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HEALTH & FITNESS NEWS: Dangers of High Intensity Exercise

HEALTH & FITNESS NEWS: Dangers of High Intensity Exercise

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 10 April 2019



High Intensity Exercise

High-intensity interval training increases injuries, Rutgers study finds,
Rutgers University, April 9, 2019.


Interval Training
"These workouts, which combine aerobic exercising, weight lifting and calisthenics at maximum capacity, followed by periods of recovery, have been growing in popularity over the past decade, driven by the efficiency of the exercise to deliver fitness goals in less time."

"People who engage in high-intensity interval training are at greater risk for injury, especially in the knees and shoulders."

Effective but Dangerous
"...acknowledged that while this type of training is effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness, boosting energy and promoting lean muscle mass and fat loss, it also increases injury risk."

Improper Prep
"...many athletes, especially amateurs, do not have the flexibility, mobility, core strength and muscles to perform these exercises."

The Causalities
"...found 3,988,902 injuries resulting from exercise equipment, such as barbells, kettle bells and boxes, or calisthenics, such as burpees, push-ups and lunges, that are common to these programs. Most injuries involved knees, ankles and shoulders. White males aged 20 to 39 were most injured."

Increasing Injuries
"...found a steady increase of an average of 50,944 injuries per year, which rose alongside the growth in interest in the workouts as determined by the number of Google searches during the years studied. During this decade, they found a significant increase in nerve damage, internal organ injuries, concussions, puncture wounds, dislocations and strains and sprains."

Excellent Advice
"We certainly do not want to discourage people from this type of exercise because of its numerous health benefits, but recommend that they understand the pre-existing conditions and physical weaknesses that may predispose them to injury."

Training for Training
"Since knee and ankle sprains and strains were the most common injuries from high-intensity interval workouts, people should do neuromuscular training -- especially those that focus on strength, jumping and balance -- and pre-strengthening programs to improve flexibility before starting high-intensity interval exercises."


The Physical Philosophy
of the
Tahoe to Whitney High Sierra Backpacker

Time is the Key

Take your time. Work yourself gradually and carefully up to the point where intense exercise is a pleasure. This takes a lot of, "road work," being a process where you gradually build a wide and deep foundation of fundamental fitness before you push to the limits of extreme stress.

You and your body will know the differences between when it's time to rest, when it's time step it up to the next level, and when it's time to wring it all out. This brings us to the next step, which is where we are in our cycle of training and fitness.

Cycle of Training

Rest, Recovery, and the Next Step to Capacity.

Let’s start at the end. What happens when you reach your full fitness capacity? Reaching full capacity is a product of a process of engagement. I’m only fully engaged in the field, in the High Sierra, when I actually reach full, “field,” fitness. There’s no where else I can reach full fitness, but only when fully engaged in the field. That’s where all my city training is always leading to.

At my optimal level of fitness training in the city, I can move into the, “field,” (the High Sierra), and operate happily and effectively on the trail for five days at full capacity (20+ mile days, heavy pack, high altitude), before I need a day off.

Point of Degradation
If I do not take a day off at that point, my field capacity will begin to slowly degrade. I can operate this five days on, one day off cycle for 8 or 9 weeks before I am effectively drained, and need some sustained rest and recovery.

Rest, & Start Again
Then, after a couple of weeks of rest & recovery, the training cycle begins again, at a number of levels below our, “top,” city-training levels we held before our last field engagement.
This training works to begin moving us back up towards, “field fitness,’ at which time we move into the field to exercise our fitness back up to its capacity, and again begin approaching our degradation points. The key for whatever level of fitness we hold is to properly time our withdraws for rest and recovery before any serious physical, metabolic, and psychological breakdowns begin to occur.

This same rule applies during training, but especially in the field. Don't put yourself into the, "Vortex of Doom!"

Know Your Limits
Stay Within Them
Top shape is achieved, and broken, in and by field engagement. My particular capacities and performance curve, gradually defined, developed, and understood through training and in the field, defines both my actual field capacities and their limits. Each of us must know our own capacities and limits, and stay within them.

My advice is to, “know, and stay within yourself.”

The Long Trail
A gradually increasing cycle of training difficulty preps all aspects of our physical, metabolic, and mental systems to be able to eventually easily accommodate their current levels of training stress sufficiently to move up to the next levels of stress. Trying to jump from a low or no level of fitness, to your most extreme levels of performance, is just asking for muscle, metabolic, and mental troubles.

Real Magic
Turn Pain into Pleasure
Our chances of connective tissue damage increases without this restraint, along with the associated risks of overwhelming the ability of our metabolism to recover and catch up, let alone recover to store yet more energy. And finally, our inherent mental capacity for things we initially experienced as pain to readjust its, “role,” into pleasure. I love that painfully-pleasurable transition...

Head Case
Extreme training risks doing much more long term damage to our health and fitness through injury, than the health benefits it offers. One’s gotta consider the heavy toll that the physical aspects of intense pain, stress, and exhaustion put on our mind, as well as our bodies, which risks making our training a mental and physical drag, rather than a delight. A long term training program has to be mentally, as well as physically nourishing, to sustain it for the long term. It also has to push your top capacity while expanding your base fitness.

Physical Heaven
We need a program we fundamentally enjoy and physically benefit from to weave it into a long term part of our lives. A sustainable training program is sustainable because it offers as much for your mental health as your physical.

In backpacker’s terms:

Backpacker Training
The Things that Hold Us Back
Preparatory backpacking trips clarify just how important it is to get past the blisters, ass rash, joint pain, and exhaustion that hard backpacking can bring down on us. A set of well thought out preparatory trips and training allows us to work our gear, camp, and physical problems into fitness, skills, hard feet, and experiences sufficient to deal with the adverse situations that always arise.

Why We Train
Training allows access. In my case, I access the High Sierra. Other folks want to play sports, ride bikes, surf, and participate in their favorite physical activities. Fitness is the key to accessing the High Sierra and performing well for me, as it is with all the activities I mentioned, and a whole lot more I didn’t.

Training opens up the physical world for your exploration, however you do it.


The Man with a Goal and Plan to Reach it...
Intense exercise in the wilderness.
High Intensity Exercise in the Wilderness

Activate Your Superpowers


Starting again? Recovering from injury?
See the,

Tahoe to Whitney Injury Recovery Section.




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