It is important for everyone to stay physically active, but could your fitness plan be all wrong for you? The whole point of working out is to get healthy and lose weight, not to get hurt in the process. So it is important that you watch out for these important cues that could be showing you that you are overdoing it.
You are getting injured
Your aching knees, sore shoulders and pain in your lower back are sending you a clear sign that you are doing the same workout too frequently. Doing the same exercises over and over could lead to an overuse injury of your muscles or joints. You are likely pushing your body too hard and not giving it enough time to recover afterward. This can strain the muscles and joints. Try to mix up your workouts to avoid stressing out the same body parts each day. Don’t see rest days as being lazy, but giving your body a chance to repair itself.
Your Performance is Down
It can be hard to tell how much exercise is considered to be too much exercise, but one of the major signs of overdoing it is a decrease in performance. Whether you are running more slowly or finding that your usual weights are harder to lift than before, or you just have less stamina than usual, without adequate time to recover, your body could start to break down muscle. “This can lead to deterioration of muscle function, declines in physical performance, and even increased risk of injuries,” says personal trainer Jessica Matthews, MS.
You Are Always Tired
“Workouts can make you temporarily tired, but as a rule, your training should actually give you more energy throughout the day,” says personal trainer Franklin Antoian. If you’re starting to feel more fatigued or sluggish than energized, you might want to cut back the amount of time you’re spending at the gym.
Your Muscles Stay Sore
If your soreness lasts for days and day it is a strong indication that it’s time to take it easy. “While some muscle soreness post-exercise can be normal, experiencing extreme muscle soreness (for example, to the point where you are unable to straighten your arms), can be a sign of overtraining,” says Matthews.
Your Immune System is Down
Feeling rundown and getting sniffles? A punishing workout regimen could be to blame. “If you find yourself feeling under the weather more often than usual, it could be a sign that you are working out too much,” says Mathews. “Although studies have shown that moderate exercise may be linked to a positive changes in the immune system, there is also evidence that too much intense exercise can reduce immunity.”
You Aren’t Sleeping Well
“While regular exercise can help promote a restful night’s sleep, excessive exercise can have the opposite effect in terms of getting sufficient, quality shut-eye,” says Matthews. Too much exercise triggers a stress response in the body, raising levels of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. This can have an effect your sleep-wake cycles, keeping you up at night or even impacting your quality of sleep.
You Have a Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is one of the major signs of overtraining, according to The American Council on Exercise. Exercise can make you feel less hungry because it lowers levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite, and increases levels of peptide YY, the hormone responsible for suppressing it.
You Have Become Overly Emotional
If you’re not feeling quite like yourself—you have increased anxiety, decreased concentration, increased irritability, and lowered self-esteem—it’s time to re-evaluate your exercise regimen. “Although physical activity can and should be fun and enjoyable, over-exercising can lead to psychological burnout, causing a motivation problem and a dissatisfaction with exercise,” says Matthews. “In fact, changes in mood can be an early sign of overtraining, before many of the physical signs are present.”
Friends and Family are Concerned
“If your friends, family members, and co-workers are consistently telling you that you work out too much, they may be correct,” says Antoian. Working out shouldn’t get in the way of your relationships or your social life, and if you skip quality time with people you care about to hit the gym, it might be a time to step back and find the appropriate balance. You may want to suggest that one of your close friends starts working out along with you so that you will both stay on the right track and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.