Intense Exercise Is Not So Good For You; What Does That Say About Treadmill Desks?

I just came across this article that is describing extreme exercise as almost as bad for you as not exercising at all (or worse!). After reading this, I wanted to explore how this may relate to using a treadmill desk for an extended period of time. I tracked down the actual research article (oddly enough, the “lay man” article didn’t provide a reference, so I had to track it down.)

Part 1: Potential Dangers of Extreme Endurance Exercise: How Much Is Too Much? Part 2: Screening of School-Age Athletes, January–February 2015, Pages 396–405

The take home message from the research article is summed up in this figure:

Full-size image (35 K)

Basically, it says that light and moderate jogging is good for you (lower hazard ratio) and that strenuous jogging is basically bad for you and is much worse than not doing anything. The paper also says that “maximal benefits” of exercise was when you are “walking 35 to 45 miles per week” (or running 20 to 30 miles). That’s walking about 5.7 miles a day. At the approximately “optimal” 1.6 miles per hour walking pace, that’s between 3-4 hours of treadmill desk usage each day to have the best cardiovascular health. That’s actually pretty awesome, considering that’s “optimal”. Like… you could exercise more, but it would actually hurt your cardiovascular health. That’s something to think about huh? Then again, what are the confounding factors? This is only cardiovascular health and doesn’t measure other diseases that can be reduced or prevented with additional exercise (like cancer, Alzheimers, dementia, etc…). Additionally, there may be other habits that “extreme” exercisers do, like maybe they feel like they can eat worse because they exercise a lot. Perhaps they exercise a lot because they want to be able to eat more, and perhaps excess calories, like the opposite of caloric restriction, has effects that this study hasn’t looked at.




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