Can you do too much exercise?

Ed Whitlock, Masters World Record Holder

Ed Whitlock, Masters Athlete & World Record Holder

Endurance exercise is not going to kill you.

In 2012 there was a study that claimed that intense, repeated, endurance activity caused the heart to become enlarged and could potentially lead to sudden cardiac death. It got a lot of press, people who didn’t like to exercise now had an excuse.

“It’s bad to exercise too much” they said, “you are going to hurt yourself with all this activity.”

Just to be clear. That is simply untrue.

Professor Dr. Jürgen Scharhag and Dr. Philipp Bohm, scientists at the Saarbrücken Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine, have been studying elite, endurance athletes for years and have never found any evidence to support the theory that long term, endurance activities cause damage to the heart. So they decided to test it themselves.

They compared 33 elite Masters athletes, that had been training for at least 30 years, and still did at least 17 hours of endurance training per week,  to 33 men who were similar in age, weight and size. As they expected the athletes had larger and stronger hearts.

“But we found no evidence of lasting damage, pathological enlargement or functional impairment of either the right or left ventricle in the athletes who had been doing long-term intensive elite-level endurance exercise.”

There are a lot of things that can cause sudden cardiac death in athletes. Performance enhancing drugs, supplements, underlying heart disease, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, high fat diets, body temperature, alcohol, fad diets.

But, exercise? Sorry. No.

Change your mind, change your health,


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