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Don't Overdo Your Excercise

Exercise is definitely an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but researchers are finding that too much exercise may hinder learning and memory. Although this research was done in rats, I believe the results provide powerful evidence to support my long-standing contention that excess exercise can be highly counter productive. In my younger foolish days I would regularly run 25 to 50 miles per week and compete in everything from 10K races to marathons. Those days are long gone, and I now restrict my running to around 15 to 18 miles per week with careful attention to rest days.

Dr. Ken Cooper coined the term "aerobics" in the late '60s. I, and many others, believe he is the single largest reason for the interest in exercise that started in the last half of the 20th century. He has long been fond of saying that anyone who runs more than 15 miles per week is doing it for ego rather than health reasons. Now most of you won't run the risk of overdoing exercise, but there are a small percentage of obsessive compulsive exercisers out there, and I would encourage you to heed this warning to keep your exercise balanced.

Behavioral Neuroscience October 2003

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