From    dated 11/12/05

Too Much Exercise Can Actually be Bad For Your Heart


ExerciseA study of Australian Ironman Triathlon finishers strongly suggests ultra-endurance athletes can cause damage to their heart muscle that can result in abnormal heart rhythms.

This problem specifically affects the right ventricle. It was found in nearly 90 percent of ultra-endurance athletes.

The study was performed on 15 athletes; they were examined both before and several days following the Triathlon. The athletes had both electrocardiograms and echocardiograms taken, and their blood was analyzed for creatine kinase (CK) and other chemical markers of myocardial injury.

International Journal of Sports Medicine January 2004; 25: 45-49

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

It is common knowledge that too much of a good thing can be harmful for you, and it turns out exercise is no exception to this rule. Although it's true the vast majority of people in this country are severely underexercised, there are a few people who can overdo it and actually harm their health.

This first gained widespread attention when Jim Fixx, a marathoner and author of The Complete Book of Running, died some two decades ago of a heart attack at the age of 52 while he was running.

It took me nearly 20 years to start to appreciate that it is possible to overdo exercising. My last marathon was nearly 15 years ago, and I hadn't even competed since then until I jumped in a local neighborhood 5K race and won my age division.

Last month, I lectured at an Early to Rise seminar in Florida and had a chance to hear Dr. Al Sears speak about his PACE program. He presented some compelling evidence that strongly suggests long distance running is not the best exercise for you.

Turns out that what you really need is a combination of both endurance exercise and anaerobic type sprinting exercises (weight training will also work) to help increase the instant dramatic demands on your cardiovascular system that can precipitate heart attacks, such as in the winter when you might be shoveling snow.

He has quite a comprehensive program and I would strongly encourage you to consider reviewing it. I do plan on doing a more comprehensive review on the PACE program sometime in the future. 

A good rule to remember about exercise from contributing editor Paul Chek: If you can't improve your performance by 1-3 percent each time you go to the gym, you are not rested and should stretch, meditate or get a massage. In other words, do some relaxing instead of training.

Next Saturday, Dr. Ben Lerner will have another article that addresses this topic in great detail so be sure and come back next week for it.

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