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Oh please, really? I think the key word in this article is “strenuous”. Most people that are couch potatoes are not going to get up and do strenuous exercise. It may seen strenuous if they never exercise on a regular basis. I think articles like this can give people a reason not to improve their lifestyles by adding exercise to their daily routine. They won’t see the word “strenuous” they will skip that word and read the title like this: Couch Potatoes Rejoice: Exercise My Be Unhealthy.

 

Couch Potatoes Rejoice: Strenuous Exercise May Be Unhealthy – From the Wall Street Journal

New study details negatives effects of exercising every day, notably an increased chance of vascular disease

As an endurance-athletics mantra, “more is better” can make for speedier finishes. But does it come at the cost of health?

A recent study in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that exercising strenuously four to seven days a week conferred an increased risk of vascular disease, compared with two to three days a week of strenuous exercise.

This study adds to a small but growing body of research suggesting that the effects of exercise are horse-shoe shaped. Beyond a point, this research suggests, physical activity not only stops enhancing health but starts hurting it. A small but growing camp of physicians believes that the extreme pursuit of fitness can damage the cardiovascular system, weaken immunity or otherwise wreak physical havoc.

“This is the best study we’ve seen yet,” James O’Keefe, a Kansas City cardiologist who believes that “the arms race” of endurance athletics can expose competitors to health risks.

But Mayo Clinic physician Michael J. Joyner said, “For every paper showing that there’s evidence of an uptick (in disease) at the extremes of exercise, I can show you another one that says there isn’t.”

Previous alarm-raising research was focused on relatively modest-sized groups of people doing large amounts of physical activity. But this new study comes from an examination of 1.1 million British women over a period of about a decade, and what it measures isn’t exercise so much as rest.

Called the Million Women Study, it tracked for nine years the vascular health of subjects recruited via Britain’s National Health Service. Starting out, the women, ranging in age from 50 to 64, completed surveys about how often they exercised and how strenuously.

Like nearly all physical-activity studies, this research found that exercisers experienced dramatically fewer adverse vascular events compared with non-exercisers. But for those involved in strenuous exercise–defined as “any work or exercise causing sweating or a fast heartbeat”—that advantage disappeared after two or three sessions a week.

At four to seven strenuous sessions a week, the exercisers experienced an uptick in adverse vascular effects, the study found. For women doing any kind of exercise, including gardening and housework, four to six days a week was optimal. Seven days was associated with a rise in vascular troubles.

An especially surprising finding involved venous thromboembolism, typically involving blood clots in the legs. That condition is deeply associated with inactivity, and sure enough, it more often struck subjects who didn’t exercise than those who did. But women engaged in daily strenuous exercise suffered more episodes of venous thromboembolism than did those who exercised rarely or not at all. “That’s kind of shocking,” said O’Keefe.

The lead author of the study—called “Frequent Physical Activity May Not Reduce Vascular Risk as Much as Moderate Activity”—is Miranda E.G. Armstrong, an epidemiologist at Britain’s University of Oxford.

The study likely won’t change people’s behavior. Couch potatoes will take comfort from its suggestion that rest days are beneficial. And daily exercisers, if not large in number, are passionate in the belief that physical activity confers inexhaustible benefits.

Try telling Mark Washburne to take a day or three off a week. As president of the U.S. Running Streak Association, Washburne has run every day since Dec. 31, 1989. At age 59 he has no health complaints. “Not once have I called in sick to work,” says Washburne.

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