You are probably sick of hearing about how important it is for your long-term health to combine a healthy diet with a regular workout plan. This healthy lifestyle campaign to which we have been exposed in recent years (mainly through Instagram #fitness #gymlife #nopainnogain) motivated many people to buy a gym subscription and start taking care of their bodies.
And that’s a wonderful thing. Some even became kind of addicted to exercising and the visible results it had on their appearance and energy throughout the day. But exercising too much and in the wrong way may do you more harm than good.
We all have that friend that all of a sudden became a fitness expert after intensive 2-hour research on Google. They bought a kitchen scale to weigh all their food, they keep track of all calories in a cool fitness app, have a cabinet full of workout supplements, developed a workout plan (exercising twice a day), etc.
While all this may end up working great, there are a few dangers of over-exercising. Let’s see seven signs that may indicate that you need to lower your exercising frequency or intensity.
- 1. Short-term over-exercising symptoms
Abnormally fast heartbeat, dehydration, weakness, dizziness, extreme shortness of breath, and disorientation. These symptoms quickly tell you that your workout plan is clearly exaggerated (or at least that your body is not ready yet for such an intense session).
Most people experience one of these symptoms the first time they hit the gym for a cardio workout after months – or even years – without exercising. Take things slowly because your body needs to adapt first.
It is normal to feel muscle fatigue a couple of days after working out (muscle pain can peak 24-72 hours after a very intensive workout), especially while you are still trying to build a regular exercising plan.
That’s why it is recommended to work different muscles per session: if Monday is your leg day, on Tuesday, you should do an abs and shoulder workout, for example, so that your leg muscles can rest.
But if you feel that the exhaustion you are experiencing extends beyond the normal recovery periods, it may be an over-exercising effect. You should readapt your plan and make it slightly lighter.
You should know the difference between the type of pain that can put you in danger of developing a serious injury and normal soreness. Don’t take the #nopainnogain we mentioned earlier too seriously.
If during your workout session, you suddenly feel intense pain, you should immediately stop (even if you still think you can push it for longer) before you aggravate your injury.
Don’t be afraid to seek medical assistance. If you feel some discomfort or slight pain and you ignore it, it might become something really serious that interferes not only with your workout plan but also with your mobility.
4. Cardiac fibrosis
Myocardial fibrosis (a specific form of cardiac fibrosis) is a health condition where the heart’s valves abnormally thicken. This condition is very common amongst top-level athletes, as excessive training is one of its causes.
When your body is constantly submitted to high-intensity exercising, the heart’s structure and large arteries may start to remodel themselves. In a bad way. Myocardial fibrosis is a cardiac disease that is commonly associated with sudden cardiac death.
This could mean that there’s a limit for exercising intensity. However, according to a study published in 2016, it is worth mentioning that endurance athletes (the ones whose body is constantly being taken to its limits) have low mortality rates.
5. Hormonal and immune system issues
Excessive exercising could interfere with the female hormones (potentially affecting the menstrual cycle – causing amenorrhea), and make the body produce high levels of cortisol – eventually leading to a decrease in testosterone levels and the immune system’s efficiency. If you are experiencing any of this, make sure to tell your doctor about your workout plan, as it may help with the diagnose.
- 6. Chronic injuries
Chronic injuries are another sign that you might be exercising too much and not giving enough time for your body to recover in between your workout sessions. These types of injuries usually have subtle symptoms that might be hard to point out, and because of that, people tend to keep exercising as if nothing is happening.
Those subtle symptoms, if not treated properly and if you continue to put them through the stress of exercising, could grow into serious and debilitating injuries.
If you start to notice a constant decrease in your overall workout performance, you might be exercising too much. When you are fatigued, your body will lose endurance, and your sore muscles won’t be able to deliver as they normally do. Talk to some fitness professional at your gym and ask him to build you a new workout plan.
Make sure that you get professional help before starting working out. Don’t think that just because you’ve read a dozen blog posts about somebody else’s journey that you are prepared to build your exercising routine. A good professional will do this for you. They will make sure to create a personalized plan to help you achieve your goals faster and safer.
Ask how every machine at the gym should be handled, and if your technique is satisfactory. You would be amazed by how many injuries are due to mishandling exercising machines or doing the exercises in the wrong way.
And remember: most of the time, more exercising doesn’t necessarily mean that you will achieve the results you want faster. Adequate rest plays an important role not only in preventing injuries but also in muscle growth. It is also important that you don’t start working out like an experienced athlete. Take it slow and increase the intensity progressively.