A Month of Happiness Fit & Fabulous 2017

When exercise can be harmful to our health & well-being

May 24, 2017
When exercise can be harmful to our health & well-being



When you read this post you aren’t going to believe that I am actually writing that exercise can be harmful!

However, I was reading an article recently 10 Unexpected Stressors that are wrecking your health and was surprised when I came to #5 – Exercise.

To me, exercise is a great stress reliever NOT a stressor but when I read the paragraph I could totally see how exercise could be harmful to our health.


As someone who really tries to push myself I can see the benefit of taking it easy and not pushing my almost 60 year old body quite as much.

We need to listen to our bodies because they really do speak to us.

Pushing our bodies to the limit can not only cause injury but over-exercising can fatigue us and affect our immune system and increase inflammation in joints.

I love to run and recently completed a 35km run.  Training for long distance runs can take their toll, so making sure that I include rest days plus stretching and yoga is vital to avoid injury and fatigue.

As we age, we also need to find the right balance between regular exercise which should include cardio workouts and strength training and recognising when our body needs to rest and recover.

In my post, Why we need a recovery day I discuss the need for a recovery day to refresh your body, your mind and your soul.  That means recovery physically for your body, taking a mental health day for your mental health and wellbeing and spending time alone to reflect.

Recovery is vital for maintaining good health and is just as important as a workout. 

Recovery days don’t necessarily mean no exercise unless you really need a rest day.  But they should be the days that perhaps you just do some gently stretching or a short yoga practice or even just a relaxed walk.

If you aren’t sure what to do on a recovery day I have some suggestions in my post, Why it is important to have fitness recovery days.

The bottom line is that WE DO NEED TO MAKE REGULAR ACTIVITY A PART OF LIFE and that means 3 – 4 times per week BUT we don’t need to train for the Olympics!  A brisk walk will certainly keep you fit.

How do you keep fit and healthy?

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

When exercise can be harmful to our health & well-being

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

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  • Reply Donna May 24, 2017 at 11:44

    This is an excellent reminder that often goes unmentioned. Thanks for sharing this, Sue. Great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:44

      Thanks Donna it is important to remind ourselves to stay safe and well when exercising. X

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski May 24, 2017 at 19:22

    Sue – I took about 6 months off from Crossfit for some health reasons. And now that I’m back, I’ve had to totally revamp my approach. I like to exercise hard. I want to keep up with everyone. But at 58, that is just not realistic. I can do the workouts, with less weight and less reps and I need to be happy with that and listen to my body. I do this so that I DON’T get hurt and can continue exercising.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:43

      I’m like you Cathy and tend to push myself. However, you are so right when you say you listen to your body. Great job getting back to CrossFit. Xx

  • Reply Michele May 25, 2017 at 02:02

    I agree! As I recover from adrenal fatigue I am learning to pace myself and cut myself from slack!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:41

      Listening to our bodies is so important Michele. I hope you feel better soon. Have a great week.

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski May 25, 2017 at 04:33

    I love to exercise but notice it’s so much easier to hurt myself if I’m not careful. I don’t bounce back as easily as when I was younger so tend to stick to safer exercise as opposed to jogging or jumping.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:37

      I know what you mean Rebecca it is all about listening to our bodies and remembering we aren’t 20 anymore!

  • Reply Laurie Stone May 25, 2017 at 07:57

    Sue, I did Zumba three days a week for a year and ended up gaining weight! I think it drove up my appetite. Exercising can be tricky, at least for me. I find walking my dog Libby turns out to be the best of all!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:36

      I think the key is to find what works for you Laurie. As long as you are getting exercise which you enjoy that is the main thing. Walking is great.

  • Reply Leanne | crestingthehill May 25, 2017 at 12:00

    I’ve yet to find a high impact exercise that interests me – they all seem to cause me more discomfort than relieving stress. I’m with Laurie about going for a walk – it just soothes my soul and improves my health at the same time.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2017 at 15:35

      It’s all about what works for the individual Leanne. Walking is great because you get time to think, enjoy your surroundings and keep fit at the same time.

  • Reply Charlotte June 4, 2017 at 00:05

    it is definitely important to find that balance and I know when I first started out I completely forgot about recovery days and tried to push myself too hard! That being said, we do need a challenge! This is definitely something it took me a while to work on

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 5, 2017 at 09:29

      I know I push too hard Charlotte and I’m finally taking my own advice. You think if you have a rest day you are cheating but actually you are helping your body.

