You rarely hear someone say you exercise too much. Indeed, it can be a bit of a blow to your motivation to hear that you’re working entirely too hard (mostly if you’re succeeding in your fitness goals). Believe it or not, this can happen. According to doctors, it’s possible to overdo it in the gym.
The problem is that when you exercise too much, all your efforts may begin to work against you. As with anything in life, you need to find a healthy balance. That will require you to pay attention to these ten signs that, according to doctors, indicate that you exercise too much.
1. You’re working out every day.
You may think that pushing yourself hard every day will get you to your fitness goals faster, so it seems logical that working out every day is the answer. In fact, many people enjoy working out, so it’s not hard for them to hit the gym every day. For them, the gym is like a second home.
As logical as this may seem, when you exercise too much, it’s counterproductive. Your body must have rest days to rebuild and repair itself. Taking time away from working out is just as important as pushing yourself.
If you work out every day, you don’t need any other signs to tell you you’re working out too much. Science has already established that doing so is a bad idea.
2. You can’t perform at the level you usually do.
Going hardcore helps you build your fitness level, which leads to you being able to do even more. However, if you exercise too much, you’ll begin to notice that you can’t match what you’ve been doing in the past. You won’t have it in you.
This is an indicator that you’re overdoing it, especially if you’ve been consistent in your training, and you know that you should be able to do more. If this is happening to you, consider that you may need to cut back a bit. Try it and see if this helps. If it does, you’ll know that was your problem.
3. You’re exhausted.
Many people who are serious about their fitness will push themselves to work out even when fatigue sets in. This is the wrong thing to do. Being tired is your body’s way of telling you it needs a break, and you should listen.
With the world we live in these days, people are busy. You’re busy. You might not even be exhausted from the gym. It could be work, kids – life in general. Mental exhaustion is just as bad as physical exhaustion because the mind and body are connected.
No matter what the reason is, you can’t exercise while dealing with exhaustion or fatigue. It’s dangerous, and you likely won’t be able to perform as well as you usually would anyway. Plus, your muscles can’t recover as they need to without adequate rest.
4. Your resting heart rate is elevated.
Usually, regular exercise reduces your resting heart rate and keeps it at a safe number. In fact, doctors will tell you that the best way to lower your resting heart rate is exercise.
However, when you exercise too much, this causes your heart to work harder to compensate for the extra activity. As you know, the effects of a great workout can last up to 48 hours after you leave the gym, so your heart may be compensating for the next 48 hours. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that your resting heart rate is elevated.
Continuously pushing your heart can lead to serious health consequences, even if you’re in the best shape of your life. It’s essential to have the right balance of exercise to keep your resting heart rate at a safe level.
Target heart rate charts exist for a reason. These charts are guides to safely pushing yourself without causing damage. They’ve been around for decades and have been vetted by expert medical professionals and scientists, so it’s safe to say that they’re accurate.
With that being said, if you’re exceeding the maximum target heart rate on the chart for your age and gender, it’s clear that you exercise too much. You may even want to say that you’re exercising too hard. Either way, you say it, you need to tone it back some for your safety.
You can trust the numbers on the chart. As long as you stay within your target range, you’re getting the workout you need.
6. You’re getting injured often.
People get injured now and again. However, if you’re frequently getting hurt, this is a sign that your muscles aren’t recovering as they need to from your workouts. Sure, there could be many reasons why this is happening, but the most likely reason is that you’re exercising too much.
This topic was covered in sign number two above – working out too much causes fatigue, and when you’re fatigued, your muscles don’t have what they need to heal from your workouts. This leads to overuse injuries. Eventually, you may permanently damage your muscles.
The best thing you can do if you’re continually getting injured is take a break and give your body plenty of time to recover.
7. You have strange mood swings.
Exercising is a natural mood booster. When you’ve completed a great workout, you’ll usually feel good. However, exercising too much can have the opposite effect on your mental health. You probably never thought about what too much exercise can do you your mind.
Too much exercise leaves you tired, injured, and defeated. You may not even be aware that you’re feeling like this until someone else points it out to you. When you’re in this state of mind, you will start having mood swings. You may find yourself lashing out at others or not feeling sociable.
8.You’ve lost your appetite.
When you’re overtraining, your body attempts to make up for it by slowing down, or in extreme cases, stopping specific processes. It takes the energy from those processes and diverts it to where it’s needed the most. In the case of overtraining, it’s shifting the strength to your muscles.
One of those processes is your metabolism. It slows down to a point where you don’t feel starving, especially after a challenging workout.
This sounds like a good thing, but before you start celebrating, remember that metabolism is also what burns calories and makes you lose weight. Therefore, slowing down your metabolism slows down your weight loss efforts.
9. Your sleep patterns are off.
It would seem like pushing yourself too hard and being exhausted would make you sleep more, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Under normal circumstances, exercise helps you get a good night of sleep. However, exercising too much isn’t normal circumstances.
In the previous section, it was stated that specific processes might slow down or stop. One of those processes is the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for slowing you down after you’ve hyped yourself up. It’s the kill switch to the “fight or flight” reaction.
When this system stops functioning correctly, it’s hard for you to slow down and get some quality sleep. You may even begin to suffer from insomnia, which will lead to other problems. If this is happening to you already, it’s easy to make it go away. Stop exercising too much, and give your body a good long break.
10. You keep getting sick.
Another system that slows down when you exercise too much is your immune system. Your body won’t have enough energy to keep it functioning correctly. This leaves you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.
You’ll probably find that you’re getting sick often. It may not be terrible at first – just your typical cold symptoms. You may be able to fight through these, thinking they’ll go away. However, the longer you keep pushing yourself, the worse it will get.