Exercise provides many health benefits, but you can find yourself exercising too much. Too many of us do not exercise enough, but those who do exercise occasionally take it to an extreme level that can be detrimental to their health. Exercise can be addictive most likely through its affects on endorphins.
The physiologic adaptations that result from exercise occur after the training session. Those adaptations will not optimally occur if the body is constantly stressed. Recognizing that may be difficult, but for the motivated person who believes “if a little is good a whole lot more is better” taking the necessary time to recover is many times more difficult.
How much recovery you need depends on the intensity of the exercise. The more intense the workout, the more time for recovery is needed. The hard core exerciser tends to exercise at higher intensities – therefore recognizing the need for rest becomes vitally important. Keep in mind, to continue to make gains in endurance and strength workouts need to become progressively more intense – therefore the more fit you become the more rest you will need between workouts.
In reality the lack of rest is the problem, and perhaps this article should be titled “Are You Not Resting Enough Between Workouts”.
Signs Your Are Exercising Too Much and Not Resting Enough
- Your morning resting heart rate is higher than normal – 10 beats higher.
- You feel tired and lack energy.
- Your athletic performance declines.
- You find yourself struggling to train at the necessary intensities.
- You have difficulty sleeping or don’t feel well rested upon awakening.
- You experience muscle soreness and joint aches.
- You’re irritable or moody.
- You are depressed.
- Your appetite is diminished.
- You suffer from headaches.
- You are experiencing more injuries or illness.
Curing Yourself From Exercising Too Much
The most obvious treatment from exercising too much is rest, rest, and more rest. Many times a few days of rest from exercise is all that is needed. Nutrition is vital to recovering from exercise. This includes staying well hydrated throughout the day with fluids. Consume in ounces daily half your body weight in pounds. So if you weigh 160 pounds you should consume 80 ounces of fluids. Post workout nutrition is important, too. In the hour following a workout consume protein (20 to 25 grams) plus carbohydrates (up to 36 grams). This provides muscles with the protein it needs to adapt and become stronger and replenishes muscle and liver glycogen stores that provide energy.
Consider cross-training and changing the structure of you workouts periodically. This enables you to exercise muscles and joints in different ways. Massage can help sore muscles to recover. Mix in lighter intensity workouts into your regular routine. For instance, plan light intensity workouts one week a month.
But do exercise.
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