Are There Risks from Long Term Exercise?

While exercise is healthy, long term exercise can actually pose threats to you both mentally and physically. Although some people do not realize that you can actually get too much exercise, the truth is that you can. Exercise has a plethora of health benefits which far outweigh the risks that are associated with long term exercise. However, because there are risks involved with long term and compulsive exercise, it is important to be aware as to avoid any potential problems. Here, we will observe some of the more common problems that are associated with long term exercise and/or compulsive exercising.

Muscle Mishaps

During resistance training, the muscles are torn in various spots. After exercising, your body needs sufficient time to rest and recover. After a workout, muscle cells repair themselves and become stronger, leading to an increase in muscle mass. However, when muscles are over-exercised, they cannot handle the stress, which will not allow muscle cells to repair themselves. Instead of gaining muscle mass, your muscles will actually shrink and you will lose muscle mass.

Bone, Joint and Cartilage Health

Exercise has actually been shown to strengthen the bones in the body, decreasing the risk of fractures, cartilage degeneration and bone density loss. However, recent studies have shown negative effects on bone, joint and cartilage health as a result of long-term exercise. These studies reveal that long-term exercise increases the risk of osteoarthritis and knee damage. Specifically, running, jogging and jumping activities appear to have the worst effects. This same scenario can also be true for older-aged individuals that do not realize their bodies are no longer able to handle intense forms of exercise. It is not uncommon for an experienced senior to attempt an exercise, only to find the bone deterioration has set in, resulting in a broken arm, leg or hip bone.

Mental Health

Individuals that routinely exercise for long periods of time develop a mental connection to the effects exercise has on their bodies. At times, these mental connections become compulsive and unhealthy. Long-term exercise participation has been linked to compulsive exercise and even eating disorders. Some people begin to allow exercise to take over their lives, becoming unsatisfied with less than perfect results.

Immune System

Our immune system is important for fighting off infections and keeping our bodies in a healthy state. Because immune cells speed up during exercise, killing bacteria and viruses in the body, regular, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. It is critical to give your body ample healing time after exercise so that it can rest and recoup, preventing immune system weakness. People that have exercised for many years or become compulsive in their exercise routines may not give their bodies sufficient time to rest between workouts. The effects on the immune system can be devastating, leading to a weakened immune system that results in an increase in colds, disease, fatigue, etc.


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