With our fast food, fast paced, self-indulgent society, we’ve also created a mindset of believing that more means better. Whether it be something simple or extreme, we tend to believe that if only a small amount helps, then more will certainly help us even better.
Note to self, if the hair color in the box says leave color in for only 25 minutes, you only leave it in for 25 minutes….this is not a case of more means better. Ya’ll get me?
And while most of the population has a hard time exercising at all, there are some who have a hard time resting. Ikr! And no doubt that exercise and motivation is rewarding and has tons of benefits, but there can be cases of over exercising that can indeed be dangerous and sabotage the results you’re trying to produce.
I get it. Once you start it’s hard to stop. You think to yourself, “If I just keep going, or pushing myself harder and harder, I’ll really start seeing those results….” But overexercising can not only sabotage your efforts, but it can also be damaging to your body.
Exercise in general releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is considered our ‘fight or ‘flight’ hormone and is responsible for releasing blood sugar into our blood stream (for quick energy), slowing metabolism (so we can store energy for use) as well as constrict our blood vessels and raise our heart rate and blood pressure. All necessities if we are in a fight or flight situation, right? But when too much cortisol is released or when there’s a steady stream of it, you can see how the overall effects can be damaging: again, sustained increased heart rate, blood pressure and slower metabolism to name a few…which all points to the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Finding the balance between what your body needs, how far to push yourself and knowing when enough is enough is key to really producing optimal results.
Here are some warning signs you may be exercising too much:
- Sleeping too much or insomnia.
The lack of the ability to sleep or too much sleep are both indicators of too much exercise. Start taking notice if you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night or are having trouble getting up in the morning.
Are you having trouble staying focused, lack of clarity or just down right tired all the time?
- Weakened Immune System
Are you keeping a cold or frequently getting sick?
- Lack of Motivation
Are you having a hard time staying motivated or finding the drive you once had to workout?
- Weight Loss Plateau
This is a big issue I see more frequently than the others. When many of my clients feel they reach a weight loss plateau and we start evaluating, many times too much exercise (and not eating enough) is the culprit.
Do any of these sound familiar? One way to keep track is to use a workout journal and record your workouts. If you notice any of these symptoms start appearing, record that too and start noticing if there’s any correlation between the two.
I always have my weight loss clients journal their daily consumption of food, water, exercise. Studies show that you increase your success rate by 50% when you journal your daily activities! Hola!
So how do you prevent over exercising? One word = rest.
Taking rest days (or even weeks) is just as important as your workout days themselves. Rest gives our body time to recover, heal, build new muscle and lessen your risk of injury.
Other steps you can take to prevent over exercising are:
I’ve talked about the importance of a dynamic warm up, but adequate stretching after your workout is also important to lengthen those tight muscles. Stretching on your off days are also important and can improve your recovery time and decrease your risk of injury even more.
Drinking enough water each day is critical for lubricating your joints, your skin health and your energy level. On average you need half your body weight in ounces, but you’ll need to increase that on your workout days.
I know, I know…. I hear you now telling me how busy you are and how your late nights keep you up, but seriously, sleep is crucial for recovery. During your sleep your body repairs itself and restores it’s energy. You need at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep each night then an additional two – three above that.
I hope this helps! Reach out to me if any of this resonates with you!
You can read more in these related articles:
Weight Training Essentials for Women over 40
Warning Signs You’re Not Eating Enough