This article https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2020/04/30/coronavirus-dont-exercise-too-much-during-quarantine-heres-why/3048034001/ is a classic example of why you shouldn’t take the media’s advice to heart especially when it comes to exercise and health. While there are things that I agree with there are more things that are contradictive, blanketed and simply inaccurate. Let’s dissect this really quickly.
We will start with the positives.
Research does show that even a five-minute walk/run or a few minutes of strength training can prove beneficial for your cardiovascular system. (actually, many experience immune benefits within seconds of exercise).
I agree listen to your body and if you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain or fainting seek medical attention. (however it is not necessarily due to overtraining or intense exercise it could be due to many things)
Yes, studies aren’t available for covid-19 (regarding exercises affect), and yes other viruses are much less likely to affect humans who exercise regularly.
Yes, when you are infected (key words “when you are infected”) intense exercise should be avoided. (outside of that you are fine if you know what you are doing)
Now more than ever physical activity is more important for our immune function and to combat psychological stressors. Because exercise is our best medicine to do so.
Onto the disagreements.
Benefits do not top out at 300 minutes per week. Various studies including the ones listed below show the sweet spot at around 450 minutes per week. Also benefits do increase with more exercise (within reason).
As far as the quoted “symptoms of overtraining” Here are a few examples of what else it could be. Keep in mind that when engaging not only in exercise but in many things in life these are potential symptoms. These symptoms listed below are often manageable by means outside of minimizing your training routines. You will notice that imbalanced nutrition surfaces as a possible cause quite a bit (this is to get you thinking about what you are “working in”).
- Loss of appetite – imbalanced nutrition
- Headache – shortened levator
- Muscle soreness and tenderness – LOL while you don’t want dead tissue, torn tissue and soreness to certain degrees is fine normally not lasting more than 2 days (however timeframes vary on a case per case basis)
- Fatigue (not during, but later) – this could simply be adjusting to a new lifestyle
- Injury – poor movement patterns
- Higher pulse (10 or more beats) the day after exercising – improper nutrition
- Irritability – lack of sleep or again imbalanced nutrition
- Difficulty concentrating – lack of sleep or again imbalanced nutrition
- Reduced self-esteem – over expectations
- Weakened immune system – imbalanced nutrition
There are many more possibilities that could imbody why you would be experiencing any of these symptoms. It is good to consult a professional.
Now on the weakened immune system subject this should not be used in the form of a blanket statement. “Intense” exercise is defined per individual and while once you hit certain degrees of intensity for certain individuals the immune system does become weakened for a FEW HOURS it also can then increase post recovery (indicating a higher functioning immune system on a regular basis). Also, there are some disorders like a few AI disorders to where higher intensity exercise has a more positive immune boosting effect vs the temporary negatives in someone without. There are many factors involved here and this subject deserves more discussion or at least the awareness to leave the topic open.
Key take away, while the premise of this article was a good idea, it needed far more research to be done before being published. When thinking about beginning an exercise program consult a professional who stays up to date on their research.