  • Reply Kristin Alicia July 25, 2018 at 06:44

    Have you every seen those 30-day challenges that makes the rounds on social media? A few years back I tried to do a 30-day planking challenge, with the idea being that each day one held the plank for a longer period of time. Well, I guess I forgot that my body was not in the shape it was in years past. I ended up hurting my back by holding a post too long! I ended up at the doctor and was not able to exercise (or do much else) for a few weeks. So yes, I learned my lesson about needing to respect my body’s pace and limits!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 25, 2018 at 06:51

      Hi Kristin, yes I used to do those but I haven’t seen them for a while. It is easy to get carried away isn’t it and then our bodies remind us that we have overdone it. I workout regularly but these days I’m being ‘kinder’ to myself. Have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by to comment. xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes July 25, 2018 at 07:18

    I really needed to hear this today. I actually have no problem working a recovery day in each week. Fridays are my day off from exercise. What I need to think about is listening to my body in terms of how hard to push. Yesterday, in my fitness class, we were doing a plank to a side plank. My right arm felt a little shaky. I ignored it, and it suddenly gave out on me, and I fell on my elbow. Now I wasn’t hurt (except maybe my pride a little), but if I had paid attention, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 25, 2018 at 09:47

      Hi Christie, I’ve been training for a marathon and found that my body really needs time to recover after the long runs. I’m feeling great but also realise that I need to take some down time and not feel guilty. You sound like me, always wanting to give that extra 10%. Hope your arm is okay and take care , my friend. xx

  • Reply Mary Lou July 25, 2018 at 07:56

    This has helped me to ease up on my expectations for exercise. I just gave up a very costly fitness club where I was walking a mile around the track at least 3 times a week. I’m hoping that my exercise bike will fill in now that I’m not getting in the car and going to the club. I hope so! #MLSTL Sharing on social media Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 25, 2018 at 09:51

      We can really be too hard on ourselves, Mary Lou and I know I push myself too much sometimes. Lately, I’ve accepted that I need to listen to my body and although I still enjoy working out and running I do need more recovery days than before. I’m not a gym person either so I’m sure you will appreciate the time saved travelling to and from the gym. Good luck with the exercise bike! x

  • Reply Lori Jo July 25, 2018 at 08:24

    I do need to be less strenuous with workouts these days. I usually try to do light yoga every day and 3-5 pound weights every other day. I really enjoy walking, 3-5 miles, but use the Leslie Sansone DVDs right now since it is so blazing hot here in Georgia right now. Outside is best, but inside with a/c is divine. I like to do her 4-mile challenge walk that has some knee lifts, kicks, arms, etc. I have tried gyms but just do not enjoy it like the privacy of my home. I just think about all of those sweaty bodies and breath being exhaled around me on the treadmills and in classes, I guess that makes me a germ freak, ha!
    Enjoyed the informative post!

    Lori Jo – 50 With Flair

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 25, 2018 at 09:52

      I’m not really a gym fan Lori Jo and I have a couple of workouts online that I use as well as my Yoga Studio App. I can relate to hot summers, living in Queensland, so working out in the aircond is more enjoyable. To me though I do love walking or running by the river which runs through our city. x

  • Reply Natalie July 25, 2018 at 10:35

    Hi Sue, I agree with you about paying attention to our health and safety, building in rest & recovery day, and listen to our body. I alternate my gym workouts, yoga, and 5K run so a different activity every day. Saturday is my day off this season. I also walk every day as part of my car-free lifestyle. I’m not a gym fan but I do look at my gym as a place that has dedicated space and equipment for workouts. I live in a cold climate and it can get very hot and humid in the summer, so an indoor gym with heating or air-con is very useful.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:25

      Hi Natalie, over the last year, I have definitely been listening more to my body and realising that it isn’t a cop out if I take an extra rest day here or there. I’m not a gym person either but yes I can see the benefits when the weather isn’t being kind. Have a great week, Natalie! xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones July 25, 2018 at 12:18

    This is a great message and reminder Sue. We need to listen to our bodies as we age. About one year ago I decided that I would be doing no more running. I thought that decision would upset me but it was the right one to make. I still exercise most days but at a lower intensity than in previous years. I think that’s ok as I want to beable to keep exercising into my retirement Shared on SM #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:48

      Hi Jen, I’ve definitely cut back a notch in the intensity with my work outs. When I had my PT she pushed me hard and I loving a challenge as I do, I went with it. Since I’ve been working out on my own, I still put in the effort but don’t overdo it. I no longer have lower back pain issues and am back to running long distances with no problems. It is all about listening to our bodies and not feeling like we are copping out. Have a great week xx

  • Reply Patrick Weseman July 25, 2018 at 13:29

    So very true. I am a big walker. I am always getting my steps in everyday. That is how I do it. Thanks for the great advice. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:46

      Walking is great Patrick and you always find interesting things to look at along the way. Have a great week!

