocate Heart Institute at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “Studies have shown that people who routinely perform rigorous or high intensity exercise tend to have a higher troponin level.”

Troponin is the same enzyme that skyrockets in patients who have suffered heart attacks. This enzyme is released when the heart muscles are in distress, something that can happen to individuals who over-exercise. Fibers in the heart muscles can begin to tear, due to a continuously high level of pumping. When this occurs, an unhealthy level of troponin results from it, placing people and their heart health in danger.

“I suggest around 40 minutes of exercise a day, four days a week at moderate intensity,” says Dr. Mehta. “I consider moderate intensity exercise, which is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, as walking briskly (three miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking), water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour, housework and domestic chores, ballroom dancing and gardening.”

With heart disease and stroke being two of the top five causes of death in the U.S., it is important to maintain a healthy workout regimen that will assist you in taking care of your body and your heart.

“Improving heart health is the most important benefit of regular, moderate intensity exercise,” says Dr. Mehta. “Adequate, regular aerobic exercise can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, which are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It may also help prevent obesity, which is rampant in our society today.”

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About the Author

Danielle Sisco
Danielle Sisco

Danielle Sisco, health enews contributor, is a recent graduate of Illinois State University and a former public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. She has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in public relations and is currently working at a public relations agency in Chicago. In her free time, Danielle enjoys going to country music concerts, playing volleyball, traveling, blogging and spending quality time with her family, friends and puppy.