Exercise: Can You Get Too Much of a Good Thing?

Most people seem to have the opposite problem. They don’t move enough and sit way too much, which has serious consequences all its own. Sitting too much has been compared to smoking and thought to be just as dangerous and destructive to health. All too often we are either sitting behind a desk 8 or more hours a day or sitting in a car commuting. God didn’t put 650 muscles in our bodies for show! They are meant to be used. And the old saying is true – use it or lose it. Just look at an arm or leg that has been immobilized in a cast for weeks. When the cast comes off the muscles have atrophied from non-use. So there’s no argument that we are meant to move throughout our day and staying active is important in overall health.

However, overdoing anything is counterproductive. You certainly can over-train, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time and then jump in full steam ahead and overdo it. You will know if you’ve done that because you will be so sore you will have trouble moving at all. Overtraining causes inflammation. You experience that inflammation in the soreness of your muscles.

But there’s an even more serious and sinister side to this. Going to the gym for an hour a few times during a week doesn’t offset sitting for 8-10 hours five days a week. One expert calls this being “actively sedentary.” Now the weather here in NY is starting to get mild and everyone just wants to be outside more, which is good. However, many people become what is known as “weekend warriors.” They don’t exercise all week and then do half marathons on the weekend or start extreme cross-fit workouts.

While increasing activity is a good thing overdoing it, especially all at once is not. You may have heard that a side effect of statin drugs can be rhabdomyolysis or rhabdo for short. It is a dangerous syndrome and overtraining has now been shown to be a possible cause. Besides statins, there are more than 100 different possible triggers including heatstroke, crush injuries, certain infections and metabolic disorders. Although it has been considered a relatively rare occurrence, recently there’s been an increased incidence by simply pushing too hard, too fast, particularly if a person is out of shape or just beginning an exercise program.

Rhabdo is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle resulting in leakage into the urine of the muscle protein myoglobin and is often linked to acute onset kidney failure. Symptoms can include muscle tenderness and pain, bruising, brown urine, nausea, fever, vomiting, agitation, irregular heartbeat and weakness. These are the most common types of workouts linked to emergency room visits related to rhabdo:


Weight lifting


Marathon training

Training in very hot weather

Military training or strenuous exercise with full gear

So what’s the answer to this? Well as with all things beginning gradually and working up to a higher level of fitness is the first thing. Taking baby steps may not satisfy your need to do it all – but it is more effective than you may think and is the safest way to proceed, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time or are just beginning. I know the old saying “no pain, no gain” but you do not have to work out so strenuously that you get to muscle failure to get results!

Also I urge all clients, weight loss and otherwise, to set a timer and get up every 30 minutes and move. It doesn’t even much matter what you do as long as you move around for a few minutes. Stretch, walk to the water cooler and refill your container, do a few squats or lunges in the bathroom. Take a short walk, stand up while you talk on the phone. Just be intentional about getting some movement every 30 minutes or so. Your muscles will thank you!

Also be sure you are always properly hydrated but especially if you are exercising in hot, humid weather. Take extra precautions not to overdo.

Are you actively sedentary or do you intentionally get up and move periodically all through the day?

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About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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4 Responses to Exercise: Can You Get Too Much of a Good Thing?

  1. Holly Scherer says:

    Whoa! Scary stuff!

    You’re absolutely right, Ann. Our bodies adapt quickly when we take consistent baby steps. I’m occasionally reminded of this the hard way.

    • amusico says:

      Yes Holly – I was surprised to learn just by overdoing it once it could bring this on. It’s always best to take those baby steps.

  2. Debbie W. Wilson says:

    Ann, my husband has a sedentary job but rides his bike on the weekends. He does pushups etc during the week. But I’ve wondered if it’s “safe” for him to ride so far only one day a week. He does do it weekly unless the weather prohibits him.

    • amusico says:

      Debbie unless he does a ridiculous number of miles on that one day he probably will be fine. I think the fact that he does do some type of exercise during the week is helpful. I would just suggest he keep what he does to a moderate amount and intensity to be safe.

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