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Too Much Of A Good Thing - Warning Signs of Too Much Exercise

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Too much exercise can be just as bad as overeating. It can actually become a very serious health concern. What are some of the signs that you are going overboard when it comes to exercise? One of the main signs that you are exercising too much is that you will find yourself feeling exhausted instead of energized. You should not continue exercising to the point of exhaustion. Other signs of overindulgence in exercise include decreased performance, loss of appetite and frequent headaches. You may even become aware of increased muscle soreness, loss of coordination or recurrent illness. Depression can also be brought on by overexercising, as can gastrointestinal disturbances and an abnormal increase in your heart rate in the morning.

So, what are some of the warning signs that someone else may notice? How do you begin to distinguish that you or someone you love is overexercising before the more serious physical symptoms set in? This can be a fine line, but here are some of the basic signs:

If you suddenly find yourself engaged in vigorous exercise for several hours at a time at least several times during the week, it may be time to slow down. Exercise should allow for fun, and it should not take away from school, friends or family. If you continue to workout after an injury, this too could be a sign of trouble. You should not be so serious about your exercise that it becomes a compulsion. Finally, if you do not gain satisfaction from what you accomplish during exercise, then it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your plan.

According to the Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association, one of the ways you can tell if you are performing too much exercise is to ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Do you feel guilty or anxious when you are not able to exercise for a day or over a period of time?
  • Do you avoid other tasks and responsibilities in order to exercise?
  • Is your happiness based on how well you exercise, or how good your workout was for a given day?
  • Do you exercise even when you have an injury, no matter how small or large it is?

Not only can too much exercise damage your health, it can even make your muscles more prone to damage. Serious side effects of rapidly building your muscles can include: pulled muscles, shin splints, and knee, foot and back problems. These problems are not fun to deal with and can have lifetime recurrences.

Professional athletes and movie stars are on a program, where they work with a personal trainer that has created an exercise program specifically for them. They dont start out training for hours on end. They start out slow and gradually work their way up to a more vigorous workout. Not only does this allow the body more time to adjust to the changes, it is the healthy way to develop muscles.

Overindulgence in anything, whether it is exercise or eating, can be dangerous. The key is to maintain a healthy balance. Results that are healthy and lasting can take anywhere from a few months to a year, so be realistic in setting your goals and give your body the time it needs to adjust to your new, healthier lifestyle.

The top ten signs you are exercising too much:

1. Decreased performance

2. Headaches

3. Loss of appetite

4. Muscle soreness/tenderness

5. Gastrointestinal disturbances

6. Prolonged recovery

7. Loss of coordination

8. Recurrent illness

9. Morning heart rate is faster than normal

10. Depression, apathy, problems concentrating, lower self-esteem and unmanageable stress

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms and feel you can’t manage them on your own, you should consult a professional.

Dr. Nancy Tice is a psychiatrist with extensive experience furnishing medical information and writing articles for online services. She did her medical training at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She moderates her own support group called "Rx for Success," writes articles for the eDiets newsletters, holds online meetings and answers questions in our Expert Interaction section.

The goal of BODi is to provide you with solutions to reach your health and fitness goals. Click here to learn more about BODi Coach Rich Dafter.

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