Recently I've been running around a pre-determined track in the countryside that feels the right for me - I'm adequately tired and feel satisfied after I've finished the run. It takes approx 18-20 minutes to complete it. There are 2 sections in which I sprint my hardest for 30 seconds each.
Is it overkill to do this 5/6/7 days a week? I'm a 21 year old male with no obvious health problems btw.
I mostly do it for the cognitive benefit it brings, so I'd preferably like to do it 5/6/7 times a week.
A few months ago I did a starting strength program with all the compounds lifts - squats, deadlifts, bench etc. Would it be overkill to do this 3 times a week (say, monday, wednesday, friday) and 20 minute run in between those days with 1 day off? What would you recommend is generally the maximum amount of exercise to do?
Is overtraining exaggerated in the paleo community? Are you just being whiney to justify not exercising every day?
There's a distinction to be made between what is possible, what maximises your performance, and what is best for long-term health. Also, all exercise is relative. Few would argue that there's any problem with walking a lot every day, but for some people walking 20 minutes would be harder for them than it is for you to run for 20 minutes. Besides, 20 minutes isn't really chronic, the issue is more with regular steady-state cardio for over an hour frequently.
With the strength training, it comes down to what your goal is. If it's how you enjoy spending your time then great, but it's unnecessary and counter-productive to actually building strength if you train too often.
With all of it, just give yourself permission to take a break if you start feeling you need it. I exercise pretty much every day but at varied pace and mostly within my comfort zone, only looking to push myself hard once or twice a week. The rest of the time I'm far too busy enjoying the benefit of that increased fitness.
Chronic cardio refers to long steady state training at >75% of max heart rate. Think marathons, training for marathons, triathlons, 60 minutes or more on a treadmill/bike/starmaster at a constant high heart rate. It's stressful, cortisol producing and inflammatory. Done for many years, it seems to led to a higher risk of cardio vascular disease (CVD). Dr. Kurt G. Harris has the best article on this (link below). Note that he runs about 3 miles 3 times per week. What you are doing doesn't sound problematic to me, although 7 times a week might be a bit much. You might want to look at Mark Sisson's bio as well (he was a national class triathlete and marathoner).
Great article by Dr. Harris: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/p-nu/201103/cardio-may-cause-heart-disease-part-i
Mark Sisson's Story and recommendations: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/case-against-cardio/
Be careful that you eat enough to continue to make gains. You should be okay enough running on your off days to still get stronger but it won't be as fast.
I'm currently struggling with this as well as I am trying to row 200k on the erg this month. I've noticed a decrease in strength gains so I'm trying to shovel in more food and pay better attention to recovery.