Yes, exercising is great for everyone. You need to exercise to keep your body limber, to burn calories and lose weight, to build muscles and get stronger, and to enhance your heart health.
But there’s such a thing as overexercising, and this does more harm than good for your body.
Ways of Overexercising
There are actually several ways of overexercising:
- You’re exercising too intensely.
- Your workouts take too long.
- You’re not giving yourself enough rest, or you don’t have full rest days.
- You’re not getting enough sleep.
- Even when you’re sick or injured, you insist on exercising.
There’s also such a thing as compulsive overexercising. This is when you feel compelled to exercise and you’re addicted to working out. When you constantly thing about getting back to the
Signs That You’re Overexercising
The problem is that it’s not often easy to recognize when you’re going over the line. But there are signs you can look for.
You may be overexercising if you work out regularly, and you notice the following symptoms:
You’re Anxious or Depressed
This is a red flag, because exercise is normally a mood enhancer. A good workout results in the release of various hormones that make you feel good, while it reduces the levels of stress hormones.
But it’s a different matter when you exercise too much. Overexercising can lead to feelings of lethargy and sadness. Those with compulsive exercising issues may also be constantly worried about missing a workout.
Your Workout is Your Top Priority
Sure, working out is important. But if you constantly avoid social activities just to work out, you have a problem. This may be a sign of an unhealthy work-life balance.
Higher Resting Heart Rate
When you exercise frequently, it’s normal to have a lower resting heart rate as a result. But overexercising can lead to an opposite effect, with an increase in your resting heart rate. You may want to have a doctor take a look, as it may also be a sign of a serious cardiovascular issue.
Performance Plateaus or Declines
In general, you should gradually improve your performance as you spend more weeks and months exercising. If you’re a runner, for example, then you should see gradual improvements in your speed and in your stamina, as you’re able to run more miles.
However, if you don’t improve anymore or your performance declines, then you may be overexercising. You might be pushing your body too far too soon. You might need to tone down the intensity of your workouts.
You Get Tired More Easily
This is another sign that you’re overexercising. Any sort of premature muscle fatigue is a red flag. This is especially true when you get tired more easily when you work out. Either you’re sick, or you need to tone it down.
The same is true when you’re not working out either. If you feel exhausted all the time, perhaps you may want to tone down your workouts as well.
Recurring or Frequent Injuries
This is another sure sign that perhaps you’re pushing your body too hard. It’s one thing to get injured while training once in a while. But it’s another thing when it keeps happening when you work out. It’s a sign that your workout just isn’t meant for your body to handle just yet.
Decreased Immune Response
Like injuries, constantly getting sick is another warning sign. You might be overexercising, which can then stress out your immune system. That may make your immune system more easily overcome by various health conditions.
Extended Muscle Soreness
Normally, you’d expect muscle soreness to last no more than 3 days, even if you went all-out in your previous workout. Even 4 days of muscle soreness is tolerable. But if it lasts more than that, then you might be overtraining.
What To Do When You’re Guilty of Overexercising
If you notice several of these signs in your case, then you may be overexercising. To make sure, you should give it a complete rest for about 1 or 2 weeks.
Then get back to the basics:
- Eat well and hydrate properly.
- Get enough good sleep each night.
- Ease into exercising (after a couple of weeks). Start slow and easy, and increase the duration and intensity gradually.
- Make sure you have one complete rest day from exercise each week.
- Maybe you can find a good gym with trainers who can look out for you (like Equinox Fitness), to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
When you overexercising, it affects your energy levels and your mood. You might have anger issues, sleep problems, increased work or school problems, and a general lack of enjoyment even with your usual hobbies and interests.
Injuries are also more likely when you overexercise. So, keep watch on your workout duration, intensity, and frequency, and make sure you’re not overdoing it.