Is Fitness Beneficial or Harmful to Health?

First, let me talk about my personal situation I am 18 meters tall and have been overweight since high school In high school, I weighed about 170 pounds, and I continued to gain weight after starting work The highest weight reached 220 pounds My family has a genetic predisposition for obesity due to our ancestors experiences with famine I have a strong ability to absorb calories, and I enjoy high-sugar and high-calorie diets As a result, fat tends to accumulate in my abdomen, and it is very difficult for me to stick to a diet without feeling hungry My father developed diabetes when he was in his 30s, so I have always been concerned about my health In 2020, during my physical examination at the age of 30, I discovered that my fasting blood sugar level was 6, my blood lipid and blood pressure were at critical levels, and my transaminase and uric acid levels were also high The doctor diagnosed me with severe fatty liver and metabolic syndrome I started controlling my diet, and although there were some improvements in my indicators, my weight loss was not significant In 2021, I started exercising because I knew it would be very difficult for someone like me, who has a genetic predisposition for obesity, to control my food intake I hired a personal trainer for this purpose The personal trainer would have a session with me every other day, doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day, and I would have a light meal at the gym in the evening At the beginning, the focus was on bodyweight training (push-ups, burpees, step-ups, skipping rope, etc), and I quickly lost 10 pounds, but then the weight loss plateaued The intensity of the workouts gradually increased, such as introducing leg exercises The aerobic exercise was gradually increased to two sessions of 50 minutes each day, one in the morning on an empty stomach, and one in the afternoon, even on days with training sessions At the beginning of the fitness journey, I felt my energy improve and felt lighter, but as the intensity increased, I started feeling fatigued every day When my weight dropped to 186 pounds, I fell seriously ill I had to take levofloxacin for five days and had a severe cough Blood tests revealed an increase in neutrophils and C-reactive protein, indicating a bacterial infection that couldnt be controlled even with five days of antibiotic treatment It took three days of intravenous fluids to improve I have never been this sick in my life before I started exercising In 2022, I reduced the intensity of my workouts, and except for a minor illness at the end of the year, my weight has been maintained at around 190 pounds, and all my indicators indicate good health Not only is my fasting blood sugar not high, but my insulin and C-peptide levels are also low This year, I had a fulfilling relationship, got married, and stopped controlling my diet and exercising (when I was single, I would spend time at the gym every day without any problem, but with a girlfriend, driving to and from work, going out to eat and have fun, it became impossible for me to squeeze in exercise) I also indulged in food without any restrictions In just six months, my weight rebounded to 220 pounds Last month, when I had my blood tested, the transaminase and uric acid levels were elevated, and there was a slight increase in low-density lipoprotein, but my blood sugar was normal However, my insulin level was at the upper end of the normal range (To put it in perspective, a normal person would require 8 units of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels, but I need 20 units It means my insulin is working overtime to maintain normal blood sugar levels When my insulin function fails, my blood sugar cannot be maintained Many people with diabetes have seemingly normal blood sugar levels for one or two years without paying attention, but once symptoms appear and they get their blood sugar tested, it is usually much higher Its because their bodies have been working overtime to maintain normal levels, and once the system can no longer cope, a breakdown occurs quickly) So, I hired a personal trainer to come to my home again, and it was the same pattern In the beginning, when the intensity was low, the weight loss was not significant, but gradually, I increased the aerobic exercise to two sessions of 50 minutes each day, and the training intensity also increased I added boxing training to the mix Additionally, my trainer suggested using a foam roller to release tension in my muscles As a result, I got the flu again, with a fever that lasted three days Im writing this question while Im still running a fever None of the people around me, including my mother and my wife, have been infected, which indicates that the virus itself is not highly contagious Its evident that my immune system has weakened to a point where even a small amount of the virus in the air can cause an infection These two experiences have shown that high-intensity exercise is harmful to the body, at least for me I didnt get this sick when I wasnt exercising And the trainer doesnt think the intensity is excessive Now, I have a few questions First, as mentioned, is exercise beneficial or harmful to health? Second, do fitness trainers worry that students will stop taking classes if they dont lose weight, so they ignore individual differences and force high-intensity training? Third, considering my current situation with a genetic predisposition for diabetes and the need to maintain this weight (Im already on my way, my metabolism is relatively normal when I weigh less than 200 pounds, and my elevated insulin levels are already nearing diabetic levels), how can I strike a balance with weight loss without disrupting the current equilibrium and risking getting sick?

Is Exercise Harmful or Beneficial to Your Health?

