Image via iStock
You would be surprised to know it, but too much of a good thing can really become a bad thing.
While working out regularly aids in healthy weight management and reduces chronic disease risks, training too much can be problematic. Overtraining syndrome can occur as a result of getting too much exercise without adequately resting between workouts. If you’re experiencing symptoms of overtraining, try taking a few days off to give your body a chance to rest and recover. But how exactly do you know it’s overtraining to blame and not just a little bit of “laziness”? Take a look at a few of the signs below.
While it’s normal to feel tired every now and then – especially after strenuous workouts – experiencing excessive fatigue is a sign you could be overtraining. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), overtraining causes increased fatigue with each workout and a feeling of having heavy legs. If extreme fatigue doesn’t go away after several days of rest, it may be time to see a doctor.
Decreased Athletic Performance
If you discover physical performance declines steadily with each workout, overtraining could be the culprit. You might not able to lift heavy weights like you used to, or run as far or fast as you normally can. Try resting for a few days up to a week to recover from overtraining, to see if your physical performance gets back on track.
While working out regularly can help improve your mood, overtraining may lead to depression, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. A 2012 review published in Sports Health reports that an imbalance in your nervous system is responsible for the effect of depression caused by overtraining syndrome. However, if you’re feeling blue even after letting your body fully recover from strenuous workouts, see a doctor about other possible causes of depression.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Women who overtrain may experience irregularities in their menstrual cycles, and might stop getting a period entirely, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. While missing periods may seem convenient or desirable, the NIH notes that missed periods resulting from overtraining may be a sign of low estrogen levels, which can cause weak and brittle bones. Abnormal menstrual cycles can also cause fertility problems in women.
Pain and Injuries
Constant muscle and joint pain is another sign you’re overtraining. Feeling physical pain means you’re more prone to injuries or may already have an injury. If muscle or join pain doesn’t go away after a few days of rest, see a doctor to make sure you don’t have an injury that requires treatment. Learn just one way you can prevent injury here.
The best way to prevent overtraining? Make sure you are not overdoing your workout routine. There’s no need to be in the gym for hours at a time unless you are an athlete and are properly fueling yourself (that means no skimping on calories and nutrients). Also, make sure you are taking rest days to maximize your workouts.
For more Exercise Tips & Workouts, check out our features here.