Overtraining? Learn to Recognize These Signs

By Donna Stark

If I learned anything from my mom, it's that more isn't always better. She taught me that about dessert, makeup, and boyfriends, but let's be honest here, that little bit of wisdom can be applied to so many other aspects in life as well, can't it? The one example that I am thinking about right now is exercise. You see, some people think that if a little exercise is good for you, then more must be better, but that's only true to a point. When it comes to working out, there is a chance that you can do too much, and that can sometimes cause more harm than good.

Can You Really Overtrain?

Overtraining typically occurs in athletes who are training non-stop or too much for a specific event, when they exercise longer and harder in the hopes of reaching their goals, and when they push the body beyond its natural ability to recover. In other words, it's a lot more than just being tired. Here are some signs to look for if you are concerned about overtraining.

  • Decreased performance - Perhaps the easiest symptom of overtraining to look for is poor performance. Now don't start confusing a bad workout here or there with overtraining. You want to look for consecutive days of decreased agility, strength, and endurance.
  • Increased effort - In addition to decreased performance, overtraining can also make your "easier" workouts feel incredibly difficult. You may also find that your heart rate takes longer to return to normal after exercise.
  • Excessive fatigue - This is more than just feeling tired. This occurs when the body never has a chance to recover properly and is constantly pulling from its own energy stores.
  • Insomnia - Sleep is critical to the overall health of your body. It's the time when the body is able to rest, repair, and recover from your workouts, but if your sleepless nights tend to coincide with an increase in training, you need to take a break.  
  • Chronic injuries/soreness - Consistently pushing your body to the limit puts excess stress and strain on your muscles and joints so pay attention to what your body is telling you. Muscle aches shouldn't last longer than a few days and joint issues should be looked at right away to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Seeking Help

If these signs of overtraining are a little too familiar to you, it's time to slow down and give your body the rest it needs. It's also wise to seek the advice of a medical professional if you think you have done some damage to your body. Remember, a little precaution today is all that is needed to ensure the results that you want tomorrow!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Peoria, Ariz.

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