Let’s start by addressing the personal questions you raised:

  1. Is exercise beneficial or harmful to health?

In short, long-term strenuous exercise can place a burden on the body, especially for competitive sports, sports with clear goals such as strength training and weight loss. These activities can strain the body and potentially lead to injuries. On the other hand, low-intensity exercises are generally safe.

  1. Do fitness trainers ignore individual differences and forcefully push for high intensity because they are worried that clients will stop taking classes if they don’t lose weight?

You don’t need to ask the trainers. If you don’t see any results after taking classes, would you continue? Why continue if there are no results? Aren’t you afraid of wasting your money?

  1. Given my current situation with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, maintaining my current weight is necessary (my insulin levels are already considered pre-diabetic once I reach below 200 pounds). However, if I disrupt this balance by losing weight, I will get sick. How can I balance this?

In three words: gradual, consistent, and stable.

Gradual means extending the duration of your weight loss plan and slowing down the frequency of physical activities. I’ll tell you the reasons later.

Consistent means establishing regular habits and sustaining them over the long term.

Stable means not regaining weight after successfully losing it. When you’re being strict with your diet, try to maintain some rationality. You should be aware of your own physical condition. Your health is your own responsibility; your father, mother, or wife shouldn’t be constantly worrying about it. It will eventually become a burden to your family and affect their happiness.

If you have no control over food, even with the genetic predisposition, it’s not right.

Let’s take a look at your description.

Don’t believe in terms like “survival genes” as an excuse. Your family’s eating habits and the overall food culture are responsible for your situation. Your pursuit of the pleasure of eating food outweighs your concern for your health.

If you truly value your health, you would be selective about what you eat. There are no “survival genes” here. Where did you even find such terms from unreliable sources?

Based on the underlined parts, your physical condition is average and your stamina is relatively weak, making it difficult for you to keep up with high-intensity exercises. Consequently, your body’s resistance decreases under such intense training, which leads to illness.

The simplest external symptom is feeling tired and not being able to recover. Even in a short period of time, your resistance will surely decrease.

The reason for this is that your training plan is not reasonable and you haven’t taken proper recovery into consideration. This is your trainer’s fault.

Let’s take a look at your recent situation. The intensity has increased, but you haven’t mentioned whether you can recover from it or not.

You said you use a fascia knife to massage your muscles…

This is rather perplexing.

I guess you probably have to pay extra for using the fascia knife, right?

Your coach probably doesn’t specialize in boxing. Let me be frank, it’s normal for beginners in boxing to have stiff movements. It’s very, very normal!

Why? Because you’re all inexperienced, you haven’t practiced enough, so practice more, box more. In boxing, you need to start with slow practice before picking up the pace. Experienced individuals will understand what I mean. Your level of progress depends on your understanding and the time you invest.

What’s with the fascia knife? Does it suddenly become effective when you use it? Are you sure it’s not just a way to scam money?

Furthermore, using a fascia knife, especially if it leaves marks on your skin from excessive use, can damage the surface of your skin and greatly reduce your resistance to illness. It’s not a practice suitable for everyone, yet your coach has introduced you to it.

I don’t really agree with the use of a fascia knife as a method. It would be better to have a skilled masseur massage your entire body.

So, the reason for your current frustration is not difficult to find: your eating habits are poor, and yet you blame it on “survival genes.” Your choice of coach is also unreliable.

Now you’re feeling down and questioning whether exercise is beneficial or harmful to health.

Considering the numerous people on Zhihu who persist in exercising, there should be very few who share your feelings. You should reflect on yourself as well.

Summary of Fitness Misconceptions

There are many fitness misconceptions, and it’s easy to fall into traps.

For example, people who run every day end up having problems because of running.

Swimmers can even drown.

People who focus on muscular fitness may put too much strain on their hearts.

Therefore, there is a common lack of knowledge about fitness.

Fitness encompasses both mental and physical health.

As for mental health, current approaches both domestically and internationally are ineffective.

What we recommend is deep relaxation through meditation. Not mindfulness meditation, as it can be mentally exhausting and have many side effects, which are not beneficial for health.

When the mind and body are at peace, the body will naturally activate its optimal circulation. This is the best state for the human body.

No fitness routine can achieve this kind of comprehensive recovery.

Ancient Chinese wisdom refers to this state as stillness. It is the true source of immunity. Only deep sleep can partially restore it.

For physical training, the best method is stretching.

Yes, it’s not about muscle training, but stretching.

Ba Duan Jin, Yi Jin Jing, and Tai Chi are all exercises that stretch tendons and fascia, making them more flexible.

This is because the stretching of tendons allows muscles to become more flexible and adaptable. As we age, tendons are the most prone to hardening and tightening.

There is no corresponding method for any type of muscle training.

