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I used to be quite competitive when it came to sports when I was younger and one thing that my coaches taught me was that there was such a thing as too much training. When this happens, the body gives signs that you’re exercising too much just like when we get sick. It does however, show different symptoms.
I still remember the first time a trainer mentioned the word ‘overtrianing’ to me. What overtraining means is that we all have a different level of training threshold. Once past that the work we put into our workouts do more harm than good because our body has had too much of exercise and needs to rest and recover.
Here are some of the signs you’re exercising too much.
Signs that You’re Doing Too Much Exercise
1. Progress stops and performance goes down
The same way that we are unable to think and focus when our brains are too tired from studying or working the body sends of similar signals telling us it’s had enough.
When you start lapping slower consistently or aren’t able to do as many sets or repetitions, or lift the weight you are used to, the body is telling us to slow down.
Too much exercise results in overtraining which has a negative effect on overall progress and can be harmful because at that point the muscles are more susceptible to injury.
When this happens, the best thing to do is step back, and take a few days off from working out.
2. You get sick more than usual
The body works as a whole system. When it gets tired, it isn’t just the muscles that get weak and exhausted, but also the immune system.
Rest is solution.
But until that happens, or until we get enough of it, we’ll start getting sick more often because our immune response isn’t as strong as it regularly is. A fatigued immune system also makes recovery from the flu, colds or any other illness take longer than usual.
This is one instance when powering though only gets us in a deeper hole. By getting enough rest, scaling down on your training schedule and getting extra nutrition and vitamins, the body will be able to recover and get back to its old self.
3. Higher than normal resting heart rate
Every individual has their own resting heart rate. One reason to know your resting heart rate is that a big increase or decrease in the number of times your heart beats per minute could be a sign of something.
The average person has a resting heart rate between 60 to 100 beats. Athletes are known to have lower resting heart rates with those at the elite level at around the 40’s with some even below that.
Because it varies a lot, what’s important is that it is steady when you’re healthy. If you’re heart rate suddenly goes up or down it could mean the body is sick, feeling something or exhausted.
Too much exercise will lead to an increase in your regular heart rate. That’s because there’s extra stress that it is trying to handle, much like when we’re nervous or scared.
You can use heart monitor device, a blood pressure machine or your own fingers and a timer to monitor your resting heart rate. What’s important is to get your baseline level so you know what to compare to.
To get your resting heart rate, put your finger on your pulse and count how many beat there are in a minute. That’s your resting heart rate. The best time to do this is in the morning after you wake up.
Do this a few times over a spend of two weeks and you should have an idea of what your baseline level is.
4. Always feeling sleepy or not able to sleep well
Exercise usually helps us sleep better. But too much of it can disrupt our sleeping habits and the number of hours we sleep. The reason this happens is the body is either on overdrive or just too tired.
When we workout too much, the body may think that it is under stress, like when we’re hyper alert when danger is imminent or like when we can’t sleep before a test or important presentation. To deal with this, it releases hormones to make us more alert than usual. This makes it hard for us to get sleep.
On the other hand, exercising too much also can lead to our body getting flat out exhausted. At that point, it just wants to rest and rest.
5. You’re more injury prone
When we workout or train, the muscles get torn. When we rest afterward, they repair and get stronger than they were before.
This is how the body gets stronger and more efficient. Also how muscles grow.
When we train too much without giving the muscles ample time to recover and repair themselves what happens is we go into the next workout session with muscles that aren’t fully repaired. This, along with being tired, makes them prone to getting injured when they otherwise wouldn’t have, if they had gotten enough rest to fully recover.
During this weakened state when the body still needs time to recover, doing extra training often causes more harm than good.
6. Mood swings
Normally, exercises puts us in a better mood. We release stress and tension we feel. Endorphins, the hormones released when exercising helps make us healthier.
And while exercise has been shown to benefit the brain, too much working out has been shown to lead to depression, being irritated easily, and anxious.
When overtrained, or working out too much, stress hormones negate the positive effects of endorphins and what should be a good thing (exercise) becomes something that it’s not meant to be.
7. Sore and aching muscles last a long time
It’s normal to get some muscle soreness after a workout session, specially if you’re new to working out. But after a while, unless you’re pushing yourself each session, regular or prolonged muscle soreness after sessions of exercise can mean it’s time to stop or scale back.
If you’re still feeling the aches and soreness after 3 days on a regular basis or if it seems it keeps taking longer for the soreness to go away after each workout session, you may be overtraining, and it’s the body’s way of telling you that.
8. Feeling tired instead of energized after exercise
Exercise is known to give us energy and has been shown to make people more productive afterward. When that feeling of being more energetic after working out turns into being lethargic or tired, with a feeling of overall fatigue, then pulling back on the workouts is probably in order.