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au July 25, 2018 at 17:15

    I think my entire exercise routine would be lucky to match your rest day routine Sue! I think “relaxed walk” is my middle name when it comes to finding something to do other than sitting in a chair 🙂 It’s nice to see you giving a really balanced overview that acknowledges that our bodies need to be treated kindly if we want them to continue to perform as we get older.
    Off to another great #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:41

      Leanne, my ‘rest days’ are rest days and I don’t do anything which is a treat. In the past I would have pushed myself way past my limit but these days I’m more aware of my body and I listen when it says to slow down. We need to be active but we also need to recover. Thanks for sharing and yes another great start to #MLSTL. Have a lovely day, my friend. xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan July 25, 2018 at 18:43

    Really so good to be reminded. I have been endeavouring to walk more and get up to 6K steps. Keeping in mind my right leg has had major surgery to make my mouth and that even before cancer I was needing orthotics and good brand sneakers. Yesterday was a case in point of “what not to do”. I went to my first social/meet up event for Head and Neck cancer patients and awareness raising. I did look nice (!) but the flat lace up shoes were light-weight and the amount of walking up and down a very steep hill to access the cancer centre paid me back with pain. Today, as a result, I found a physio and she helped stretch out the affect parts of my back and leg. I am 68. Sometimes I need a lesson in limitations. I am paying more attention now. Denyse #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:40

      Firstly, it is lovely to read that you thought you looked nice, Denyse. Love it! I’m pleased to hear to went to a physio as sometimes we just need that professional help. I’ve learned to be kinder to myself although I do struggle finding my limit. Keep up the good work with the walking because it not only helps your body but also your mind. Have a beautiful week, Denyse. xx

  • Reply cherie July 25, 2018 at 19:51

    A healthy balance for everything is so important in life!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:35

      Exactly, Cherie it just took me a little longer to realise that. Have a great week! xx

  • Reply Jo July 25, 2018 at 21:32

    A timely post for me, as I tend to do too much and pay the price, and then I don’t do anything. Now I’m 60 I have to learn everything in moderation.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:32

      I’ve only learned to take it back a notch over the last year, Jo and have found that my body is loving me for it. We need to listen and enjoy keeping fit rather than pushing ourselves to the point of injury. xx

  • Reply Victoria July 25, 2018 at 23:43

    I have known women who continued to exercise even though every part of their bodies begged for a rest. Wrapped knees and wrists because they had been strained by too much running or lifting. Exercise can be just as addictive as a drug sometimes. A great reminder Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:31

      Hi Victoria, I was probably heading down that path and then came to my senses. I hear what you are saying about exercise being addictive – it is. I know if I haven’t run or exercised for a few days I do start getting irritable. It is all a matter of balance though and I’m feeling much better now that I’m listening more to my body. xx

  • Reply Michele July 26, 2018 at 00:46

    I don’t usually love exercise, so I have no problem giving myself a day off, LOL! I do like to swim and I do feel better when I keep it in my life, but I am often exhausted after swimming and know that the next few hours will be worthless for me. I wish I could feel the endorphins everyone talks about, but I think my damaged adrenyl system has killed them off!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:30

      Swimming is great for our bodies, Michele although I’m not a strong swimmer. I’m sorry to hear though that after a swim you feel exhausted. Even so, a short walk is always a good option. Take care and enjoy xx

  • Reply agnesknowles July 26, 2018 at 03:11

    A recent knee injury has slowed me down considerably. While I wait for it to heal, I decided to visit my favourite sports medicine physio. I already feel I’m healing faster, and he’s given me exercises I can do safely and effectively. Bottom line perhaps – Consult a professional! Great post, Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 07:28

      Yes I agree Agnes. Consulting a professional is something I didn’t do until last year. I had experienced back pain for a number of years and really just pushed through. I went to an Osteopath last year and she did wonders with my back. I am now 99.9% pain free, back to running with no problem and feeling so much better. I’m pleased to hear you are healing well and have some safe exercises to slowly get back to full strength. Take care. xx

  • Reply Molly July 26, 2018 at 11:07

    How ironic that I read the post the day after I posted about my poor relationship with exercise 🙂 I know what you write is sage advice (and I will Pin to #MLSTL board for future reference) … but at this point in my life, I’m simply trying to get out the door for a walk. I loved your comment to my post, however, and I’m going to put it to action. I refuse to use the word exercise and instead will replace it with the word movement 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2018 at 12:43

      Hi Molly, it is ironic but we both needed messages from each other I think. I’m glad you aren’t putting pressure on yourself. Sometimes even if you tell yourself you are only going for a 10 minutes walk it can be enough to get you out of the door. If you feel like going longer then great, if not, then at least you have had 10 minutes more than if you didn’t go. Have a great week! 🙂

  • Reply Jan Wild July 26, 2018 at 14:38

    Perfect timing for me as we have substantially upped our exercise over the last couple of weeks but on Monday I just couldn’t face my 5km walk so stayed in bed instead. I felt much better for it on the Tuesday and am now back into my routine, but I definitely needed the break. Taking a break but not giving up entirely is always the challenge isn’t it 😉 Sharing this

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