Exercise is medicine, but is too much of a good thing a bad thing?

Working out regularly can combat diseases and health conditions, control weight, boost energy, improve moods, promote better sleep and can generally be fun. Exercise is a simple therapy with far-reaching health benefits.

It’s a great to know that it doesn’t require a lot of effort for people to receive these benefits. As little as 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week, can be enough for many adults to experience the health benefits of exercise.

Can you exercise too much?

Too much exercise is a real possibility. A Danish study published in 2015 followed 1,098 healthy joggers and 3,950 healthy non-joggers. The study found that the light to moderate joggers had a lower mortality rate than sedentary non-joggers. However, strenuous joggers had a mortality rate statistically similar to the non-jogging control group. The study found that there was a jogging ‘sweet spot’ of 1 to 2.4 hours per week.

There have been many other studies conducted that focus on other types of exercise, all showing similar findings. The current thinking is there is an upper limit for exercising, and the sweet spot is where you want to be to for longevity and to gain full cardiovascular benefits.

How do you record this?

One way to work this out is by calculating your Exercise Vital Sign (EVS). This should be recorded as your total minutes of physical activity per week.

  1. How many days per week on average do you engage in moderate to intense physical activity?
  2. How many minutes on average do you engage in this physical activity?

1 X 2 = amount of physical activity per week (EVS)

The EVS is a baseline measurement like BMI, blood pressure and smoking history. EVS has a discriminant legitimacy and is considered a credible proxy measure of exercise.