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White Men Who Exercise Too Much At Higher Risk Of Death According To Study

DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) - Exercise is recommended for your health but could too much of a good thing have the opposite effect?

It turns out, says WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites, that too much exercise might kill you -- especially if you're a white male.

White men who exercise at high levels, around seven and a half hours a week, are about 90 percent more likely to have a buildup of plaque in their heart arteries by middle age than those who exercise at low levels, less than two and a half hours a week according to a study from the University of Illinois.

One reason may be that high levels of exercise over time can cause stress on the arteries.

Cardiologist Dr. Joel Khan says there is a counterbalance to consider.

"There is a stress reaction to long distance and long duration exercise -- your cortisol is up for a long time," says Khan. "It may be wise to build in daily stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga -- seven, eight hours of sleep."

This study involved more than 3,000 men and women of different races that were followed for 25 years. Questionnaires on diet and exercise were part of the ongoing study -- which also included heart scans to look at calcium build-up in the heart's arteries.

This doesn't get you off the hook from working out though -- because there are many health benefits to physical exercise but it's important to consider incorporating stress reducing programs too.

You also want to follow a healthy diet.

Dr. Khan recommends that everyone over age 45, especially if you exercise a lot; run marathons, do triathlons, to get a heart scan.

The test runs around a hundred dollars.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.


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