Can Exercise harm you?


 Can Exercise harm you?

One of the biggest myths is that you should be super healthy and eat nothing but spinach for breakfast to stay alive. The truth is, no matter what your diet looks like or how many cardio workouts you complete, if you don't give your body a sufficient amount of exercise it'll begin to shut down. But not all exercise is created equal — some types do more harm than good.
What happens when you exercise: Anaerobic exercises release energy from stored fat. This causes the body to burn calories rapidly. When you are involved in highly intense exercise, your heart beats faster and more blood is pumped through your veins. Your lungs fill with oxygen and waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, are carried away. Until recently, a large portion of people believed that muscle tissue can't be broken down for fuel unless it's damaged by weight-lifting or other forms of physical activity. However, since then scientists have discovered that fat can also be broken down by intense exercise, although it requires a different process.[1]
Why it matters: Without enough exercise in a person's life their body will shut down. It's a survival mechanism to prevent the body from using itself as a source of energy. However, if you don't work out at all, your body has no other choice.
If you are in a severely weakened state, it may be too late for you to become healthy and live long enough to be an astronaut and explore Mars. If that's the case, then this article isn't for you. You should probably stop reading now because some of the information below may save your life (and others).
There's an urban myth that's been circulating the fitness and health community for decades. It goes something like this: "If you don't work out regularly, your body will begin to eat itself."
It's been around so long that people have tried it and seen results. But since no one can really explain how it works, everyone treats it like a placebo and moves on with their lives.
The truth of the matter is that your body can break down muscle tissue into amino acids — the building block of protein — if there are no calories (energy) in your system. The liver will then break down these amino acids to produce glucose (sugar), which can be used as energy by the cells, muscles or brain.
This process is known as gluconeogenesis and it's something that all animals do to survive. However, the human body does not readily utilize it and should be avoided for as long as you can. If sustained for months or longer, a person's body will begin to consume their muscles and other internal organs until there are no more available options.
For this reason, people have been referring to this as "eating yourself alive." Although what they're saying is true, it's a bit misleading because the process isn't going to eat your entire body — just the muscle tissue. So, if you're eating a lot of protein and not burning the extra calories, your body will eventually cannibalize your own muscles.
If this happens to you, you'll notice it because around the third week of starvation your body stops building muscle tissue. At that point it's just breaking down what you already have and consuming it for energy — because it must — so that it can keep on breathing.
Why muscle first: Like I said above, this is a survival mechanism that isn't used very often in a person's lifetime unless they are starving themselves or suffering from an extremely rare disease.
If your body doesn't have enough energy to maintain muscle tissue, it will begin to break down proteins instead. That's because muscle tissue is very expensive to maintain. It requires a lot of energy, which means fewer calories are available for other tasks and organs. So the body will shut down the least important organ or system (i.e. the brain) in order to keep on breathing and using other muscles for movement.
Before you become too concerned, let me reiterate that this is extremely rare — I've only ever seen it occur in people with anorexia nervosa or those who purposefully starve themselves for religious reasons (Christian anorexics [2] ).
Other than that, it's extremely unlikely to happen. If you're not losing muscle tissues or suffering from another disease, then you shouldn't be worried about it. You should instead be focusing on how to safely maximize your calorie intake in order to combat the effects of aging.
How to survive: Once again, if you aren't losing muscle tissue then this shouldn't effect your life at all. Unless that's the case for you and can't exercise at all — no matter how hard I push them — then this article isn't for you either.
Remember that a person's body will metabolize muscle even if they're not exercising. You need to burn off more calories than you gain in order for your body to remain healthy. It will also begin to break down muscle tissue if you don't maintain the proper amount of activity.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do besides exercising that will allow your body to continuously intake energy from food, even when you're not eating. I've described a few below that fit into these categories, but there are many other ways.
I regularly receive emails from readers who are extremely active and exercise hard nearly every day and still aren't losing muscle tissue. If this sounds like you, then you're probably getting too much exercise in the form of high-intensity or long cardio workouts.
Instead, find something that you enjoy doing and can do every day. For example, I'll be doing a lot of swimming in a few weeks and this will be my primary form of exercise (when I'm not cycling or playing ultimate frisbee).
Some people go as far as saying that muscle isn't necessary to live in the 21 st century. However, they are ignoring the fact that you need muscle to walk around. If you don't have enough muscle tissue, then your body will quickly break down other body parts for energy because it's extremely efficient at finding food sources when there aren't enough calories coming in.


If you're not exercising and aren't losing muscle tissue, then you're probably eating too much protein and not burning the calories. If this is your situation, then you most likely have a sedentary lifestyle — which is why you can't exercise. Unfortunately, if this is the case for you it's very difficult to change unless you make drastic changes to your diet. But since I've written so much about eating healthy already, I'm sure that I can't be the only one to have been hit with this dilemma.
Don't sweat it if it isn't happening right now — just focus on other ways that will allow your body to become healthier in the future.

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