With the spurt in the number of fitness centers and gyms across the country, more and more people are gaining an
increasing awareness of the importance of regular exercise. However, is
it possible to over-exercise?
The answer to this is, of course,
a yes. But then you knew that. It is important to increase the amount you
exercise, gradually. Don't push yourself too hard, only to collapse the
next day. Take it slow and easy, or you will only cause more harm than
good, defeating the purpose of exercise.
However, there's more to the story.
Women who are looking to get pregnant,
should be especially careful. Excessive athletic activity could cause a
change in the ovulation cycle, leading to irregular periods, delayed periods,
and then skipping of periods. If this happens, it means you are definitely
Unable to conceive
You may be unable to conceive until
you lighten up your workout. Even if you are not looking to get pregnant,
excessive exercise, which results in you skipping your period (amenorrhea),
leads to a severe loss in bone density, leading to osteoporosis. So if
you or someone you know has a high fitness level, and if seems to be affecting
your period, you should start taking it easy. Marathon runners especially
acquire exercised induced amenorrhea.
It is thus important that you take
small breaks from strenuous athletic activity.
too hard, too soon
It is very important to exercise
regularly, but don't push yourself endlessly. If you jog, it could be tempting
to increase your distance by just a little bit every time. Do this, and
before you know it, you will be jogging six hours a week, if not more,
which may be a little excessive. If you have been exercising since childhood,
if your current level of fitness is relatively high, and if you have noticed
no irregularities in your period, then you can carry on exercising at your
Certain fitness experts feel that
a 'fit' woman who has not been getting her period, is healthier than a
woman who gets her period. They also state that such a woman can conceive
even if her period has stopped, because despite exercise-induced amenorrhea,
she is still ovulating. However, because of her high exercise level, the
blood does not flow out of the body, but is absorbed back into the bloodstream.
Medical experts however seem to disagree
with this opinion. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which
could suppress the ovaries if produced in excess. The more rapidly you
increase your exercise level, the less you eat, the greater the likelihood
that your menstrual cycle would be affected.
increase in food intake
Opinion is divided on whether increased
fitness levels, low weight or low body fat lead to amenorrhea. Researchers
also concluded that it would be extremely irresponsible, not to mention
dangerous, to state that exercise itself causes amenorrhea. The need of
the hour was to find out what it is about exercise that causes amenorrhea,
and this has been identified as a dangerously low fat level. The fact is
that many women who exercise strenuously, also restrict their calorie intake.
An increase in fitness without a
corresponding dietary increase contributes largely to decreased menstrual
flow. And if women go for more than 6 months without a period, they lose
Athletic amenorrhea is thankfully
reversible if women increase their food intake and reduce their physical
activity for a short duration.
So now you have it: if you have plenty
of fat to burn, go ahead and work out strenuously. But if not, and if you
are exercising just to be fit and more toned, then you need to increase
your caloric intake along with increasing your exercise level.
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- The Indiaparenting Team