Even in todays world were so many people are out of shape, some Americans actually exercise too much, which can be just as harmful, if not more harmful than not exercising at all. Most people are aware of the benefits of exercise — achieving peace of mind, managing weight, maintaining overall preventative health at any age name just a few. Unfortunately, however, many individuals who do exercise regularly are unaware of the dangers of over-exercising or over-training.
Training too frequently and/or too hard can create a variety of symptoms and issues. Short-term symptoms can include constant fatigue, elevated resting heart rate, a decrease in the immune system, an increased risk of injury and non-healthy weight loss. Long-term problems can include auto-immune diseases, broken down muscle tissues, stress fractures in bones and decreased levels of natural hormones. Some studies have even shown that over-training for a prolonged period can result in a shorter lifespan!
While someone must engage in very strenuous exercise for a lengthy period of time to truly be considered over-trained, it is surprisingly easy for a regular exerciser to creep into the dangerous category of doing too much. Here are some warning signs and tips to prevent over-exercising:
Listen to Your Body! Do you notice any of the short-term symptoms listed above? If so, it’s time to ease up on your regimen until your body has had sufficient time to recover. If your symptoms persist or worsen, seek immediate medical attention from your healthcare provider.
To understand the workout process, we need to know that by exercising strenuously your breaking down muscle tissue and I normally wait 48 hours to work those muscles again. This gives them time to recover. This is a normal process, it doesn’t mean you can’t workout everyday, It means you shouldn’t work the same muscles everyday. Professional body builders will work the upper body on day, the torso one day and the lower body one day. I like this method because you can do cardio everyday which stimulates your metabolism and keeps your workouts short, like 20 minutes, and you can still work the complete body twice a week with one day off. By doing the exercises quickly for 20 minutes you’ll notice your heart rate increasing and because it’s only for 20 minutes it’s not hard to do.
Keep a Training Diary. Write down the exercises you perform during each workout and be sure to include number of repetitions, speed and intensity levels. Use this as a reference to identify potentially unhealthy patterns and ensure you’re not continuously increasing the intensity or frequency of your workouts. Any help you need making a list of the exercises you need to do, you can find on the internet.
Take a break. Recovery time is a critical component of a well balanced program. The human body typically requires a 24- to 48-hour break immediately following a strenuous workout (this is a great time to stretch). And, even if your body can withstand a fairly strenuous level of exercise, taking a break and doing something different from time to time will motivate you more to continue exercising in the long run.
Remember to hydrate. During your immediate post-workout recovery, increase hydration by drinking anywhere from 6—20 ounces of water or a sports drink with electrolytes. Also, don’t forget to consume nutrient-rich foods within the first forty-five minutes after completing a workout. Research has shown that eating nutritiously immediately after a workout helps the muscles recover from the training session more effectively while also helping you to perform all activities throughout the day. It’s easy not to eat but then you’ll get sluggish or even sleepy as you come down to a restful state.
Get Plenty of Rest. Sleep just might be the most important factor of all. It’s true that we need at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. Try to adopt and maintain a healthy sleep schedule as much as possible, even if you have to sneak in a nap here and there. If your exercising or just walking during your lunch break at work, remember to eat something before returning or you will run out of energy. A cheese sandwich or a yogurt can be enough to hold you for a couple hours.
Consider a Personal Trainer. Did you know there are many certified personal trainers who specialize in designing exercise programs for a variety of specific needs. Consider hiring a trainer, if even for a few sessions, to outline a program that will help you reach your goals without crossing into the dangerous territory of over-training!