Exercise: Is there any such thing as too much?

Posted on: March 20, 2019
By: Christie Garofano

Getting into a regular exercise routine can be very difficult for various reasons. One workout can definitely make you feel better but working out too much will make you feel worse! You may be thinking how can more exercise be a bad thing? Well there really is such a thing as too much. When certain signs and symptoms creep up as a results of too much exercise it is referred to as Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Whether someone is exercising too much without adequate recovery time or whether someone is not eating appropriately for the volume of exercise they are getting some adverse symptoms can occur. Let’s take a look at a few things to be aware of if you have recently increased the amount of workouts you are getting in each week.

Signs you are overdoing it with your workouts (ACE, 2017)

  • Decreased Performance: If your ability to perform your usual workout & exercises is decreasing, whether the weight you are lifting is less, your running time is slower, or your reaction time is reduced.
  • Everything seems more difficult than usual which would feel like your heart rate being higher than usual under a certain stimulus of exercise.
  • Excessive Fatigue: Feelings of heaviness and being tired all the time is another sign you are over doing it or under-fueling. Adequate recovery time in between workouts along with appropriate fuel intake will prevent the body from pulling from its own stores of carbs, protein and fats.
  • Insomnia or Restless Sleep can result from elevated stress hormone levels for overdoing it in your training program. Elevate cortisol or epinephrine cannot only disrupt sleep but also cause moodiness and agitation
  • Loss of appetite: Exhaustion as a result of overtraining can stifle your appetite
  • Chronic or Nagging Injuries: Frequent injuries or illnesses is something else to keep an eye on. If a pain or illness of some sort is persisting for over two weeks, chances are you need to back off or make some modifications to your routine.
  • Metabolic Imbalances: Long term low energy has the potential for nutrient deficiencies in the short term but longer term health consequences
  • Psychological Stress or Depression: Multiple signs and symptoms from above in addition to not being able to train can affect your psyche if you are one that loves a tough workout and does not like to miss a session.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, you will want to revaluate your routine and possibly get some rest or consult with a medical professional. Having a well balanced training routine in addition to otherwise healthy lifestyle with adequate nutrition, ample quality sleep and stress management strategies will help keep you balanced. Trying to accomplish a healthy life using one modality (like exercise) is not likely to yield the perfect life.

Robinson, J. (2017, June, 21). Signs of Overtraining. www.acefitness.org

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