Challenging yourself in a workout is one thing. However, training too intense, too hard or too fast can pose serious health risks. Exhaustion, constant fatigue, irritability, prolonged muscle soreness and fitness plateaus are all signs that you are overdoing your workouts.

We all know that moving our body is good for us. Exercise benefits heart health, bone health, weight control, mood and emotional health, and so much more.
And while not getting enough exercise is the biggest problem for most of us, getting too much exercise can also be a problem. But how do you know if you are pushing too far too fast? Here are the signs that should alert you.

What are the ways you can overexercise?

Many endurance and professional athletes safely complete many more hours of physical activity per week than the guidelines set as the minimum. However, sports medicine researchers disagree on whether there is a point at which too much exercise becomes dangerous for ultra-endurance athletes, according to a 2019 analysis published in the AIMS Public Health journal. Other research, however, suggests that there is no upper limit for healthy adults to the amount of heart-beneficial aerobic activity.

So when is too much exercise too important?

There are mainly two ways to overexercise:

compulsive exercise


We talk about overtraining when we overwork ourselves too quickly. Factors such as intensity, duration and length of workouts should be introduced and increased gradually. Overtraining usually results from a lack of rest (or full rest days) between workouts, inadequate nutrition for the exercise you are doing, lack of sleep, exercising too intense or reduced workouts when you’re sick or facing too many other stressors.

Nutrition is often an important factor in excessive exercise. Athletes of all levels should get the nutrition they need to support their workouts, even if an exercise program is part of a weight loss plan. For those looking to lose weight and exercise, gradually reducing calories over time, while maintaining key nutrients, is the key to success.
Overtraining can also result from accelerating a training program too quickly. A beginner lifter, for example, shouldn’t be doing multiple types of bench presses five to seven days a week. This will increase the risk of shoulder injury.

compulsive exercise

Compulsive exercise is when exercise no longer feels like an activity you choose to do, but becomes an activity you feel you must do (or it becomes addictive). People who exercise compulsively may notice that exercising is no longer enjoyable, or they feel guilty or anxious if they don’t exercise.

Signs of overexercise: How do you know if you’re overexercising?

Over-exercising is usually seen in people who go from not exercising at all to trying too aggressively to get in shape or lose weight. It’s not necessarily about the total amount of exercise you’re doing, but about increasing the intensity too quickly. From overtraining to compulsive exercise, there are plenty of ways to overdo it. People who exercise too much tend to have similar signs and symptoms, namely:

Prolonged muscle pain

Muscle soreness after a workout should last three days, four at most.

Diminished immune response

Getting sick more often than usual is a sign of overtraining.

Increase in injuries

Frequent or recurring injuries are usually a sign that something is wrong.

Constant fatigue, irritability and lack of energy

Being exhausted may indicate that you are pushing your body too far, too fast.

Fatigue at the start of training

Premature muscle fatigue is (usually) a sign that something is wrong.

Plateaus or drops in performance

Not bouncing back after a workout or not making progress can be a sign that you’re pushing your body too far, too fast.

Increased resting heart rate

Frequent exercise should lower a person’s resting heart rate, but excessive exercise can have the opposite effect. An increase may be a sign of a serious problem or a cardiovascular change.

Prioritize training above all else

Leaving or avoiding social activities to work out is usually a sign of a compulsion or an unhealthy work-life balance.

Depression or anxiety

Exercise is (and should be) a mood booster, but too much of it can make you feel sad or lethargic. People with burnout disorder may also feel anxious and nervous about missing a workout.

Why is overexercising risky?

Overworking is risky because it can lead to many short-term and long-term health problems.

Short term

Overwork can have significant effects on mood and energy levels. The fatigue and lack of energy associated with excessive exercise can cause irritation, anger, sleep problems, problems at school or work, and lack of enjoyment in your interests and hobbies. -usual times.

One of the main warning signs that you’re doing too much too fast is an elevated resting heart rate, loss or change in appetite, or mood swings. Sleep disturbances may also occur.

You can also increase your risk of injuries, such as stress fractures, muscle strains, runner’s knee, joint pain, tendonitis and bursitis, according to Northwestern Medicine.

When the body doesn’t have time to heal, athletes are at risk for overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, fatigue, or torn tendons. It also increases the risk of future injuries, he adds.

Longer term

In the longer term, excessive exercise can cause kidney and heart damage.

It is important to consider that there are other serious consequences of overexercise, such as rhabdomyolysis, which can occur when you exercise too much, whether in terms of duration or intensity. Rhabdomyolysis is a serious (and life-threatening) condition in which damaged muscle tissue releases proteins and electrolytes into the bloodstream, which can damage the heart and kidneys. If you think you have rhabdomyolysis after strenuous exercise, you need to see a doctor urgently.

Women can suffer from loss of menstruation or early osteoporosis if they regularly exercise excessively. Men, on the other hand, may see their libido decrease as a result. Excessive exercise can also compromise the immune system over time, especially when it comes to long-term endurance exercise, like running a marathon or intense training at the gym.
And there is evidence that over time, excessive exercise can contribute to or exacerbate mental health conditions, such as depression, OCD or anxiety, according to a study published in December 2015 in the Journal of Behavioral. Addictions.

What can you do if you catch yourself exercising too much?

While over-exercising can be problematic, the good news is that you can reverse the effects. The first thing you can (and should) do is rest.

Take one to two weeks off from training completely, which may be enough for mood, energy levels, and motivation to return to typical levels for you. If you’re still experiencing symptoms of overtraining after this time off, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to see if you need to take more time off or if there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.