If exercise and healthy eating are a habit for you, then that’s a great start in ensuring that you stay well and active throughout your life, not only preventing major health concerns, but even warding off mild ailments such as colds. However, being in tip-top condition doesn’t mean that you won’t develop illnesses or injuries, and unless you listen to your body, even a small drop in fitness or stamina could be an indication that something is wrong.
|Photo Credit: Lolography
For those of us that are newly-enthusiastic about exercise, keeping an eye on warning signs is even more important. A GP appointment in which we discover that we have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or are at risk of diabetes can send us frantically down a route of sudden strenuous exercise in an attempt to ward off heart attacks, strokes, and other serious illnesses. Although a health wake-up call can be a good thing, building up exercise slowly is crucial, so as not to put too much strain on the body.
However, even the fittest bodies would have limits, it would seem, and vigorous exercise isn’t quite the health saviour it might appear to be if our bodies are pushed to excess. Recent studies suggest that there are limits even for fitness fanatics, and that going beyond these can have serious consequences, especially for heart health.
|Photo Credit: Lolography
A study by the American Academy of Family Physicians highlighted the dangers for middle-aged marathon runners, particularly men – it found that they are at a significantly increased risk of heart attack, even if they are super-fit. In many cases, this is because their fitness level is masking underlying symptoms of middle-age onset heart disease. As we age, the heart becomes less efficient, and has to work harder to pump blood around our body. Additionally, the way our muscles – including our heart – uses oxygen in our blood changes too. However fit and healthy we are, our arteries start to narrow and fur – no joke for the middle-aged marathon runner.
So what is a safe level of exercise as we start to age? The good news is, those of us that enjoy running and staying healthy can still do so – just so long as we’re not running more than around 20 miles per week, and don’t exercise for more than around an hour at a time. People who take exercise are still likely to live longer than those who don’t, as long as they listen to how their body is changing as they age.
Better still, visit a private hospital in Chelsea to have a full health check every few years, especially if you start to notice aches and pains that weren’t there before, or want advice on how to adjust your exercise regime to meet your personal needs as you get older. As with so many other things in life, moderation is key.
Do you have regular health checks?!