by Guest Contributor Joyce Del Rosario
You have been told the importance of regular exercise, and if you are anything like many people in the world, exercise comes and goes in waves. When you are ready to exercise you go at it full force. But this may lead to the classic, too much of a good thing dilemma.
Experts continue to warn people of the dangers of over exercising. While it is important to get your heart rate up and keep the blood flowing through your veins, it is equally important to allow your body to recover once you have put it through the ringer at the gym. Without this recovery period, you open yourself up for increased risk of getting sick, or hurting yourself.
How do you know if you are exercising too much? Here are 10 things to watch for.
- High heart rate – As you get in better shape, your resting heart rate should decrease. If you are not giving your body enough of a chance to reach that resting state, your heart rate will remain at a constant high and leave you feeling in a state of stress instead of calm. Check your heart rate regularly. If it is high, reduce the amount of exercise you are doing.
- Decreased performance – If you feel weaker and your strength is slowly declining, you may be at a state where you need to lower the amount of weight you are using or cut back the number of hours you are exercising. A decrease in performance is a sign of inadequate recovery from your body, opening you up for injury while training.
- Mood changes – While exercise is a great way to naturally release endorphins causing you to be happier and less anxious, it can also have the opposite effect when you train too much. Watch for mood swings and frequent mood changes as a sign that you may be over training.
- Lack of enjoyment – If you once loved getting into the gym, and the feeling after a great workout, get that feeling back by reducing the toll the exercise is taking on your body. Lower the amount of hours spent in the gym and you will ultimately increase your desire to be there.
- Slow recovery – Healthy muscles, while they may be sore, recover quickly from exercise. However, if you are exercising to a point where your muscles do not have a chance to ever fully recover, over time they will break down and you will be left feeling worse and worse after each workout, slowing the recovery time overall.
- Frequent illness – Exercise is a well-known immunity booster, but when done too much it can have the opposite effect. If your body does not have the time to recover properly, you open yourself up to risk of illness and a lowered immunity system.
- Increase in fat – While you may have lost weight, seeing an increase in fat is a sign of over exercising. This usually comes after an extended period of time. The reason is, when you do not give your body adequate time to rest, your body will view yourself in a constant state of stress. This releases hormones that hold onto the fat in your body for extended periods of time.
- Lethargy – Exercise is supposed to boost your energy levels, but too much of it can wear your body down to a point where you are in a constant state of fatigue.
- Insomnia – On the other side of fatigue is the inability to sleep. While you may feel tired from overloading yourself with exercise, your body is equally in a state of stress so unable to fall asleep at night as easily. This is a classic combination and sign of training overload.
- Decreased appetite – This also goes hand in hand with your body feeling constantly over worked. If your body is overworked, it is constantly seeking a way to rest. When this happens, the last thing it wants to do is have to work to digest food.
Watch for these classic tell-tale signs of too much training. If you do experience any of these, give your body a rest and take a few days off from the gym to give yourself ample time to recover.
Joyce Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of massage courses and personal training courses. When not working, Joyce blogs about health and fitness.If you have a blog and would like free content, you can drop a line at joyce(@) oc.edu.au.