FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.

posted on 20 August 2016

Four Things You Should Know Before Starting That Exercise Regime

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Derek Ball, Heriot-Watt University

The debate about how much is the right amount of exercise can seem never-ending. The minimum recommendation in the UK is 30 minutes of "moderate" exercise five times per week, not that most adults are meeting it. Some health specialists think alternative regimes will do us more good, such as shorter bouts of very intense exercise three to four times a week; or limiting periods of inactivity to a maximum of 60 minutes at any one time.

The trouble with this debate is that it risks assuming that exercise is always good for you. In reality, this is not always the case. Most of us know about the need to warm up properly and avoid exercising when we are under the weather, but some risks may not yet have reached the public consciousness. What follows is a few words of caution for anyone working themselves into a sweat. You never know, they may just save your life.

1. Easy does it

People who are unaccustomed to exercise and throw themselves in at the deep end can develop an unpleasant condition called delayed onset muscle soreness. It involves aching and tender muscles and a reduced range of motion of the joint at the affected area. It can last for several days and peaks about 48 hours after exercise.

The condition is caused by the body reacting to the trauma of sudden exercise: white blood cells infiltrate the muscles and digest damaged tissue, causing acute inflammation. How to avoid this experience? Anyone starting an exercise programme should build it up gradually.

2. Don't overstimulate

In extreme cases of delayed onset muscle soreness, the enzymes released by the muscles from the digestion of damaged tissue can induce a condition called rhabdomyolysis in which enzymes from damaged muscle cells are released into the blood. In severe cases this can lead to kidney failure but fortunately this appears to be relatively rare.

Using electrical stimulation devices as a substitute or supplement to exercise can also reportedly induce rhabdomyolysis. These devices work by attaching electrodes to different muscle groups and have become increasingly popular in recent years. Now, however, clinicians are issuing warnings about the dangers of using them excessively.

The shock doctrine. Javier Brosch

3. Hey, Ironman ...

If you are thinking about seriously pushing yourself, a brief lesson on the function of the heart is in order. The heart works in two phases, a contraction phase and a relaxation phase. In the contraction phase, blood is ejected from the right and left ventricles into the arteries through contraction of the heart muscle. In the relaxation phase, blood fills the ventricles to prepare for the next contraction.

The average human heart contracts about 70 times per minute, 24 hours per day and accumulates about 3 billion contractions over a 75-year period. It is considered that the heart can cope with even strenuous exercise, rising to about 200 beats per minute to pump enough blood and oxygen around the body.

Yet studies investigating the effects of prolonged intensive exercise such as an Ironman triathlon have shown a temporary decline in the heart's relaxation function after the athlete has stopped exercising. This effect has been termed "cardiac stunning".

Perhaps more worrying, some participants in these gruelling events have displayed biomarkers of cardiac damage usually only found after a heart attack - albeit the levels tend to be only just over the threshold to indicate damage and the effects appear to be short term. Yet subsequent studies also suggest it could be detrimental to cardiac function in the longer term.

Having said all that, it is worth stressing that not all exercise is detrimental to the heart. Exercise maintains heart function and in the case of heart-attack patients following a rehab programme, can substantially improve it.

Wot no Tony Stark? Maxisport

4. Immunity care

A bout of moderate exercise is considered to boost our immune function by prompting an increase in the number of white blood cells in our blood. In contrast, completing three or four hours of strenuous exercise - par for the course for professional athletes - has been linked to a decline in immune function over the next 24 hours.

After that it would return to normal, however for people like athletes doing this on a daily basis, longer-term studies have demonstrated that repeated strenuous exercise over several weeks can suppress immune function by lowering the number of white blood cells and making them function less effectively. It would then take considerably longer for the immune system to correct itself.

What to do about this? You can alleviate some of the effects with a good diet (or exacerbate them by eating poorly). Better still, you can also keep the bugs at bay with good personal hygiene. It is no coincidence that this message is drilled into athletes competing in the Olympics nowadays.

The take-home

None of this is intended to suggest that moderate exercise is not good for us. Doctors and sports scientists would agree that it maintains and promotes good heart, muscle, immune and also metabolic function. We might still be debating the best regime, but it's still rightly a major goal for health professionals to educate the public about the beneficial effects of exercise.

That said, there are limits. People need to be more aware of the risks of doing too much too soon - and of taking things to extremes. Exercise is good for you, but take the wrong approach and you might wish you had stayed on the couch.

The ConversationDerek Ball, Associate Professor of Applied and Intergrative Physiology, Heriot-Watt University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.

You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.

Econintersect Contributors


Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF

The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.

Take a look at what is going on inside of
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Run A High Pressure Economy? Janet Yellen Does Not Understand the Problem
A Short Note on a Connection Between Marginalist Economics and Folk Medicine
News Blog
Why Amazon Gives So Many Perks To Prime Members
Where Workplace Trust Is Strongest
How A Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Brain - And Personality
How Accurate Are Final US Election Polls
What We Read Today 27 October 2016
A Pony And His Beloved Teddy Bear Reunite After Being Apart For 3 Years
October 2016 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Remains In Expansion
September 2016 Median Household Income Not Statistically Different Than The Previous Month
September 2016 Pending Home Sales Index Improves
22 October 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims: Rolling Averages Marginally Worsen
Durable Goods New Orders Marginally Declined in September 2016
Infographic Of The Day: 41 Interesting Facts About Tesla Motors
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Oil Lower, Great Lakes Wind Power, Chinese Moving Mfg To US, Tesla Reports Profit, Dems Forecast To Take Senate, China's Debt And More
Investing Blog
Gold That Pays Dividends
Galaxy Note Disaster Wipes Out Samsung's Mobile Profits
Opinion Blog
Global Debt Investors: The Silence Of The Lambs
A Hard Brexit And Reduced Migration Won't Benefit UK Workers
Precious Metals Blog
Inflation Surging As Platinum Signals Stock Market Decline
Live Markets
27Oct2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Fractionally Lower, Interest-Rate Stocks Outweighed Gains In Healthcare, Market Indicators Bearish
Amazon Books & More

.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

Crowdfunding ....



Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved