We've talked about oxidative damage as a mechanism that causes aging; now we can talk about a group who is really at risk: the weekend warriors. Kudos to those who are working toward bettering themselves and becoming healthier, but be sure you aren't causing more damage to yourself!
Exercise causes oxidative damage. In fact, endurance exercise causes you to use 10 to 20 times more oxygen than when you're resting. (breathing more oxygen, causing more damage). However, regular exercise helps boost up your antioxidant defenses and protect against the extra damage.
BUT those who are generally couch potatoes during the week and exercise like a maniac over the weekend (or even just more than they're used to) increases free radical damage without the benefit of increased antioxidant defenses. Because free radicals cause damage to muscles and other tissues, these people are really doing more harm than good!
So, what do we do?
Get on a regular exercise schedule. Instead of doing intense activity once or twice over a two day period, try moderate activity once or twice over a seven day period.
Don't do more than you can handle. If you're super sore and in pain the next day, it was too much.
Eat your antioxidants. We could all use a little antioxidant boost. Get a variety of colors in your diet, and your body will thank you.
Remember, free radicals age you. Is it really worth subjecting yourself to dementia, cancer, and heart disease sooner because you do too much over the weekend? Of course not! Think about your health, and spread out those workouts.