Regular exercise is essential for our physical and mental health. But over-exercising means it’s taking over your life, rather than being a healthy part of it.
An important question to ask yourself is, “Why do I exercise?” Do you do it to stay healthy and because it’s something you enjoy? If so, that’s great! But if you exercise because you’ll feel guilty or bad if you don’t, this could be a sign of something more serious.
Implementing exercise in your daily routine can give you many benefits, e.g., improved heart health, a lower risk of depression, and even better bone health. But, over-exercising can have the opposite effect on your body.
While exercise is good for your mental and physical health in equal measures, doing too much could impact both.
Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity is enough to prevent diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. However, athletes do over-exercising but in the presence of a team who takes care of everything right from eating, exercise and movement.
Exercise addicts tend to think that a two-hour run makes them four times as healthy. It doesn’t work that way.
Everyone’s body is different, meaning that every person has other limits when working out. Knowing your body and what it’s telling you is essential to ensure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard.
“Too much of a good thing could be compromising your immunity.”
“The science behind exercise and immunity involves the complex interaction of several different cells, including immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, which can help identify a virus,” explains Dr. Matthew Jackson, a lecturer in Sport and Health Science at the university.
“Prolonged bouts of vigorous aerobic activity could lead to immunosuppression as these cells are redistributed and diverted to key tissues and organs that are active during exercise.” It means that too much of a good thing could be compromising your immunity.
A few physical symptoms and lifestyle patterns to be aware of may indicate that you are going too hard in the gym.
If you have muscular pains or soreness that doesn’t go away after three days or more, you should probably take that as a sign that you’re exercising too much.
Your body needs time to recover after heavy or intense training. Constant, persistent soreness means it’s not getting that chance. Take it easy, and let your body recover.
KEEP GETTING SICK
Most healthy and fit people tend to have a pretty good immune system, rarely getting more than a mild cold every so often.
So if you’re getting sick more than usual or feel pretty crappy and fatigued overall, you can be pretty sure your body needs a break.
ENERGY IS LOW
Suppose you’re feeling extra tired and have had low energy for days on end, but you know you’re not sick. In that case, you’re probably exercising too much.
Rest up, or prepare to sacrifice performance.
LOSING WEIGHT WITHOUT MEANING TO
While most of the population would love to lose some extra weight by accident, it may be overtraining if you have unintentional weight loss and a decreased appetite.
Remember always to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition and try your best to take a break at times.
FEELING EXTRA IRRITABLE
Are you feeling extra agitated lately?
Suppose you’re experiencing irritability as well as one or more of these other symptoms. In that case, you can make a safe bet that you’re exercising too much.
Save yourself (and the people around you) by taking a few days off here and there.
EARLY-ONSET OF FATIGUE
Are you feeling an overall sense of fatigue after prolonged intense training or getting unusually tired early on in your workouts?
You guessed it: you’re probably over-exercised.
RESTING HEART RATE IS HIGHER THAN USUAL
Most fit people have a resting heart rate sub 50 or 60 bpm (the average person’s resting heart rate is 72 bpm).
Check yours regularly: if you’re in great shape. Still, your heart rate is significantly higher than expected; you may want to give your body a break from exercise.
Many apps will track resting heart rate these days. Suppose you’re a fitness nerd like me. In that case, you might be interested in checking out the Whoop wearable band to measure recovery, including resting heart rate.
HEART RATE VARIABILITY (HRV) IS LOW
While you want your resting heart rate to be pretty low, you want your heart rate variability (HRV) to be higher. Having a high HRV is a sign that your body is recovering well from stress (including your workouts). A low HRV is usually a sign that your body isn’t healing well. Exercising too much can prevent you from proper recovery, and a low HRV will show it.
LESS MOTIVATED THAN USUAL
If you’re an avid exerciser like me, but you’re feeling less and less motivated to work out, it could be your body giving you a signal that you need some time off.
Take a few days or even a week off and see if your motivation returns. Alternatively, you may need some time away from intense training or your specific sport. Try swapping up your regular workouts for nature hikes, new or fun learning-style classes, or a friendly game of tennis/frisbee/pickup basketball/something different.
HIT A PLATEAU
Have you been working as hard as you possibly can, yet you can’t seem to improve your speed, strength, or overall athletic performance?
Congratulations: you’ve officially plateaued.
Instead of pushing harder, you may want to think about giving your body a break since a constant plateau state is one of the leading indicators of overtraining.
HOW TO PREVENT OVER-EXERCISING
While there’s no one-size-fits-all predictor of how much exercise is too much, there are some steps you can take to prevent over-exercising.
Here are the most important ones:
Take a little extra time off every so often
Some people in the fitness world strongly believe you should take an entire week off of exercising every few months to let your body recuperate.
I’ve never actually done this—I’d go crazy with pent-up energy if I tried—but it could be worth trying if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms of overtraining.
Alternatively, take a few days off of intense activity and do some active rest day activities instead.
Replenish your body’s fluids
Drink lots and lots of fluids, including fluids with electrolytes and potassium.
Water, coconut water, cherry juice, and electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks are all excellent choices. If it’s hot out or you’re sweating more than usual, you’ll need even more fluids.
While it’s essential to work hard while exercising and is equally important to let your body properly recover.
Take care of sore muscles with muscle recovery methods that work. And make sure you’re stretching regularly.
Sleep is our body’s prime time to recover, and shorting yourself of it puts you at high risk for over-exercising.
So make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night and take a cat nap when you feel the need.
Excess of anything is wrong, so consult your doctor and trainer before starting any activity. Full body check up is necessary before starting fitness journey to avoid any kind of health risk and even fatality.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefit. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefit.
Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes or more a week.
Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems. Sitting too much can negatively impact your health and longevity, even if you get the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead. Any activity is better than none at all. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
Over-exercising killed an Indian Bollywood actor Siddharth Shukla which is very hear -breaking.
Have you ever did over-exercising? If yes, then how do you deal with that? Share your views in the comment section. Don’t forget to like, share and follow my blog.