Dangers of Excess Exercise?

The Chinese have known for thousands of years that excessively strenuous exercise does more harm than good. I recently came a cross an article that was published over 100 years ago in JAMA in which the authors warned of the dangers of excess exercise.

“It is common to find men who have been athletes during their college days to be suffering from hypertrophied and even chronically dilated hearts, with blowing murmurs… These men pant easily and tire in a most distressing way on slight exertion. They are not nearly so “fit: as men who have lived normally, without attempting to “build muscle” by means of inordinately severe exercises. Woods Hutchinson tells us that, according to statistics, athletes are two and one-half times as liable to cardiac diseases, 60% more liable to die of the three main infectious diseases of adult life than the average man. no doubt the same will be found true of those workingmen who most frequently subject their bodies to heavy and exhausting strain.”

I have found it interesting that when I warn those patients that exercise excessively, i.e. running marathons or triathlons they seldom cut back on their training.

Terry Pfau, DO, HMD

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