Have You Heard of These 5 Heart Attack Risk Factors? Over time, it gets harder and harder to lose fat. Some researchers have found evidence that too much cardio might actually be a bad thing — but not all researchers agree. Unlike weekend warriors, brisk walkers or even enthusiastic joggers, extreme athletes regularly live up to their name, pushing the limits of their physical capabilities. All to answer the question: What’s the minimum amount of physical activity that you need each week to live a longer and healthier life? Some days I go on 30 minute runs; some days I go on two hour walks (working my way up to longer runs). Marathon runners are a good example of this. Other studies have found similar drawbacks to high doses of physical activity. If you have symptoms, a history of a heart condition or risk factors for heart disease, check with your doctor before starting or changing an exercise regimen. Cleveland Clinic © 1995-2020. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slightly more than half of U.S. adults met the guidelines for aerobic activity. It’s well known that exercise is good for you, and with so many different types of workouts available to us today, just about anyone can find something that they love. But before you get too comfy, keep in mind that an inactive lifestyle increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other chronic illnesses. For instance, in a large-scale 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, light and moderate joggers were less likely than non-runners to die during the study’s two-year follow-up, while strenuous joggers had the same mortality rate as sedentary folks. One of these studies was published October 16 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Cardiovascular exercise puts stress on our hearts. But is it real? Turns out, too much of it may actually put your heart at risk. Research is actually showing a dark side to too much cardio. Cardiovascular activity is excellent for our health and a proven endorphin-enhancer, but when is too much cardio an issue? I cardio-ed my little heart out, and there was a time when I was going an hour + of cardio, almost every day of the week. Whether you are a sports enthusiast, a beginner, a senior or someone beginning cardiac rehab, physical activity will change your life for the better. However, like anything else, there can be too much of a good thing. But can too much cardio be a bad thing? Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. At extremes, cardiovascular exercise can contribute to cardiac plaque, irregular heartbeats and heart disease. At the risk of encouraging you to binge-watch on the couch a little longer, too much exercise may be bad for your heart, say researchers in a new study. We know this because scientists have been studying the lower boundaries of exercise for many years. Click here to learn how to protect your body. When it comes to boosting your heart health, you can’t do much better than cardio. As a former marathon runner, I know the pains associated with endurance training. In the worst case scenario, it can even lead to your death! And only one-fifth met the guidelines for both aerobic and strengthening activities. Unlike weekend warriors, brisk walkers or even enthusiastic joggers, extreme athletes regularly live up to their name, pushing the limits of their physical capabilities. The study included almost 3,200 people. And how do you know how much is too much? The current study, like other research, suggests that there may be an upper limit to the benefits of exercise. BAD SIDE OF FASTED CARDIO. Recently, more studies have started to look at the other end of the exercise spectrum to see if more is always better. Moderate-intensity activities include walking, hiking, golfing, home exercises, and gardening. But extreme athletes can push it past healthy limits and cause heart damage. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Putting your body through too much cardio training during a time when you're dealing with other stressors (e.g. “Moderate exercise is still the best prescription for good physical and mental health – and competitive athletes shouldn’t give up their training schedule just yet,” says cardiologist Tamanna Singh, MD. Although it may be surprising to hear that too much cardio can be bad for your heart, there is medical reasoning behind this finding. People who exercised less than the recommended amounts were more likely to have high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in middle age. Well, here is a new controversy: too much “cardio” can damage the heart. The authors of the current study wrote that although extreme exercisers may have higher amounts of CAC, wider arteries mean that this “may not necessarily translate into adverse clinical outcomes.”. Can too much cardio be bad for your heart? But research shows that too much of anything, cardio included, really is a bad thing. During an intense workout, the “pain cave” is the point of physical and mental fatigue. If a close family member has died unexpectedly of heart problems, talk to your doctor about whether you need to be tested for conditions such as atherosclerosis or cardiomyopathy. However, can too much of that determination and grit hurt your heart? CAC, which is measured using CT scans, indicates that calcium-containing plaques are present in the arteries of the heart — a predictor of heart disease. As long as it is a sustainable routine that doesn't hurt you physically or harm your work and social life, there probably aren't many routines that would qualify as "too much" cardio. Does Walking 1 Hour Every Day Aid Weight Loss? Love exercise? © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. If it was, we wouldn’t do 12 Minute Athlete workouts here! Whether you run on an empty stomach or have a snack beforehand is really