by: Denise Goode, MS, RN, NASM-PES
It would be difficult to argue the benefits of cardiovascular exercise as it pertains to one’s overall health. The benefits of aerobic exercise have been well documented in the literature. These benefits include: A reduction in bodyweight (Williams 2004) (Pederson & Saltin 2006), improved cardiovascular risk factors (Milani & Lavie, 2007) (Pederson & Saltin 2006) (Ring-Dimitriou et al. 2007), improved glucose control in Type II diabetics (Praet et al. 2008) (Swartz et al. 2007) (Pederson & Saltin 2006) as well as improving quality of life in older adults (Vogel et al. 2009). The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day at least five days per week. Many endurance athletes exceed these recommendations, while other sedentary and unconditioned individuals strive to meet the recommendation. There are few recommendations in the literature for specific volumes of exercise that if exceeded, are unhealthy to the average or trained individual. There are however, many side effects or conditioning responses that indicate an excessive exercise load. These effects and responses can affect the athlete by inducing an Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), which can cause decreases in performance, injuries, fatigue and even illness.
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