Intense Exercise: It May Be Bad For You

A new study done with mice suggests that intense exercise may be bad for you. The study suggests individuals with a greater life expectancy will express reactive personality traits and will be shy, less active and less explorative than individuals with a lower survival expectation, researchers said.

Aiming for “everything in moderation,” actually makes your life much easier. Biologists from the University of Zurich reveal that there is a correlation between longevity and personality for female house mice, and a minimum amount of boldness is necessary for them to survive.

Risky behaviour can lead to premature death – in humans. Anna Lindholm and her doctoral student Yannick Auclair investigated whether this also applies to animals by studying the behavior of 82 house mice. Maybe it is true that ‘only the good die young.’

They recorded boldness, activity level, exploration tendency and energy intake of female and male house mice with two different allelic variants on chromosome 17, thereby testing predictions of “life-history theory” on how individuals invest optimally in growth and reproduction.

The researchers reveal that the longer-lived t haplotype females are less active than the shorter-lived non-carrier females. They also consume less food, are less explorative and thus express reactive personality traits favouring cautiousness and energy conservation, as predicted by theory.

“For the first time, we report personality traits associated with a selfish genetic element that influences life expectancy” says Auclair.

According to researchers, female mice with a longer life expectancy follow the strategy “live slow, die old” whereas those with a shorter life expectancy live according to the principle “live fast, die young.

Next time you lace up your running shoes to go hit the park, think about cutting your activity level down to a more moderate expectation. That intense workout you were planning on doing actually might be bad for your health.