How Much Cardio is Too Much?

Cardio can be a popular way to get your daily requirement of exercise – but there are many who have a conflicted opinion towards it. When it comes to cardio, you can either love it or hate it. While cardio is very energizing for some people due to the sweat-inducing and intense workout it provides, others may just consider it pure torture to their bodies. Regardless of whether you love or hate cardio, none of us can deny that it is extremely beneficial to your overall wellbeing.

However, you can always have too much of a good thing, too. Like all great things, there is a limit to cardio as well. If you overdo your cardio, you are likely to overwork your body and begin negatively impacting your health rather quickly.

While it is necessary for you to integrate cardio in your life to ensure a healthy routine, it is also equally important to be aware of your own limits and be careful not to push your cardio too much.

Why Cardio?

By now, you may be starting to become afraid of the risk that cardio comes with. However, don’t let that fear keep you from benefitting from the good health that cardio offers.

cardio exercise

To keep it short and simple, cardio workouts help you develop stronger cardiovascular and respiratory systems that go a long way in keeping you healthy. Additionally, if you are a bodybuilder, adding simple cardio to your workouts will contribute towards better lactic acid clearing which helps in developing the strength you need to lift weights for longer. In the long-run, cardio can keep your body free of toxins and reduce the risk of developing serious health complications such as diabetes or blood pressure.

How Much Cardio Is Enough?

According to the American Physical Fitness Guidelines, an average adult will require between 150-300 minutes of cardio per week. Here, cardio is generally described as a moderately intense physical activity, similar to a brisk walk where you’re in a little hurry. While you may need to take breaths in between, you should be able to speak in full sentences during such exercise.

Kickboxing cardio

If you already spend time working out and are involved in high-intensity workouts of different types, 75-minutes of cardio per week should be enough for your body to retain its good health.

Symptoms of Cardio Overload

If you’re wondering how you could overdo cardio and what kind of negative affects it could bring – we’re here to help you out. Too much cardiovascular training can lead to injuries in different parts of your body, such as broken or aching tissues. It can also lead to consistent fatigue and multiple mood swings per day.

Since cardio training typically involves fast walking or running, your cortisol levels are likely to rise which suppresses your immune system and makes it difficult for you to get the rest that you need. People who often participate in marathons tend to experience respiratory infections due to their consistently high cortisol levels.

These signs of deteriorating health are the main reason why you need to limit your and know how much cardio is too much.

Signs of Too Much Cardio

Before impacting your health negatively in the long run, too much cardio will first show its signs on your body itself. Here are a few ways to understand if your body is suffering from a cardio overload:

Always Feeling Sore

zumba dancing

While it is commonly believed that being sore after your workout is a good thing, the truth is far from it. A little muscle fatigue once in a while or after you have a particularly intense workout is normal. But if you find yourself constantly feeling sore and unable to move your body normally after your cardio, it is a sign that you are overdoing the workouts. This is your body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down and give it the rest that it deserves.

Aching Joints

We understand that some high-impact cardiovascular training can be tough on the joints. These are exercises that make you land hard on your joints (such as jumping), thus causing some minimal joint pain.

However, if your joints start to hurt and you continue to train at the same aggressive level, you can damage your joints to the point where they are constantly aching. The most common joint pains occur in the knees, ankles, or your lower back. If you’re experiencing pain in these areas, it is probably for the better to cut down on your high-impact cardio.

Increasing Difficulty

If you’ve been feeling too demotivated to get to your workouts and find your simple exercises become harder for you to do – it might be time to show some concern for your body. While it is normal for people to want a day off training sometimes, it shouldn’t feel that way regularly. If it does, it may be the first indicator that your body is demanding some rest.

Without resting properly and recovering from previous sessions, you aren’t allowing your body the time it needs to heal itself. This is why simpler exercises start becoming difficult for you to complete and is definitely a sign that you need to give your body a well-deserved break.

Not Getting Quality Sleep

While cardio is great in order to regulate your sleep cycle, overdoing it can cause the opposite effect. Cardiovascular training increases your heart rate and body temperature, releasing endorphins such as adrenaline across your body. This can be a great state to be in as it provides a good feeling about your physical and mental health, but a constant over-excited state can cause much harm for your natural sleep cycle.

If you’re exercising too much, your core temperature is likely to be high at all times which makes it increasingly difficult to fall asleep properly. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try reducing the amount of cardio training you’re doing and notice whether it makes a difference to your quality and quantity of sleep.


Once you have realized that you may doing more cardio than your body can keep up with, it might be better to replace your typical exercises with different activities that continue to keep you physically active but are less of a burden on your body. This could include strength training and yoga but could even just be taking a normal walk at the park at sunset.

Leave a Comment