Is There Such a Thing as “Too Much Exercise”?
Jim Pavlik, Program & Policy Analyst
In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services released guidelines concerning minimum threshold amounts of physical activity needed to remain in good health. The guide focused on minimums, because at the time, there were no known caps. Simply put, the more you exercised, the more your health improved (barring injury). Or so it was thought.
I ran my first marathon in 2011. In that year, there were a record-breaking 518,000 marathon finishes, and my wife and I were two of them. Compare that to 1976 when there were only 25,000 finishes. Over the years, the median finish time has crept up (from 3:32:17 for men in 1980 to 4:19:27 today) as has the median age (~33 in 1980, 38 today). In 2014, 3,326 men and women over 60 years old completed the Honolulu Marathon. Numbers for triathlons are similar.