How and when exercise is bad for you

Exercise seems to be the answer for everything Moana Movies. But could you ever get too much of a good thing? Of course. Here are the ways in which training can be bad for you:

Exercising while you’re sick
Why it’s bad for you
Don’t exercising while you’re not feeling 100%. When you have a fever, your heart must work extra hard to help you cool down. By adding exercise to the mix, can overheat your body. Furthermore, some viruses that infect your nose and throat can also infect your heart muscle. By exercising with a viral infection, your heart muscle can become infected, and cause permanent damage. This damage can cause

When is it safe?
Mild to moderate physical activity is safe if you have a garden-variety cold and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal blockage. If you have a fever, however, listen to your body and rest until your fever has gone.

Alternatively, take the “neck test”

  • If your symptoms are from the neck up, you can exercise. Just be aware that medications can increase your heart rate: combined with exercise this can cause your heart to pump harder than normal. You may become short of breath and have difficulty breathing. Slow down and don’t push yourself too hard, or you may feel worse. Instead of going for a run, take a walk, for example.
  • If your symptoms are from the neck down, you’ve got a deep chest cough or a fever, do not exercise. You most likely have inflamed tissue in the lungs and exercise will make this worse, rest is the best course of action.
  • If you do exercise and have difficulty breathing before or after the session or generally feel worse after exercise, then STOP. Take a few days off until you feel better. It won’t interfere with a strict training program, but a heart infection will!


Exercising an injury
Why it’s bad for you
“I hurt my [insert body part here], but I need to keep training!”
Sound familiar? Overuse injuries are just that, overuse! They happen when you do the same action over and over again. After a while, the muscles or joints start getting tired and experiencing more stress than they should. The most common causes of overuse injury are:

  • Training errors: doing “too much too soon”. Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of activity
  • Technique errors: overloading certain muscles. With the wrong posture, you’re not helping, but harming your body. Get a trainer to help you do things right.
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If you don’t stop and slow down, the sequence of events are: strain> stress> sprain > tear/rupture > permanent damage. Once it’s strained, take a step back, slow down, correct your posture, so you can prevent permanent damage!

When is it safe?
If you experience any pain while exercising, stop that exercise and re-check your technique and equipment. Pain during exercise is a sign of straining not training!

In most cases, rest allows the injured joint or muscle to recover from the stress and make a full recovery. It is possible that you may need to visit a physiotherapist or biokinetic to help you train correctly.


Exercising when you already over-exercise
Why it’s bad for you
Just as doing too little exercise can be harmful to your health, doing too much can be too! Excessive exercise lowers the immune system and increases inflammation. It has also been linked to

  • poor body image concerns
  • anxiety
  • depression

When is it safe?
Signs and symptoms of over-training include:

  • Ongoing muscle pain and stiffness and regular injury
  • Higher than normal resting heart rate
  • Getting sick regularly
  • Depression and irritability
  • Loss of motivation
  • Weight loss

The definition of “too much” varies from person to person. Some of us can exercise strenuously for years without any problems, while others can’t go for a month without an injury. There’s no way to say exactly what the upper limit of exercise is for everyone but being aware of the symptoms of over-training can help.

For most people, taking the Goldilocks approach is best: not too little, not too much but just the right amount!