Running: How Much is Too Much?


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Let's be honest, the pressure to look good in America is pretty high. With the amount of beautiful and "healthy" men and women we see every day on television, it just makes you want to re-evaluate your life (well I hope it does). There are plenty of ways to look good but the one most people like to turn to is exercise; running particularly. Some people are so addicted to exercising that they can't properly function unless they've had hours of jogging in or at least fit a couple of sit ups in their busy day. Now don't get me wrong, there is no harm in running; but how much is too much? Is it really possible to run so much to the point that it can actually be bad for your health and performance? Studies have proven this to be true.

Apparently, activities that involve extreme efforts such as ultra-marathons, and long-distance triathlons, can cause cardiovascular damage over time.  Excessive exercise can also cause dilation and stretching of the heart's chambers, especially the atria and right ventricle. Doesn't that scare you just a bit? I'm not fan of working out 24/7 but that even shook me up a bit.

But wait, there's more. You are also putting yourself at risk of developing abnormal heart rhythm also known as atrial fibrillation which then increases your chance of a stroke.

Sad but true: An excessive runner has a higher chance of getting a heart attack or stroke, than someone who runs moderately. Instead of over working yourself and trying to achieve a work out session that consists of nothing but running, try to mix things up a bit.

Try running for about 30 minutes (you can fit in a 10 minute walking break if needed) then add some cardio and yoga workouts to the mix. This way you aren't exerting too much energy on your heart.

So, next time you decide to burn some steam and go running for hours and hours on end (that goes for you too, Pro-runners) just think about the actual risks you're putting upon yourself. 

11 Comments

This was a very eye-opening blog. Most people, myself included, tend to assume that the more exercise we do, the healthier we will be. I would have never even thought that a lot of running could be harmful. Seeing all the healthy runners during the Olympics leads many to believe that running is very beneficial. This still may be so, but are those "healthy" athletes going to be facing serious cardiovascular problems at some time in the future? I guess it just goes to show that like almost everything else, even exercise is only beneficial in moderation.

I found this article to be interesting as well. I am an avid runner but I have always been told that it all depends on the person. If those health risks run in the family then an avid runner should be worried. Cardiovascular problems do not run in my family and my mom has been running 5 days a week for most of her adult life. I honestly think it depends on the person whether these problems will occur. But I do agree with the fact that running should be in moderation because running ten miles every day is not a good training mechanism. Every other day should be a long run while the others should be a short 3 or 4 mile run.

I found this article to be interesting as well. I am an avid runner but I have always been told that it all depends on the person. If those health risks run in the family then an avid runner should be worried. Cardiovascular problems do not run in my family and my mom has been running 5 days a week for most of her adult life. I honestly think it depends on the person whether these problems will occur. But I do agree with the fact that running should be in moderation because running ten miles every day is not a good training mechanism. Every other day should be a long run while the others should be a short 3 or 4 mile run.

I definitely did not expect running to have negative side effects. It is probably the one exercise that I assumed you couldn't do too much of. (Just run until you are too tired) The fact that an excessive runner is more likely to suffer a heart attack or an abnormal heartbeat is a little disturbing. However, I assume that to have this happen, the runner needs to be running excessive distances daily. As long as people train safely, running is still one of the best ways to remain in shape.

Here are some friendlier statistics regarding running

This entry appeals to me in a great way! I am a soccer player, therefore you can imagine how much running I have to be doing off season in order to maintain high speed and high endurance during soccer games. Honestly, this entry motivates me to organize my training patterns where I get a great amount of exercise but at the same time, not TOO much exercise. I definitely would not want to end up with cardiovascular damage in the long run. Here is a Video that explain how to maintain a good heart while running. Thanks for motivating me to look it up.

This article is so interesting. I knew there could be side effects from doing too much cardiovascular work, but did not realize how much running had to do with it. I knew as a gymnast your heart beats at different rates and sometimes the heart rate can be out of rhythm from all of the gymnastics a professional gymnast can be doing. This article is about young athletes and their hearts. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/114/15/1633.full Young athletes tend to have a different heart rate than kids their own age. However, these health risks may make us question if we work out too hard. I doubt any of us do, but this also should not scare us from working out and staying in shape.

Over working out is definitely real, when I was in high school i was on the wrestling team, and at first you get into really great shape and everything feels great, but then later in the season, you feel really fatigued, and tired and depressed all the time. At least I did. Because there is a limit to how hard you should work out that varies from person to person. But you can work out alot, but when it's 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, it starts to be a little too much.

I think something to take into consideration when talking about how much is too much exercise, there are just as many risks to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle. I think that our generation is tending to get 'softer' and make excuses to get out of hard work. I'm not saying that running for 3 hours on a daily basis is healthy, but I would air more on the side of heavy exercise. I believe there is an argument that humans are designed to run. I read this article to make me feel this is true.
http://www.runblogger.com/2009/04/evolution-of-running-in-humans-why-we.html

I turned to long distance running in the spring in an effort to get in shape. While I did lose weight (with smart eating), I noticed that I lost muscle mass.say Running long distances also puts you at the risk to lose speed, power, strength, and testosterone levels. Running long distance may not always be the best choice.

Wow, this blog was so interesting to read! I had no idea that excessive exercise could negatively damage your body. Im never someone who runs for more than about 45 minutes, but thats still incredible to think that running can actually be bad for you after a certain point! I found a recent article from the NY Times that agrees with your blog also! It states that when they tested various men who had been livelong athletes, those who were older began to show scarring in their heart muscles. Its scary to see that excessive exercise can actually be bad for you, and I definitely won't be running any really long distance runs anytime soon!

I turned to long distance running in the spring in an effort to get in shape. While I did lose weight (with smart eating), I noticed that I lost muscle mass. Running long distances also puts you at the risk to lose speed, power, strength, and testosterone levels. Running long distance may not always be the best choice

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