Too much gym time ‘not a good thing’

Too much gym time 'not a good thing'

A male friend of mine was at the gym last week and he was on the weight machines. He was feeling fitter than ever, more confident in his abilities and happy with the way his body was beginning to tone up.

So, as you do, he thought he'd push himself. It is, after all, part and parcel of body building – you keep moving up a level, another barrier to overcome so to speak. However, no sooner did he put on some extra weight did he injure himself.

I haven't spoken to him since but he basically said he felt as those he had burst his ribs – which I'm pretty sure is impossible – and now every time he laughs, sneezes and coughs, he gets a sharp pain in his chest. He was convinced he had pulled some muscles. I must find out what the doctor said.

Anyways, I was reminded of this when I came across a story about how too much time spent at the gym or keeping fit in general can be a bad thing. As a former personal trainer, I know all too well the detriments of being over-eager when it comes to this.

Doctors have warned in the journal Heart that exercise should be limited to 30 to 50 minutes a day, because regular intense activities can actually damage the heart, whereby it actually tears, scars and stretches its tissues.

"A routine of moderate physical activity will add life to your years, as well as years to your life," said cardiologists James O’Keefe and Carl Lavie. "In contrast, running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one's progress towards the finish line of life."

This is because the heart is only designed to undertake "short bursts" of activity. Therefore, anything that is substantially prolonged, like regularly doing marathons, presents the muscle with a situation it is not really cut out for.

So, the motto is keep fit and healthy but don't overdo it. In much the same way as being overly inactive is bad for you, spending too much time hammering one's body can be equally harmful. It's all about balance.

And seeing as it is Friday, I'm off for a donut. Hey, I did go to the gym last night.

Are you super fit?

Posted by Elsa Pienaar

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