up to you. Vigorous-intensity activities include running, biking, swimming, exercise or dance classes, and strenuous sports. One major caveat, however…. Your heart is a muscle, so to make it stronger, you have to train it similarly to how you train other muscles in your body. In fact, many Americans could probably use a little more physical activity in their life. Exercise is good for you. “While there is evidence that prolonged strenuous exercise can increase risk of atrial fibrillation, the long-term risk of this is small compared to inactivity,” says Dr. Singh. Researchers found that people who exercised well over the national physical activity guidelines for many years were more likely to develop coronary artery calcification (CAC) by middle age. There’s plenty of data to support that advice, (2-4) but there’s also emerging evidence that too much cardio might damage your heart. [See: The 10 Best Exercises You Can Do for the Rest of Your Life .] A moderate amount helps strengthen our heart muscle, but too much cardio can actually weaken it. Moderate exercise a few days a week is good for your health, but new research shows that more may not always be better. Is too much exercise BAD for the heart? Sort by. When it comes to boosting your heart health, you can’t do much better than cardio. Here is how…, Walking is great for your health, but how much do you need to walk to aid weight loss? Moreover, research found evidence that high intensity exercise can acutely increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in individuals with underlying cardiac disease.This can also increase the risk of heart rhythm disorders, especially for the minority who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease. It’s equally tragic and amusing to consider the amount of time I spent doing cardio, thinking I was throwing myself a solid to only later find out that it was overkill. However, too much cardio can cause an unhealthy changes in the heart and large arteries, atherosclerosis or a stiffening of the large-artery wall. In other words, too much cardio could prevent weight loss. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. When you train yourself too much without resting or allowing your body to recover, you are not training but only straining your body. Researchers used this information to divide participants into three groups: those who met the physical activity guidelines, those who fell below, and those who exceeded it by at least three times. That doesn’t mean you should put away the walking shoes, though. The American Heart Association recommends performing 150 minutes of cardio per week in 10- to 60-minute sessions. For strenuous joggers, the risk was nine times higher. Over time, high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbs raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Can too much cardio be bad for your heart? To help counter this problem, you’ve been told for years that one of the best ways to protect your heart is to exercise — especially “cardio” like swimming, cycling, and running. share. People with genetic risk factors are especially vulnerable. Some researchers have found evidence that too much cardio might actually be a bad thing, but not all researchers agree. save hide report. Losing Sleep During COVID-19? Moderate exercise is still best for physical, mental health. “Extreme, long-term endurance exercise puts equally extreme demands on the cardiovascular system,” says Dr. Singh. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity, aerobic activity. In general, moderate activities should leave you free to carry on a conversation while you are active. If you're worried you've been hitting the gym a little too hard, read on for 10 signs that you need to cool it on the cardio. Chronic extreme exercise training and competing in endurance events can lead to heart damage and rhythm disorders. People who exercised three times the recommended amount — or the equivalent of 450 minutes a week of moderate activity — had a 27 percent higher risk of developing CAC during the study period, compared to those who exercised the least. We often think of cardio exercise as being only beneficial for our heart and entire cardiovascular system. You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter. How Much Cardio Is Really Good for Your Heart? Rana said that they plan to continue following the participants to see how many have heart attacks, other health problems, or die early. For instance, in a large-scale 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, light and moderate joggers were less likely than non-runners to die during the study’s two-year follow-up, while strenuous joggers had the same mortality rate as sedentary folks. This is probably because the other groups had too few participants. What Heart Patients Need to Know About COVID-19. Chronic Cardio Can Put Stress on Your Heart. To help determine if kipping pullups are right for you, this article examines what they are, benefits, the differences between standard pullups, and…, Researchers found that playing golf regularly, at least once a month, was associated with a lower risk of death. In addition, too much cardio specifically can result in muscle wasting (atrophy), which is not the outcome you want. It’s when the exercise feels impossible to finish. In a Swedish study of almost 74,000 non-elite long-distance cross-country skiers, those who had finished more races had a lower risk of dying early. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. “All in all, despite the concern about extreme exercise, there is not much reason for the average person to worry,” says Dr. Singh. 7 Secrets to Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy, A Sedentary Lifestyle Is Bad for Your Heart – Even if You’re a Healthy Weight. 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