There’s No Such Thing as too Much Exercise

Moderation is the key to a healthy life, right? Maybe not when it comes to exercise. Recent research suggests that there is actually no such thing as too much physical activity. Get ready to lace up your sneakers.

The study, published in JAMA, measured the fitness levels of over 120,000 people, starting back in 1994. As of 2017, over 13,000 of these people had died. Digging into medical records, researchers consistently found that the more physically fit a person was, the less likely they were to die prematurely.

Sure, it sounds like a no-brainer. We all know that exercise makes you healthier. But generally you can have too much of a good thing—even when it comes to healthy habits. Think about drinking coffee. There are health benefits associated with a cup or two daily, but chug six cups and you’re likely to experience some negative effects.

That doesn’t seem to be the case with exercise. Any level of cardiovascular fitness is associated with a longer life—even for the most elite athletes among us. And yes, the more hardcore of an athlete you are, the more you’ll reap those longevity benefits.

Women in Sport

According to the research, elite athletes experience an 80 percent decrease in mortality risk compared to those with the lowest levels of aerobic fitness. However, it is important to note that elite athletes didn’t experience drastically improved benefits over people with more average levels of physical fitness—so even if you’re not an Olympian, you still reap most of the good stuff in terms of longevity.

But running a few miles isn’t the only type of exercise with benefits. It’s important to note that this study solely tested cardiorespiratory fitness. Strength training is also crucial for maintaining healthy bones and muscle mass as we age, but it was not included in this study. Strength training helps to improve quality of life, which is great if you’re already upping your longevity with cardio. Regardless, you’re never too old to work on your fitness—strength or cardio.

Runner training on stair intervals

Remember: no matter what your age, you still need rest and recovery time. Elite levels of physical activity may bode well for longevity, but you have to keep your soft tissues (like muscles and tendons) healthy by giving them time to recoup so you can keep moving for a lifetime. They don’t need all that much—one or two rest days a week should be plenty.

While scientists once believed that too much exercise, like too little, could strain the heart and increase the risk of mortality, that no longer seems to be the case. The more fit you are, the longer you are likely to live and experience a better quality of life during those final years.

So get those sneakers out of the closet, clean up your old bike, or invest in a pair of cross-country skis. Getting out there and moving your body doesn’t just make you feel wonderful—it helps you live longer. So, whatever you do, don’t stop moving!

Related on Care2:

47 comments

Hannah A
Hannah A15 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

SEND
John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Val P
Val P2 months ago

Cool

SEND
Jan K
Jan S3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Val P
Val P3 months ago

fascinating

SEND
Anna R
Anna R3 months ago

thanks

SEND