Last week I touched on postural and joint problems derived from steady state cardio. Where the mechanical issues of steady state cardio do pose problems, it’s not the only thing. Cardiovascular exercise targets the heart, so the more the better right? Well, no. With all things, a balance is needed. Multiple studies have been done and links have been made between excessive cardio and heart damage. Where it is good to get your heart rate up for short amounts of time, the heart was not designed to pump high volumes of blood for extended periods of time, day after day, year after year. Not only can it create scarring of the heart tissue, but also causes other stress related symptoms such as inflammation of internal organs and build up of plaque in the arteries.
Hormones regulate stress in your body. These hormones play a huge role in your bodies ability to burn fat and build muscle. When the body is excessively stressed, ie. extended periods of cardio, your body will quit producing certain thyroid hormones that are required for metabolic balance. This can cause your body to hold on to more fat the harder you work to lose it. Along with that, as your body is holding on to fat, the raised cortisol levels due to stress on your body are causing a loss of muscle mass. So do yourself a favor and listen to your body. If you’re constantly stressing it, it can never recover.
So now that you’re officially terrified to go enjoy your workout, I’m sure you’re wondering what other things you CAN do to promote a healthy heart. Well, check back tomorrow for my post on the basics and benefits of high intensity interval training to supplement your strength training program.