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How Much Cardio Is Too Much Cardio?

Now and then news pops up about unfortunate events of cardiac complications to people while exercising

Is it because of too much cardiovascular exercise? Should you be even exercising if those are the risks? Let's take a look.  

First let's look at whether should you even exercise. 

During exercise, there is a transient increase in the risk of having a cardiac-related complication. However, this risk is extremely small. More importantly, the risk of a cardiac event is significantly lower among regular exercisers. Evidence suggests that a sedentary person’s risk is nearly 50 times higher than the risk for a person who exercises about 5 times per week. 

So, you should definitely exercise. 

But how can you make it safer? 

Here is one tool. 

Calculate the maximum heart rate 

Max Heart Rate = 220 - your age (beats per minute) 

Suppose you are 25 years old. Your Max Heart Rate = 220 - 25 = 195 beats per minute 

At moderate intensity level you should ideally be at 64% to 76% of max heart rate, i.e approximately 127 to 148 bpm . At high intensity level you can safely be between 77% to 93% of max heart rate, i.e approximately 150 to 181 bpm if you are 25 years as in our example.  

Tip: Don’t have a heart rate monitor. Measure your pulse near your wrist for 15 seconds and multiply by 4.  

So how much cardio is too much? 

There’s no prescribed upper limit. The upper limit depends on your body and fitness level. There are a few ways your body tells you when it is too much of exercise for the body. 

1. Your joints hurt 

2. You always feel sore 

3. Exercise that seemed easier before feels harder now 

4. Not sleeping well 

5. Always feel drained of energy 

Your body always speaks to you. When something doesn’t feel right, hold off an extra day, Hydrate, sleep well and come back again when your body gives you the thumbs up to go. 

What is recommended? 

When it comes to exercise it isn’t so much about quantity. Exercising with low commitment or effort for 3 hours straight, for example, isn’t beneficial. High volume leaves an undesired side effect of stress on muscles and joints.  

Instead, work in the recommended ranges of the intensity of heart rate for 1 hour. Don’t ignore warm-up. It is an important part of the exercise process - to prepare your heart for a safe workout. Increase volume very gradually. You don’t expect your biceps to lift 30kgs on day 1 or day 20. You do it gradually over many months by feeling how your muscle feels. Remember your heart is a muscle too!  

If you want to supercharge weight loss, stay active throughout the day. That doesn’t mean more exercise but more activity of low intensity (less sitting & more walking). Eat clean, hydrate well, and get enough sleep and your heart will repay you by performing better and better! 


Tags assigned to this article:
Cardio exercise

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