The general consensus among doctors and other other fitness experts we spoke to is that exercising is a personal matter even across the spectrum of healthy individuals; the degree of physical exercise a body can take differs from person to person. Of course the criteria are different for people with comorbidities. Read on for details and what the WHO has to say.
A new study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation revealed that exercising more than recommended can reduce the risk of early death. However, it is still being debated among experts whether one should push limits while exercising.
The study said, "The nearly maximum association with lower mortality was achieved by performing approximately 150 to 300 min/weak of long-term leisure-time VPA (vigorous physical activity), 300 to 600 min/weak of long-term leisure-time MPA (moderate physical activity), or an equivalent combination of both."
Meanwhile, experts believe that the recommendation for exercise differs from person to person. Dr Prateek Parashar, a general practitioner, said, "A healthy individual can push things a little further... As soon as you feel that you are getting too tired, then just stop there. You should not blow off your energy."
He, however, said it is different for people with co-morbidities. "It depends upon the patient's profile — what co-morbidities the person is suffering from, what is his physical health like, how much strain he or she can bear. These factors are different for different people," he said.
He added, "Diabetes patients are advised moderate exercise (30 minutes). There are patients who go on for an hour, but this has implications as well."
Speaking about sudden deaths, Dr Parashar said, "Cardio-vascular accidents during moderate exercising or in
Meanwhile, physiotherapist Dr Ritesh Charan said, "One can push themselves while exercising. However, parameters of exercising are different for those who are healthy and those who are not."
When asked when should one stop pushing themselves while exercising, he said, "If the person is experiencing pressure on muscles, or is sweating excessively or even if someone just feels he or she is not mentally capable of pushing himself/herself, they should just stop." He said a different exercise regimen is recommended for people suffering from any co-morbidities and diseases.
Nilam Ojha, a personal gym trainer, agreed with what the doctors had to say. She explained that "a healthy person won't face any problem if he exercises more.”
"If the person is eating good and taking care of himself/herself, then there's no problem in exercising more." However, she added, "We can't calculate how much one should exercise. It differs from person to person. Just do as much as your body permits. One should keep a check on one's health from time to time."
She believes that one's body decides if a person can push the limits while. She said there's a difference between being fit and healthy. "Fit is a task-based criterion, while healthy means you don't have any disease," she said.
WHO recommendations on physical activities
The World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines and recommendations provide details for different age groups on how much physical activity is needed for good health.
For adults aged 18–64 years, the global body recommends "at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity" or "at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity," or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
For those aged 5-17 years, the WHO recommends "at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, mostly aerobic, physical activity, across the week."
"(They) should incorporate vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 days a week. (They) should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary, particularly the amount of recreational screen time," according to the WHO.