Excessive exercise is bad for the body, research shows

Excessive exercise is bad for the body, research shows
Excessive exercise is bad for the body, research shows

It is a general consensus that physical activity is a beneficial action for the body, as it provides well-being and improvement in breathing, prevents cardiovascular diseases, strengthens the immune system, among other numerous benefits. However, when excessive exercise occurs, the effect is the opposite: the organs are overloaded, causing negative results in the body. This is what details a research carried out by scientists from the state universities of São Paulo (USP) and Campinas (Unicamp). They have been studying the effects of excessive exercise for the human body’s vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys for a decade.

The research was published in the international journal Cytokine, with the support of the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Fapesp). The survey, which was carried out with mice, showed that certain changes – harmful – take place in the human body when very intense physical activities are practiced. Practices were carried out with runs on the flat, uphill and downhill for eight weeks. According to the researchers, the result was decisive: exercising in excess, without rest and recovery, has negative effects.

“We live in a reality where physical activity is restricted to appearance, few really treat it as a model of health and that is where we can start to trace the less suitable ways. The search for supposed perfection can also lead to the use of exogenous substances that can cause kidney and liver problems over time”, explains Nemer Tarraf, cardiologist and professor at Faculdade Tiradentes (Fits), in Pernambuco.

The researchers analyzed the decline: the muscles had more difficulty capturing glucose in the blood – which gives the body energy – and the mice had atrophy and poor formation of protein inside the cell. The liver then began to act on the uptake, overloading it and generating, as a consequence, inflammation and fat in the organ.

The heart also played a role in the uptake of glucose, accumulating the substance in its tissues. As a result, after the eight weeks of testing, the organ showed fibrosis – tissue hardening – in the left ventricle and inflammation.

“Physical activity must be closely linked to the individual’s perception of his body, whether in relation to its limitations or its goals. Our prevalence of sedentary people is high in Brazil, even if we take into account the new WHO guidelines regarding the amount of time and intensity of exercise, even so, there is still a small portion of people who seek their limits during effort”, explains Nemer.

recommendations

What is indicated and recommended by health professionals will always be to do physical activities, according to the health and history of each person, but in a personalized and careful way. The ideal is to have a rest period, so that the organs can recover properly – the rest interval for athletes or amateurs usually varies between 24 to 48 hours.

Observing the load, type and training series is also necessary, to adapt the body, and, if necessary, change the approach. And of course, always exercise under the supervision of a physical education professional, to avoid accidents and other complications.

“In sport that aims to maintain health, it must have supervised frequency and intensity, not extrapolate the physical capacity of the individual and maintain consistency. Weight training should be part of aerobic training, not only as a guarantee of health and vitality, but also as a known factor in reducing joint injuries”, pointed out Nemer.

The cardiologist also explains that rest brings results in a conscious and healthy way. “Rehabilitation brings planning and qualifies the objectives, through prospective segments, acting directly in the reduction of mortality in certain risk profiles. The ideal scenario is to carry out pre-participation assessments in cardiologists and orthopedists, in order to understand their real need and establish their indications and limitations”, he concluded.

The article is in Portuguese

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