Can Vigorous Exercise Actually Be Unhealthy?


A recent study suggests that adhering to a rigorous daily exercise routine may paradoxically lead to decreased overall physical activity, potentially making individuals lazier. 

This finding challenges the conventional wisdom of “win the morning, win the day.” The research, featured in the journal Current Nutrition Reports, reveals that strenuous workouts, while beneficial for fitness objectives, could result in diminished energy levels throughout the day. The author of the study Julie Marvel Mansfeldt from the University of Copenhagen spoke to Fox New Digital ​​“If people are seeking weight loss, they should be aware of their non-exercise physical activity, such as walking the dog, riding a bike to work or standing at the desk at work.” 

“If these activities are suddenly stopped, the total daily energy expenditure is less than expected, and thus the weight loss will be less than expected.”

For those who have experienced the post-workout cloud of exhaustion and the irresistible pull of the couch upon returning home, this study may resonate. Although occasional lazy days are perfectly acceptable, if your daily routine consists of intense morning workouts followed by sedentary activities, it could have substantial health implications.

It’s essential to clarify that this study does not brand exercise as detrimental to health. Instead, it emphasises the potential domino effect of rigorous structured exercise on overall daily physical activity. The study author, Julie Marvel Mansfeldt, underscores the significance of non-exercise physical activities such as walking, cycling to work, or standing at a desk during work hours. Abruptly halting these activities can reduce total daily energy expenditure, potentially leading to less-than-anticipated weight loss for those seeking it.

The study synthesises findings from 24 existing studies examining the impact of structured physical activity on daily movement. Notably, it concludes that individuals engaged in intense, structured exercise routines, such as long-distance running or HIIT classes, tend to spend more time in a sedentary state for the remainder of the day. Despite perceiving their lifestyles as healthier, these individuals collectively reported 22% less weight loss than expected from their exercise regimen.

For those aiming for weight loss, the study suggests that depleting all energy in the morning may hinder progress. Experts recommend striking a balance by remaining active even during periods of rest, underscoring the importance of a well-rounded approach to physical activity.