Downside of Too Much Exercise: More is Not Always Merrier
Routine work-out is a healthy life-choice with many physical and psychological benefits.
It produces dopamine which helps with anxiety, stress and depression, boosting your overall mood along with stimulating the release of growth hormones, improving muscle strength and boosting endurance.
But do the advantages increase with the increased amount of workout? The answer is – to some extent yes. But exercising beyond the optimum limit of a human body does more harm than good. Quoting Charles Churchill “Even the best thing carried to access are wrong”.
Over-training syndrome (OTS) is the term commonly used for over-exercising for a long period of time without giving you body sufficient time for recovery or little rest.
It is massively common among marathoners, athletes and triathletes who require intense physical exertion for their training. Overtraining syndrome is an unintended outcome of trying to grow fitter.
The health industry would have you believe that more is better, but that is not always the case. Here is what happens if you are suffering from OTS. Side effects of Over-training Syndrome (OTS)
Fatigue is the most common sign of OTS and usually the first to appear. It is different than the normal feeling of tiredness.
If you over-train and always feel tired and you do not have any other health-conditions, chances are, you might be suffering from over-training syndrome. Fatigue from OTS would leave you feeling extremely drained and exhausted- physically and mentally.
Moderate exercise helps your body relax and promotes good night’s sleep. However, over-training would leave your muscles too stressed and disturbed and cause sleeplessness.
Poor Mental Health
Exercising is supposed to trigger the release of happy hormones in your body but too much exercising would do the opposite, increasing cortisol levels in the body which might cause anxiety, severe mood swings, muscle weakness, skin bruising or even diabetes.
Over-training leaves you worn-out and fatigued making you feel more and more lethargic which might lead to depression or other mental backlashes.
Increased Risk of Injury
Since over-training requires vigorous work-out routine, the chances of getting injured during such training are high.
Back pain, joint strain, sore muscles, tendon rupture are some common over-training injuries which might hinder your training.
OTS often causes sudden or gradual decrease in stamina and endurance regardless of intense training.
Athletes suffering from OTS often experience depletion in performance soon as the workout starts and increase in the need for rest during sets of work-out or exercise.
Impaired flexibility, longer response times, reduced running speeds can all contribute to a drop in performance. Overtraining can also lead to a loss of motivation.
Weaker Immune System
Another ironic symptom of OTS is a weaker immune system. Getting more sick than usual, catching cold or fever more quickly than ever are indication of OTS. A weaker immune system would make you prone to numerous infections and diseases which would add to your declining health.
Chronic Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness from over-training would last from 4 days to a week. Athletes who suffer from chronic muscle soreness experience it almost all the time and if there is no gap between the workouts, to let the body recover, one would probably tear up a tissue.
Women are at particular risk of suffering from amenorrhea which means loss of menstruation.
This is followed by osteoporosis and mineral loss in bones. Reduced calorie intake and overtraining are root causes of this condition. Overcoming Overexertion: How to Recover from Side-effects of Too Much Exercise
Overexertion-related muscular soreness is typically easier to treat. If you take a couple of days off from exercising, the pain should reduce to some extent. Arguably, this may not be as easy as it sounds, as for someone who has been overtraining, taking some time off would trigger sorts of withdrawal symptoms. Exercising demands discipline and setting goals but if you have reached the point where you have hit the limit and now suffering from consequences. Overtraining recovery is more difficult, demanding at least six to eight weeks of break. Which will definitely not be easy and maybe after the break, you will be unlikely to hit the gym again or will have to put in a lot of extra effort to drag yourself back to exercising.
But nothing is impossible! If you were able to do it before, you should be able to do it again. When you’re ready to start exercising again, a coach may advise you to build in healing time by taking a day or two off per week. Moreover, depending on your training regimen and goals, cutting your workouts by 50% to 80% for a whole week every four to six weeks could be effective and provide better results
In conclusion, overtraining, if left untreated, can impair your immune system and lead to osteoporosis and bone loss in women. Myocardial infarctions and rhythm abnormalities can develop in severe circumstances. It is always a better approach to take care of your body and live to fight another day.