The Cost of Bad Exercise
If you exercise are you exercising doing just the right exercise for just the right time? My question is: are you exercising exactly for your health and wellbeing and not doing one of anything more or less than that? Are you exercising just the right amount for your health?
If you exercise I'm assuming you exercise to:
A) improve your fitness level
B) improve your athletic performance
C) improve a health concern or to stay healthy
There may be some other reasons but not many. In each of the three categories are you exercising too much, too little, performing the correct workout regimen, or just don't know?
Because if you throw yourself into exercise just to exercise you may be doing harm to your body (and mind).
Is there any proof that exercise makes us healthy or does any study show rather, that being healthy makes us exercise?
In other words, those of us who are less robust, less fit, and certainly less interested, tend to avoid exercise like it's the worst thing in the world and we would do anything else. Gimme something, anything, just don't make me exercise.
Those of you who are healthier; we can't keep you down. You are brimming with vitality. You run in the rain. You get up so early, before 7 o'clock for crying out loud, to get to the gym.
And it goes to show that those who have less vital reserves tend not to exercise, and, have a higher rate of morbidity and mortality. Those with higher vital reserves enjoy exercise more, get sick less often, and perhaps live a little longer...
DESPITE THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF THE EXERCISE YOU DO
I'm talking today about over-exercising and the damages of over-exercising that you don't hear often.
What damages does exercise cause?
Exercise causes much more oxidation or free radical production than what happens during the normal day of metabolism. In a normal day of your life, not including exercise, just cellular metabolism, you produce free radicals – oxidation. And normally, your body can clear these free radicals or this oxidation, without any problem at all.
But when you exercise, you are producing far greater amount of free radical, oxidation.
When you exercise greater than your body can clear the excess oxidation you cause an imbalance in your metabolism – you cause Oxidative Stress.
Oxidative Stress is the delta, or the imbalance between the catabolism, the breakdown of cellular components during exercise and the lack of ability of the anabolic, the repair phase to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage
Over-exercising means your exercise is causing more free radical destruction than your body can clear. Over-exercising will cause health problems.
Your solution to this problem is to reduce your exercise just so that you don't cause yourself oxidative stress. Exercise less, rest more, eat better foods, stay away from bad people, listen to music...become completely refreshed before you exercise again.
The amount of exercise you need is much, much less than what you think and the cost of just a little too much exercise is severe.
If you are exercising based on your shear joy of exercising or because some he-man said you need to "pound it into the ground", or "no pain, no gain", or any other number of nonsense things that happen during training without you understanding what may drive you into oxidative stress -- it is going to cost you.
Do you exercise five times a week? Do you work some muscles and not other muscles – like your pects and biceps but not your cardiac muscle? Do you, and I'm going to step on some running toes, run marathons and do not know if you are spending more time in catabolism, causing oxidative stress? You are flirting with disastrous health consequences.
Two to three to, or at the most, four workouts that are ultra-high intensity and very low volume or duration are going to reduce oxidative levels. Get in, get it done to exhaustion, get out. You're done.
Here's one hint about oxidative stress: don't exercise if you are sick, if you are tired, if your body temperature is low or you will cause an oxidative imbalance. You must be aware of your body and listen to it.
Exercise to enrich your life, don't do it to destroy your vitality and health. Let exercise enrich the quality of your life. Exercise can be a huge health factor – when it's done correctly.
How can I be so sure that high intensity, short duration exercise is the key to your health that will give you maximum gains and minimum oxidative damage (catabolic damage)? The best exercise will exercise the muscle or muscles to the point of fatigue.
You want your exercise to cause a metabolic crisis in your body so that your body will increase its metabolic activities so it can adapt to higher levels of function. No, you shouldn't be watching a show, reading a book, or talking to anyone while you're exercising. You're wasting your time. Worse, you may slink into oxidative stress because you don't have a marker on your activity. Exhaustion is a major marker – you know when you cannot continue with the exercise.
Complete fatigue is what we're looking for!
May I geek out just a little and I'll circle around and make it practical.
There are many studies in the literature. Here's one briefly: "Skeletal muscle fatigue in normal subjects and heart failure patients. Is there a common mechanism?" Lunde, et al. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica; 1998. (Acta Physiol Scand) Publisher: Scandinavian Society for Physiology.
As I briefly describe this let me mention that there have been many attempts to describe how muscles fatigue. For years it was thought it had something to do with lactic acid build up or pH changes in the tissue. Some have said that fatigue had to do with chemistry at the neuromuscular junctions. None of those have adequately explained fatigue.
This study describes muscle fatigue while keeping in mind two fundamental premises;
A) that skeletal muscle fatigue develops gradually in all forms of exercise (both high intensity and low intensity), and, fatigue develops more rapidly in heart failure patients.
B) The fatigue mechanism is still not known, but has been localized to the muscle cells themselves.
This study made what may be a major breakthrough regarding exercise physiology. The researchers showed that there are actually two entirely unrelated fatigue mechanisms, one mechanism for fatigue in high intensity exercise, and a completely different biochemical process for fatigue in response to low intensity long duration exercise. Furthermore, the failure mechanism in low intensity exercise is exactly the same pathological mechanism by which heart failure patients fatigue. Here is specifically what the study showed.
1. In response to high intensity exercise there is gradual muscle cell membrane depolarization due to sodium and potassium membrane exchange.
2. In response to low intensity exercise there is a loss of calcium and magnesium exchange control. This is how heart failure patients fatigue. In other words, low intensity, long duration exercise causes the same pathological intracellular chemical imbalances that are found in heart failure patients. That is, this pathological calcium excess and magnesium insufficiency (and this is the rationale behind calcium channel blocker and beta blocker medications; it is also part of the biochemistry of thyroid insufficiency and many other chronic disease states.)
There are two entirely unrelated fatigue mechanisms, one mechanism for fatigue in high intensity exercise, and a completely different biochemical process for fatigue in response to low intensity, long duration exercise. The mechanism of fatigue in response to low intensity exercise involves a derangement of the calcium, magnesium exchange control.
Now circling around, it matters if you cause oxidative stress when you exercise and you most likely cause OS when you over-exercise. Also, it matters what kind of exercise you do for your workouts; that being, if you do low-intensity, long-duration exercise, it will take you a long time to muscle fatigue, if you ever get there, and you are most certainly causing a calcium magnesium imbalance – an excess of calcium and deficiency of magnesium, the same pathophysiology of heart failure.
Your best exercise is ultra-high intensity to the point of fatigue. For cardio, you do that by exercising the most muscles. You exercise in complete range of motion against bi-directional resistance.
I have developed a machine that does just this; full body, complete range of motion, anaerobic, maximum intensity, cardio-respiratory exercise machine.