Exercising like a maniac can be bad for your heart

If you paid attention to all those extreme weight loss reality TV shows, you’d be inclined to think that moderate exercise just isn’t enough.

And if you’ve got to suffer through a boot camp or one of those Crossfit classes just to be healthy…well, it’s tempting to just give up on being healthy and not exercise at all!

While the media is telling you that you should be able to complete the Iron Man at any age without breaking a sweat, a new study out of Australia has just revealed that extreme workouts are, in fact, toxic.

Cardiotoxic, to be exact.

Researchers in Melbourne reviewed previous studies of the relationship between exercise and cardiovascular problems and they found compelling evidence that extreme workouts damage the heart and cause irreversible structural changes.

This is coupled with previous studies that linked long-term, extreme sports with atrial fibrillation (A-fib) – which typically characterized by a rapid, irregular heartbeat and is associated with many dangerous conditions, including heart failure and stroke.

Once again, too much of a good thing may actually end up being no good at all.

And the lead researcher even noted in this study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, just because too much exercise is bad, doesn’t mean all exercise should be avoided.

You just don’t need to run marathons to be healthy, and you don’t need to overdo the exercise to be fit. A game of golf, a long walk, or some light gardening or yard work are moderate enough to keep you safely active.

If you’re already experiencing symptoms of A-fib, you don’t have to give up exercise altogether, either. Try a couple sessions of gentle yoga a week – it’s a great exercise that also helps reduce A-fib episodes. And while you’re at it, loading up on Vitamin C, which has been proven to dramatically reduce the number of A-fib episodes in those afflicted.

Bottom line: You only get one heart, so keep it healthy – but don’t abuse it!