Study Warns That Too Much Exercise May Be Harmful

April 16, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. abnormality / ˌæb nɔr ˈmæl ɪ ti / (n.) – something that is unusual or out of the ordinary
Example: The test showed abnormalities in the woman’s pregnancy. 

2. engage in / ɛnˈgeɪdʒ ɪn / (phrasal v.) – to take part in something
Example: She likes engaging in sports.

3. elite / ɪˈlit / (adj.) – the best among a group
ExampleElite athletes are known for their various achievements.

4. extreme / ɪkˈstrim / (adj.) – very high degree of something
ExampleExtreme exercise may cause fatigue.

5. rhythm / ˈrɪð əm / (n.) – a pattern of sound or movement that repeats regularly
Example: An irregular heart rhythm could be a symptom of a health problem.


Read the text below.
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology highlighted the concern that too much high-intensity physical activities might do more harm than good.

The research reviewed data from previous studies about the connection between high-intensity sports and exercises and the increased risk of developing heart abnormalities. It looked specifically at people who engage in such activities for extended periods of time, such as elite athletes and marathon runners.

According to the study’s main author Dr. André La Gerche, there is more evidence that engaging in too much high-intensity activities may cause permanent changes in the heart’s size.

When a person regularly exercises for at least three hours a week, the heart increases in size to enable it to pump more blood. Typically, after not exercising for some time, the heart size   would return to normal. However, for people who engage in exercise of extreme duration and intensity, the heart may no longer return to its original size. These changes may cause irregularities in the heart’s rhythm, which may increase the risk of certain conditions, such as stroke and heart failure.

The study’s author believes that as the amount of exercise increases, its benefits decrease. However, he emphasized that more research about people who do intense exercises must be   conducted to verify this relationship, as the current data focused only on the benefits of doing normal amounts of exercise.

Currently, it is not yet clear how much exercise is considered extreme, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of regular moderate exercise weekly to help maintain good health.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, why do some people engage in extreme levels of exercise?
·         How can the study’s findings affect people’s level of physical activity?

Discussion B

·         What are the factors that may prevent people from exercising?
·         How would you help promote an active lifestyle to people who don’t exercise enough?

April 16, 2016