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Signs of Overtraining

Sometimes the desire to achieve a certain fitness goal faster can lead to overtraining. It's extremely important to learn to recognize the signs of overtraining because the inability to maintain an optimal ratio between exercise and rest can have a series of adverse effects over our health.


Overtraining is a common problem for athletes who are preparing for important competitions as well as for those who are starting an exercise program after a certain period of pause. Overtraining is a relatively subjective term as it mostly depends on the fitness level of every individual and on several other factors. While there are certain recommendations that are made in order to avoid overtraining the truth is that there is no magical number we can rely on to tell us when we are overdoing it.

The overtraining syndrome (OTS) is defined as being a systematic chronic fatigue that is the result of an improper balance between overload and recovery. Failing to recognize the signs of overtraining can have serious effects over our health, and sometimes it can even take months to recover. Here are the most common signs of overtraining:

Decreased performance

If despite regular training sessions your performance continually decreases, this is a clear sign that you are training more than you should. It should be noted that this rule does not apply when you are trying to meet new training goals in which case a certain amount of regression is normal. However, failing to complete a routine that you used to have no problems with is one of the first noticeable signs that you should probably rest more.

Persistent muscle soreness, aches and pain

While occasional muscle soreness is perfectly normal, persistent aches and joint pains are a sign that your current exercise routine is too demanding and that you should probably make a few changes in your exercise program as well as including more rest. Also, if you notice that it's getting harder and harder to for you to recover after your regular routine, you should focus on getting more rest than you now get.

Sleeping problems

It's a well known fact that exercising in the late afternoon can lead to sleeping problems. But when despite the fact that you schedule your exercise sessions early every day you are still suffering from insomnia or muscle aches and joint pains keep you awake at night, it's clearly time to back off a little. Also if your heart rate is suddenly higher than usual it might be a signal that your body reacts to a persistent stressful situation, being another classic sign of burnout.

Compromised immune system

While moderate amounts of exercise can help you boost your immune system, excessive exercise can have the exactly opposite effect over our body.
Of course that other factors such as poor diet, not getting enough sunlight, lack of sleep as well as stressful events can have this effect over our natural immune system, if none of these seem to apply to you then overtraining might be the reason why you suddenly feel sick all the time. It should be noted that for women, lack of menstruation can also be a sign of overtraining.

Psychological changes

When the body is subjected to either mental stress of physiological stress several things can happen. Depression , inability to concentrate, anxiety, apathy and even appetite loss can all be side effects of overtraining. If exercise used to be a pleasurable moment you looked forward to and you suddenly lose the willingness and the excitement to exercise you should analyze the causes of this radical change. If you fail to identify a leading cause for this change try taking a break from your exercise routine. It might simply be the fact that you haven't given your body the chance to recover properly.

There are various solutions to help you deal with the symptoms of overtraining. Aside from getting proper rest and temporarily reduce the intensity and volume of your exercise routine you should also try deep tissue massage or sports massage to speed up muscle recovery. Monitor your calorie intake and increase the proteins you get in your diet to help rebuild muscles. Also, it would be a good idea to take vitamin and mineral supplements to compensate for the ones that you lost during training.



Tags: signs of overtraining, overtraining signs, overtraining symptoms, over training syndrome, OTS, over training effects, over training solutions, over training tips, exercise tips, healthy exercise, exercise


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