There is no denying that physical activity is an essential element of overall health and wellbeing. Getting an adequate amount of exercise has numerous benefits, including:
- It boosts your brain function and can prevent memory loss due to aging;
- Helping defend against numerous chronic conditions;
- Helps maintain a healthy weight;
- Reduces blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health;
- Improves your quality of sleep;
- Reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression;
- Combats fatigue;
- reduces joint discomfort and stiffness;
- Maintains the strength of your muscles and your sense of balance.
Just because it is good for you, does that mean more is always better? Did you know that it is possible for you to exercise or train too hard? Overtraining syndrome is real, and it is a condition that doctors often see when individuals push themselves beyond their current capacities without getting the proper amount of rest or fuel.
Today we are going to talk about overtraining syndrome: what it is, who is susceptible to it, and how to prevent it.
What Is Overtraining Syndrome?
Athletes and those pursuing physical activity need to strike a balance between pushing themselves and taking time off to recuperate in order to achieve optimal conditioning. Overtraining syndrome manifests itself with physical and mental symptoms and is caused by a combination of the following factors:
- Engaging in an excessive amount of physical activity or exercising beyond your limits;
- Not allowing adequate time for your body to rest and recover;
- Not providing your body with the proper types and amounts of fuel.
When we do not take the time to allow our bodies to recover, these physical activities and exercise routines can have the opposite effect intended. The activities or exercising are not the issue; it is training with inadequate rest and nutritional replenishment that is a recipe for illness and injury.
Who Is At Risk For Overtraining Syndrome?
It’s a common misconception that only highly-trained athletes or those who put in 20 hours of training per week are at risk for overtraining. It is possible for athletes of any fitness or exercise level to experience an imbalance between strain and recuperation.
In fact, the less fit an individual is, either because they are new to the activity or because they are not accustomed to the physical exercise, the higher their risk for experiencing overtraining syndrome.
There are also certain factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing overtraining syndrome, even if they have been performing this level of activity for an extended period of time.
Since overtraining affects your nervous system and your hormones, your risks for the disorder rise exponentially if your stress level is already very high or you are in a time of hormonal transition, such as right after a pregnancy, the time leading up to menopause (perimenopause), or during menopause. You are also at a higher risk if you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep at night, not eating enough, or eating the wrong types of food.
When incorporating exercise or physical training into our daily routines, we must be mindful of ensuring there is a balance between how intense our routine is, allowing proper time for recovery, and giving our bodies what they need to repair themselves.
What Are The Symptoms Of Overtraining?
Some of the most common overtraining symptoms are mood swings, feeling anxious, and having issues sleeping, so many individuals are misdiagnosed and offered antidepressants.
The signs of overtraining are numerous, and many are also associated with other conditions, so an individual may not realize what is going on. It is important to consult a doctor if you fit the other criteria and are experiencing some of these symptoms:
- Muscle pain that worsens over time;
- The inability to perform your usual workout;
- Extreme sweating or becoming easily overheated;
- Heavy feeling in your legs;
- Recurring injuries (joint pain, sprains, stress fractures);
- Lack of motivation;
- Chronic illnesses such as respiratory infections or colds;
- Elevated blood pressure or heart rate even when at rest;
- Issues with the digestive system, such as constipation or diarrhea;
- Intermittent menstrual cycles or no menstrual cycle;
- Feeling generally exhausted and having no energy;
- Having trouble going to sleep and staying asleep;
- Depression, despondency, moodiness;
- You can become easily irritated or angry;
- Find it hard to concentrate or focus.
Preventing Overtraining Syndrome
It can be hard to know if you may experience this condition because each person is different and an increase in exercise can impact individuals in various ways. Here are some measures you can take to help balance your physical activity routine.
- Make sure you eat a healthy diet that is rich in protein (many individuals use protein shakes to ensure they are getting enough protein, especially when weight training);
- Stay properly hydrated;
- Get an adequate amount of sleep;
- Start slow and work up to more difficult workouts. Do not try to run a marathon if you are just beginning a fitness routine. Start by walking a short distance, and increase your distance and speed as you get stronger;
- Monitor your emotions for severe mood changes. If you have been training hard for a few days and notice changes, back off, give your body a break, maybe go have a massage, or do something much less strenuous for a few days;
- Listen to your body. If you are feeling pain or severe fatigue, slow down and rest;
- Keep an eye on your resting heart rate. If it begins to consistently read higher than normal in the morning, it could be a sign of overtraining.
Seek Professional Lifestyle Coaching
One of the best ways to ensure you are eating right and getting the right balance of exercise and rest is to work with a professional. Understanding the nutritional needs of your body as well as its other critical requirements can help ensure you stay in good mental and physical health.
The experts at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center can help you improve your health, endurance, and stamina in a safe way. Whether you are interested in weight loss or just improving your lifestyle for health and fitness purposes, OnTrack Lifestyle Coaching may be the perfect fit for you.
You will have access to a team of professionals who can help you with diet, nutrition, menu planning, exercise, etc. They can help you not only with knowledge to help you understand why these things are important, but also with real strategies that you can apply daily to reach your weight loss or fitness goals. Set up an appointment with one of our experts today and let us help you improve your health without overtraining or other negative side effects.