Too Much Exercise Can Be Bad For Your Heart

We all know 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.

Well, it seems -- aside from heart attacks -- a 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 specifically affects the right ventricle and was found in nearly 90 percent of ultra endurance athletes.

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.

Family Practice News, October 1, 2005: 2

International Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 25, January 2004: 45-49

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