We all know that staying active and exercising is the key to living a healthy life. More often than not, you hear about how a majority of people aren’t working out enough. But what about those on the other side of the spectrum? Is there such a thing as too much exercise?
According to fitness experts, yes. Check out everything you need to know about getting too much exercise below.
How much exercise is too much exercise?
Exercising will definitely do you more good than harm, but pushing yourself as far as you can each day can lead to some negative side effects. “Fitness experts refer to ‘too much exercise’ as overtraining syndrome (OTS),” says exercise physiologist Omega Zumpano. “OTS occurs as a result of working out too hard, too long, or too frequently. Often people who experience OTS are those who like working out most days of the week at a high intensity.”
It may seem harmless at first. For instance, you may experience a lack of physical performance, you may need extra sleep throughout the day, or you might just get hungrier than usual. But if left unchecked, OTS can turn into metabolic problems, sleep issues, and even weight gain.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
“Our body has a limit to the amount of stress it can handle before it starts to break down,” Samantha Clayton, fitness trainer and vice president of Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness at Herbalife Nutrition, says. “If you’re training too hard, you’ll know about it if you listen to the cues.”
If you’re overworking your body to the point that you have OTS, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Burnout or failure to perform
- Unexplained moodiness
- Failure to recover within a normal recovery period of a few days
- Excessive muscular soreness
- Sleep disturbances
- Lack of interest in training
- Excessive tiredness
According to Clayton, you want to push yourself enough to elicit a “training response,” such as improved cardiovascular fitness or increased strength. But you don’t want to stress your body to the point that you’re injured or sick.
How much exercise should you be doing?
Everybody is different, so it’s important to listen to your body to know if you’re doing too much or not enough. “Treat your body kindly, fuel with good nutrition, hydrate well, and get ample rest,” Clayton says.
Working out three to five times a week with a variety of exercises should be enough for you to get the health benefits without overworking yourself. You also want to train in cycles of work followed by rest, as it’s important to give your body some time to recover. Lastly, adding cross-training to your routine will help you avoid injury from overusing a particular muscle.
xx, The FabFitFun Team