Potential dangers of overtraining.
An obsession with exercise, excessive training for an upcoming event, or overdoing it as you try to reach a fitness goal can all backfire. You hear a lot about how people need to exercise more for good health, weight management, and stress relief, but there is also such a thing as exercising too much. Like everything else in life, there needs to be balance within your exercise regimen.
Called overtraining, too much exercise can harm your health. What are the risks of overtraining and how can you know when you’ve crossed the line? Keep reading to find out.
Too much exercise can lead to repetitive-use injuries. Joints like the knees, elbows, and shoulders are most at risk, but other joints can be affected as well. Overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, tendinitis, or runner’s knee are common. They’re also are some of the hardest types of sports injuries to treat. At the first sign of pain, it’s time to rest.
Exercise is supposed to increase your energy and improve your mood. Overtraining, however, places excessive stress on the body causing fatigue, irritability, a loss of sleep, depression, and a lack of appetite. The progress you were making in your commitment to exercise may come to a screeching halt when you reach burnout, so ease off the gas to keep going for the long haul.
Your body requires hormonal balance to prevent acute and chronic health problems. Overtraining is especially hard on women’s estrogen levels, particularly during the teen years. Too little estrogen puts you at risk for osteoporosis later in life, which means broken bones and other complications. A common sign of excessive exercise in females is an irregular menstrual cycle.
Overtraining puts a strain on your immune system. Your body needs adequate rest and energy reserves to fight against germs. When you come down with frequent respiratory tract infections or other viral illnesses it’s time to reevaluate your workout routine.
Elevated Heart Rate
One symptom of overtraining is an elevated resting heart rate. Normally, your resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The more in shape you are, the lower your resting heart rate becomes. Regardless of what your resting heart rate may be, it’s important that you know it so you can also know whether it’s dangerously high. Someone who’s overtraining may likely have a pulse that’s 10 to 15 beats per minute higher than usual. This occurs because your body is on heightened alert as if in an emergency situation. Your adrenaline is pumping and telling your heart to work unnecessarily harder.
Shouldn’t all these extra workouts improve your time, distance, or strength? On the contrary, overtraining has the opposite effect. You’re no longer able to lift as much weight, run as far, or bike as fast. Your body is trying to tell you it’s tired and needs rest. Listen to your body and ease up.
Everyone who exercises, whether a professional athlete or exercise newbie, needs to follow a few exercise guidelines to prevent overtraining. Exercise is important, but there can be too much of a good thing. First, plan to rest for a day in between strenuous workouts. Give your body and muscles time to recover and heal.
Remember that your workouts should last no longer than an hour each day. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Many people prefer to break this up into five sessions of 30 minutes each.
It’s also a good idea to cross train. Instead of doing the same workout every day, change things up by including different exercises in your weekly routine. Doing so will help prevent overuse injuries.
Finally, get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and eat a healthy diet with an adequate number of calories to support your level of activity. Then you’ll reap the full rewards of your hard work.