I recently came across a very misleading headline in a mainstream publication about a new heart health study. The ridiculous headline read, “No limit—the more exercise the better.”
But there were several problems with their interpretation of the study’s results. In fact, as I regularly report, there’s a wealth of evidence showing how excessive exercise, or “excess-ercise,” as I call it, can cause great harm.
So, let’s jump right in…
Not much difference between “intense” and “moderate” exercisers
The new study followed more than 90,000 men and women over a five-year period. The participants wore trendy, activity-tracking devices on their wrists to record daily movement and exercise.
It turns out, those in the top–25 percent of intense exercisers had a reduction in heart disease risk ranging from 54 to 63 percent.
And, those in the top-25 percent of all exercisers, including those who engaged in moderate exercise, had a reduction in heart disease risk ranging from 48 to 57 percent.
So, let’s dig deeper into what those findings really mean…
First, I credit the researchers in this study for presenting a range of possible reductions in heart disease risk. (Both results had a 9-percent range of precision.) Whereas typically, some researchers arrogantly present their results down to the 10th decimal place…so, say, to 48.7 percent, for example. But no medical study could possibly be that precise. Which is why I never report findings down to those ridiculous decimal points.
Second, let’s consider what it means that the results for the intense and moderate exercisers had overlapping ranges…
Remember, the very upper range of all intense exercisers showed a decrease in heart disease risk anywhere from 54 to 63 percent. And the upper range of all exercisers—which also included those who engaged in moderate exercise—showed a decrease in heart disease risk anywhere from 48 to 57 percent.
But that’s nearly the same amount!
In fact, the highest possible risk reduction for moderate exercisers (57 percent) is better than the lowest possible risk reduction of vigorous exercisers (54 percent). So, in my view, that’s very shaky ground on which to build a ridiculous argument that there are “no limits” to the benefits of exercise.
It certainly doesn’t warrant throwing out the hundreds of previously published studies that suggest just 140 to 150 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise per week is the optimal amount for improving longevity and health. And that overdoing it with “excess-ercise” can cause problems with the joints, heart, GI system, genito-urinary tract, and even with your eyes!
Clearly, everything has limits. Including my patience for the ridiculous “no limits” headline.
In the end, this is basically another “read-past-the-headlines” story—because when you break down the data, you’ll see exercise in moderation is still just as beneficial. And that any potential “extra” benefit to pushing harder doesn’t outweigh the risks of a “no limits” approach.
So, continue to let moderation be your guide when it comes to exercise. Aim to spend just 140 to 150 minutes weekly engaged in light-to-moderate physical activity. Plus, now that we’re toward the end of May, the weather outside can be quite delightful for some walks, hikes, swimming, and gardening in Nature…which all count toward your weekly total.
P.S. You can learn more about all of the effective, natural approaches for fighting against heart disease—including the importance of moderate (not vigorous) exercise—in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about it or to enroll today, simply click here.
“Accelerometer measured physical activity and the incidence of cardiovascular disease: Evidence from the UK Biobank cohort study.” PLOS Medicine, January 2021. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003487