Most things are good in moderation and exercise is no different. Sitting for hours or lying around on the couch all day and doing nothing causes oxidative stress to the body which can damage cells and prematurely age us etc. Well conversely too much exercise can cause the same oxidative issues, but just the right amount of exercise creates a “Hormetic Response” and hormesis is the term for favourable biological responses to low exposures to stressors, which really means that the body will be more resilient and stronger from it.

Hormesis is basically introducing a stressor to the body so the body can respond positively to it, so a runner who is running everyday without any days off will not be achieving a favourable hormetic response.
Periodising exercise is an essential part of any routine, increasing and decreasing intensity helps stimulate the body and keeps the workouts from getting stale and another huge component is rest time, this must be tired runnerfactored in as the body needs that time to recover and repair before the next workout. I am sure that you have heard about marathon runners who have heart attacks in there 50’s and people can’t believe it and say “but they were so fit and healthy!!”, but in all reality they just wore themselves out prematurely with overstressing the body with a gruelling running schedule and not achieving a good balance and favourable hormetic responses.

So, don’t workout too hard then!

Not quite, intense workouts have there place as I have already said, but recovery and refuelling must be adequate before the next exercise session. This does depend on the persons physical abilities, so there is no “one size fit’s all” answer. If you are going into your next workout with limbs that will hardly move and zero energy then stop, listen to your body! By all means do some forms of exercise, but in this instant a low intensity incline treadmill walk and stretching/ foam rolling session would be more advantageous than beating yourself up again!

More is not better, better is better!

Be smart about exercise, it is essential and ideally do some form of it everyday whether brisk walking, taking some stairs, cycling, yoga, etc and then scheduling your more intense workouts in 3-4 times each week. Most workouts should not last for more than an hour and you should definitely feel like you worked. If you are training for a marathon then take enough rest time after that long Sunday run, and of course schedule your nutrition well too.
The take home point is to use your head and listen to your body, by all means go hard on some workouts, but when it’s time you just need to listen up and act accordingly; food, relaxation and sleep are also huge parts of the program and should not be overlooked.


Yours in health,

Richard Insley

2016-02-18 14:04:26