Fitness and Weight Loss How too much exercise may hurt your gut

Going too hard? Here’s how it can take a toll on your intestines.

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pain in gut play

pain in gut

(Photograph by Getty Images)
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​If you’re really putting in work at the gym, a concern that may have crossed your mind is, “How hard is going too hard?”

Overexerting yourself can hinder your efforts to build muscle, as you don’t allow your body to properly recover, but it can also be bad for your health, weakening your immune system and making you more prone to illness. (It might also negatively impact your sex life.)

According to a new study, excessive exercise may just damage your gut, too.

Researchers discovered that increasing the intensity and duration of your workout increases your risk of gut damage, according to Science Daily.

In more specific and frightening terms, overexertion can damage the cells of your intestines, causing them to leak endotoxins that are normally isolated into your bloodstream.

This can can cause chronic or acute health problems, which is probably not what you were looking for when you started to hit the gym. (Worried about the health of your stomach?

Take our gut check to see your midsection makes the grade.)

Dr. Ricardo Costa, lead author of the study, recommends full gut assessments for those who experience gut “disturbances” while exercising.

“Despite excessive exercise being confirmed to compromise gut integrity and function, we have identified several exacerbating factors which can be controlled, and several prevention and management strategies that can attenuate and abolish the damage and compromised function.”

In other words, you’re not completely screwed if you’ve overworked yourself to the point of leaky guts.

And if you’re thinking in more preventative terms, the study says 60 percent maximum volume of oxygen use (VO2Max) is the threshold for significant gut disturbances, regardless of how fit you are.

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