Exercising is good for the body. However, did you know that too much exercise could have negative effect on the body (for many)?
To be healthy one need to be active. Various types of activities are good – visiting gym, group fitness classes, walking, running, dancing etc. all are good. For many this helps to reduce body’s inflammation or body swelling. Inflammation of tissues sometimes becomes permanent and leads to conditions like diabetes. Exercise and activities helps to reduce the inflammation by removing toxins from the tissues.
As we all know, each person’s body is different. For some people light to moderate exercise or short exercise session should be sufficient to reduce the inflammation of the body. If these people exercise too much then the body inflammation increases and results in weight gain and fatigue.
Inflammation happens when the immune system tries to protect the injuries of the tissues Like other invaders in our body—allergic reactions, lack of sleep, emotional stress, poor diet and excess body fat—too much and too hard exercise can directly affect the body’s complex immune system and produce a cascading effect of inflammatory responses.
In other words, inflammatory stressors can become chronic and accumulate and results in troubled system. These stressors affect a delicately balanced biochemistry ‘homeostasis‘ designed to protect our bodies from potential damage. Many body systems must remain balanced for homeostasis to occur.
Exercise is a physical stressor, and the exercise stress response follows similar inflammatory physiological pathways to those activated by other physical and mental stimuli. Some degree of muscle damage will happen if the exercise is designed to elicit higher levels of strengthening and conditioning. This will lead to a call to immune system to respond in number of ways including inflammatory response to help muscle repair.
During exercise, the primary hormones that get released are:
- epinephrine (to increase heart rate and blood flow to the muscles)
- norepinephrine (to raise blood pressure)
- cortisol (to mobilize fuel sources and lower any inflammation)
- growth hormone and glucagons (to protect blood glucose and mobilize other energy sources for fuel)
Any over stress on the system results in imbalance of these hormones and results in higher inflammation.
What contributes to inflammation when someone workout hard? Too much intensified workout to lose weight and gain good muscle can result in an inflammation/stress response.
- Generally, postural and joint malalignments play a major role in inflammatory conditions.
- Exercisers who spend long periods sitting each day are especially vulnerable when performing certain upright movements that can create excessive friction in joint complexes.
- Excessive shoulder internal rotation, thoracic flexion and hip external rotation are classic seated malalignment issues that result in pain or damage to areas that then become inflamed.
How much is too much?
Research indicates that high-intensity (> 70% of maximal effort) exercise sessions lasting longer than 20–30 minutes or low-intensity (< 50%–70%) efforts lasting longer than 75 minutes can flood the body with stress and inflammation biochemical markers, initiating a cascading response. In fact, recently research studies prove that Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise may dampen inflammation in the body. Suzi Hong, an associate professor at University of California revealed the findings in the recent studies on exercise. As Suzi Hong says “exercise doesn’t have to be tremendously hard for you to see health benefits from it.” Moderate exercise efforts for up to 60 minutes can actually reduce inflammatory markers, increase positive neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin and endorphins) and improve brain chemistry. Moderate intensities also stimulate the growth of new brain cells, neurons and capillary growth to muscles and neurons.
For those who feel that too much exercise is bothering their system then, before going through fitness program – talking to instructors or trainers about your lifestyle and body system before commencing any physical activity program will help. How much exercise and how many days, what activities, diet – these should be part of your discussion. This will reduce chronic inflammation and makes exercise more attractive and fun.
- Ratey, J.J. 2008. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.New York: Little, Brown.