It may not seem likely, but it is possible to exercise too much. In fact, over-exercising can leave you physically and emotionally weaker and prone to injury and weight gain.
While training thresholds are different for each individual, here are some of the more common signs you may be taking your exercise regime too far:
- Decrease in performance
If you’re failing to lift weights you usually lift, run as fast as you usually run or swim the same distances (i.e. you are getting weaker or less fit despite doing regular exercise) you’re likely to be training too much.
Over-training may leave you feeling fatigued and groggy. Fatigued bodies and minds are prone to depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and irritability – all of which are common signs that your body is overstressed physically.
If you’re training hard but still not sleeping, this could be a sign of overtraining – although your body is tired, you’re becoming too restless and your cortisol levels are too high to sleep.
- Getting sick
Overtraining weakens your immune system leaving you vulnerable to coughs, colds and the flu.
- Sore muscles
While some muscle soreness up to 48 hours post workout are common, persistent muscle soreness that lasts for days after your workout is a sure sign you need more rest. If you’re constantly aching – something isn’t right.
If you’re overtraining, the best cure is rest. Take a couple of weeks off from training completely (this will not undo all your hard work!).
On an ongoing basis:
- incorporate rest days (at least one or two days of solid rest from exercise each week)
- fuel your body adequately for your exercise routine
- keep sufficient variety in your regime – working the same muscles on consecutive days or doing high intensity cardio training every day is a fast track to overtraining and increases your likelihood of injury
- be mindful of the signs of over-exercising
Too much of anything is not a good thing.
Over-training on a long term basis poses serious threats to your health and wellbeing.
It’s also important to consider why you might feel compelled to over train (although exercise addiction is a topic for another blog post…watch this space).