Is there such a thing as too much cardio?

Yes, you can do too much cardio if your goal, fitness level, and/or athletic ability is not taken into consideration. Here are recommended guidelines that you can follow to avoid overtraining and/or reaching a plateau: If you like to do cardio almost everyday of the week, try doing 30 minutes at a moderate intensity or steady pace. If you are looking at doing cardio between 3-5 days a week, try 20-60 minutes at an intensity that is challenging but can be completed safely and effectively (typically 60-85% of maximum heart rate). This information may vary depending on your fitness level but can be used as a guideline to minimize injuries, reaching a plateau and/or overtraining.

Yes, you CAN do too much cardio!  Anytime you do too much exercise in general, you will develop the side effects of overtraining and ultimately start seeing negative results.

There is a fine line and everyone is different. I would recommend variety in your Training Program. For example, you may want to follow a high intensity cardio session with a moderate cardio session the following day and not always do the same workout day after day. The body does need to recover! There are many factors to consider but the ultimate answer to this question is YES!
Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali, CPT,NASM Elite Trainer
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Yes. Just as one can take too much medicine, one can engage in cardiorespiratory activites that are simply the wrong dosage for their specific goals.

According to the second editiion of "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, "markers of overtaining syndrome for aerobic endurance athletes" include:
  • Decreased performance
  • Decreased percentage of body fat
  • Decreased maximal oxygen uptate
  • Altered blood pressure
  • Increased muscle soreness
  • Decreased muscle glycogen
  • Alterted resting heart rate
  • Increased submaximal exercise heart rate
  • Decreased lactate
  • increased creatine kinase
  • Altered cortisol concentration
  • Decreased total testosterone concentration
  • Decreased ration of free testosterone to cortisol
  • Decreased ration fo total testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin
  • Decreased sympathetic tone (decreased nocturnal and resting catecholamines)
  • Increased sympathetic stress response
Yes there is, though people doing too much cardio does not happen as often as people not doing enough cardio.

Make sure when you embark upon a cardio respiratory fitness program that you engage in activities that are within your capabilities, with the appropriate intensity, for the appropriate length of time. If you are confused as to how much cardio you should be doing contact one of our Sharecare coaches to set up a program for you. Otherwise, I suggest you employ the F.I.T.T.E. principle into you cardio regime.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine uses an acronym called “F.I.T.T.E.” that you can use as a guideline for your cardio respiratory training. F.I.T.T.E. for general health can be summarized briefly as:
Frequency: 5-7 days per week
Intensity: moderate enough to challenge heart and respiratory rates
Time: 20-60 minutes total per day…you can benefit from 10 minute bouts that total 20-60 minutes
Type- whatever you enjoy, challenges you, and is safely within your capabilities
Enjoyment: you have to like what you do if you are gonna stick with it…
Yes, doing too much cardio too soon can cause you to injure yourself and overtrain. If you injure yourself and overtrain, this can prevent you from reaching your goal. You need to determine your goal and then plan accordingly.  If you are unsure how much cardio you need to perform based on your fitness level, consult a fitness professional so they can do a cardio assessment to determine where your fitness level is at. Once they get this information, they can create a cardio program that is safe and progressive so you can reach your goal in a safe manner.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.