The fundamental aspect of stretching training is still about reaching a deep state of relaxation through meditation. The tendons automatically become more flexible along with the relaxed muscles.

Therefore, deep relaxation through meditation is what the ancients called reaching the state of extreme emptiness.

It is the key to unlocking the core of the human body.

By combining this with exercises like Yi Jin Jing, Ba Duan Jin, Wu Qin Xi, and Tai Chi, stretching can be further deepened.

Without reaching a deep state of relaxation through meditation, simply doing stretching exercises will not yield even half the desired effect.

Deep relaxation through meditation + stretching training = maximum benefit.

On the other hand, muscle training has only a tenth of the effect. The tendons will still harden and tighten along with the muscles.

Issues with blood circulation are likely to arise.

In addition, secondary methods include walking and slow jogging.

These activities can enhance overall breadth and resilience.

Incorrect Fitness Behaviors and Solutions

Fitness, in my understanding, is about making the body healthy.

If someone says that their body has worsened after exercising, then it is necessary to correct some incorrect behaviors.

Fitness is for health;

Health consists of good emotions, sufficient sleep, proper dietary habits, and moderate exercise.

If the body is not as healthy as before, it may be due to one or more errors in emotions, sleep, actions, and exercise.

As for incorrect exercise behaviors, they include:

Insufficient recovery and rest after exercising;

Engaging in high-intensity exercises beyond physical capacity;

Engaging in high-intensity exercises within 4 hours before sleep, which affects sleep;

And so on.

Fitness is about promoting bodily health. If the body is not as healthy as before, please correct the incorrect behaviors and misconceptions, and learn more about health knowledge.

The Beneficial Effects and Cautions of Exercise

Consistently engaging in appropriate and moderate exercise is beneficial for maintaining and promoting good health.

1. Sharing My Personal Experience:

I have been walking as a way to keep fit for over 10 years, and I also play badminton and jump rope to supplement it. According to the doctor’s examination, “Physically, you’re in the condition of a 30-year-old even though you’re approaching 60.” I’m quite satisfied mentally. It seems that consistently and moderately engaging in suitable fitness activities is beneficial for one’s health.

2. Analyzing from the perspective of health management, the influence of fitness on health can be said to be very positive.

Here are some beneficial effects of fitness on health:

  1. Enhancing cardiovascular health: Regular exercise can strengthen cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

  2. Increasing muscle strength: Fitness can increase muscle mass, improve the body’s basal metabolic rate, and help control weight and body fat.

  3. Improving mental health: Exercise can release endorphins, which are natural happiness hormones that can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress.

  4. Enhancing the immune system: Fitness can enhance immune system function, increase the body’s resistance, and reduce the chances of getting sick.

  5. Improving sleep quality: Exercise can help improve sleep quality and reduce problems such as insomnia and sleep deprivation.

3. Fitness can also have negative effects on some people

Especially if they do not develop a fitness plan correctly or do not treat their bodies properly. For example, excessive exercise can lead to muscle fatigue, joint injuries, and other physical harm. In addition, if the body does not receive proper nutritional support during the fitness process, it can lead to physical fatigue and difficulty in recovery.

In general, fitness has a beneficial effect on health, but it is important to pay attention to the correct fitness methods and nutritional support. If you are a beginner, it is recommended to consult a professional fitness trainer or doctor to develop a fitness plan that is suitable for you.

Be cautious about personal training fitness

The way you are training is harmful to your health.

Your speculation is also correct. There are indeed ignorant personal trainers who push their students to train excessively, resulting in negative impacts on their physical health.

Students who have just returned from a long absence continue to train recklessly on their own, while the trainers themselves also act irresponsibly, pushing them to increase their exercise intensity, resulting in cases of sudden death.

It’s best to control your training pace on your own and not rely on personal trainers. After training for such a long time, you should have a good understanding of how to train your own body properly.

Reasonable Fitness Plan

Moderate and correct fitness is definitely beneficial to health. I saw what you said, it seems like your coach is mainly having you do intense aerobic exercises and rarely doing strength training. What I want to say is that if you mainly focus on aerobic exercises with a large body weight, it will be difficult to lose weight in the later stages. In addition to aerobic training, I think you can incorporate some fixed and free weights into your training plan to increase your muscle mass. This will also help improve your basal metabolic rate and aid in fat loss.

I have also experienced weight loss before. My coach told me that I could first increase my muscle mass and do more strength training, followed by aerobic exercises. It is important to plan your daily diet well, focusing on high protein and vitamin foods while keeping fat and carbohydrates intake low. I followed this method and successfully lost weight, and I hardly ever got sick.