The Risks Of Over Exercising


Scale and TapeMost of us understand that long periods of stress are very damaging to our whole being.  Stress from relationships, work or other causes drain us. We get less sleep, eat worse and develop physiological symptoms. When we imagine chronic stress it is always psychological stress, but that is not the only kind. Physical stress also triggers release of corticosteroids (stress reducing hormones).   The benefits of exercising are always touted and so we figure the more the better!  Yet, exercise can also cause unexpected health issues.

“A recent study revealed that 23 percent of gym goers exercised between six and 20 hours a week and had become dependent on their physical fix.” by Andrew May, Health Author

In most cases it is excessive exercise which can be harmful.  What is considered excessive?  Exercising more than 90 minutes per session and more than three times a week borders on excessive.  Studies have found that having a light day or “rest” day after a day of more vigorous exercise is essential.  Literally the body’s immune system is affected negatively after a long work-out or jog; white blood cell counts (Leukocytes) drop below “healthy” levels and open up the opportunity for illness.  Not to mention the excess excretion with exercise of many of our electrolytes; potassium, sodium and magnesium.  For those people that are avid runners or joggers additional minerals are utilized which are needed to keep cartilage intact and in healthy condition i.e. Silica, Collagen and Sulfur.

Could you be over training?  Here are the warning signs:

  • Weight loss, muscle injuries and extreme fatigue are all signs that you’re overdoing it.
  • When you get a minor injury, do you keep training?
  • Do you feel “guilty” if you miss a day?
  • Watch out for headaches, loss of appetite and insomnia too.
  • Heart palpitations?
  • Muscle weakness?

In the past few years I have come across cases in which too much exercise caused permanent injury, led to surgery, hospitalization or caused poor health.   I had a 27 year old client which came to see me.  She had been suffering with poor health for 2 years.  She suffered with physical fatigue and moderate depression and lack of focus and concentration.  Prior to all these symptoms arising she exercised 5 days a week for about 90 minutes.  Along with this she had a full college schedule.  This routine had been going on for about 2-3 years.  I discovered her potassium was very low, both her B-12 and B-6 vitamins were also deficient and she had very stressed Adrenal Glands.  One of her Doctor’s had suggested putting her on anti-depressants.

I also had a case of an avid runner.  This person had jogged for at least 20 years.  He cannot jog anymore.  He had to have knee surgery.  When I examined him he was very low in minerals which are essential for cartilage, connective tissue and tendon health.  Additionally, a 42 year old brother of a friend of ours had a sudden heart attack while playing beach volley ball.  A week prior to this incident he had run a marathon.  His brother could not believe it because this man was considered to be a “health nut”.  I suspect essential minerals for heart health like potassium, magnesium and selenium were probably very deficient.  You can read more about how excessive exercise can compromise our health by clicking the following article – Too Much Exercise Can Kill You.

So many vital nutrients are lost through exertion and perspiration, but no one is sounding the “alarm” horn loud enough. Many of us have heard the stories of basketball players, football players, marathon runners and even ice skaters suddenly die of a heart attack or stroke.  I suspect replacement of vital nutrients was not enough.  To read more about young athletes passing before their time click on the following article – When Sudden Death Strikes Athletes.

There is a fine line between getting it right and overdoing it. Here are some tips for balanced training:

  • If you work out a lot, make sure you’re leaving enough recovery time for your system between intense bouts of exercise.
  • Add mineral and vitamin supplements to your diet (diet alone will not replace the level of loss of many nutrients)
  • Slip a few low intensity workouts in between the really hard ones
  • Make sure to fuel up with a good combo of carbs, protein, and fat.

Supplements I suggest be added daily are a high quality trace mineral supplement like Colloidal Minerals (2 tbls) and extra Potassium (500 mg) and Magnesium (250 mg).   If you are an avid runner, also add Silica (herb form is Horsetail) and Sulfur (a.k.a. – MSM) to your diet.


Yes, too much exercise can be bad for your health, in more ways than one, but that’s no excuse not to do any at all. You need to keep your training sessions to a sensible length, try to build up your fitness slowly and listen to your body — it’ll soon tell you when you’ve gone too far.

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