When is Exercise Dangerous?

Exercise is almost always a good idea. It can help with weight loss, an attractive physical appearance, cardiovascular fitness, disease prevention and health maintenance. In fact, scientific evidence undeniably proves that many different types of exercises are beneficial in preventing serious disease such as stroke. 

Is Exercise Ever Dangerous? 

If you have suffered from a stroke or are at risk of stroke, however, you might, naturally, feel a degree of anxiety about whether exercise could actually pose a health risk.

This is a common concern among stroke patients and their families. But, this uneasiness about the safety of physically demanding activity frequently results in a fear of exercise and, in turn, avoidance of physical fitness.

The question of whether exercise could cause stroke is an important one. Human research experiments have been designed to answer that very question. Most of the time, moderate exercise is safe and effective in preventing stroke. However, in select situations, strenuous, physically demanding activity can risky if you have had a stroke or are at risk of stroke.

When is Exercise Dangerous?

It is uncommon for exercise to be a harmful. But, strenuous physical activity alters some of the physiological functions of the body. In particular, the blood clotting mechanism of the body temporarily changes during and after exercise. People who have blood clotting disorders or bleeding irregularities may experience bleeding or blood clots as a result of the physiological changes that accompany a workout- and these changes may ultimately may lead to a stroke.

Intense physical exercise also briefly modifies heart function and blood pressure. This is well tolerated by most healthy individuals, and actually contributes to the benefits of active exercise. However, those with serious, untreated heart conditions or severe blood pressure disease may experience sudden variations of heart function and blood pressure that can lead to a stroke.

Unexpected Stroke

There are sporadic reports of young people who have experienced stroke after demanding physical exploits. A recent case report in the June 2014, “Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness,” describes two young men who each suffered from stroke after running a marathon. Both patients had undiagnosed heart defects that were deemed responsible for the stroke occurrences. This underscores the importance of regular physical examinations and medical check ups.

Safe Exercise

Important Ways to Stay Safe While Exercising

*Regular medical checkups can help reveal underlying health problems that may make intense exercise unsafe. The routine physical examination that your health care provider performs at checkups will effectively screen for heart conditions and high blood pressure. Routine laboratory blood tests can determine whether you have blood clotting or bleeding tendencies.

*Try walking. Walking is a safe exercise that has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke.

*Make sure that you have a companion when you exercise.

A walking buddy or a work out partner might notice that you are getting tired before you start to notice.

*Even on long walks, it is important to stay close to home and in a familiar place. This will ensure that you can easily find a place to rest and avoid getting lost.

*Keep your family or friends in the loop regarding your whereabouts. In modern times, independence and freedom are highly valued- but often at the cost of isolation from others. It is possible to stay connected with others and maintain autonomy at the same time.

*Maintain a comfortable body temperature to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. On the flip side, stay warm in colder weather by dressing in warm enough clothes and taking the time to wear insulating socks, gloves and a hat if necessary. 

*Work your way up gradually. No one ever lost weight or improved cardiovascular health from one or two extraordinary workouts. Slow and steady is key.


Ganesalingam J, Jenkins IH, Vaughan J, Running out of brain, The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, June 2014

Norman C. Wang, Alexandru Chicos, Smriti Banthia, Daniel W. Bergner, Marc K. Lahiri, Jason Ng, Haris Subačius, Alan H. Kadish, and Jeffrey J. Goldberger, Persistent sympathoexcitation long after submaximal exercise in subjects with and without coronary artery disease, American Journal of Physiology, September 2011

Acil T, Atalar E, Sahiner L, Kaya B, Haznedaroglu IC, Tokgozoglu L, Ovunc K, Aytemir K, Ozer N, Oto A, Ozmen F, Nazli N, Kes S, Aksoyek S, Effects of acute exercise on fibrinolysis and coagulation in patients with coronary artery disease, International Heart Journal, May 2007

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