Without a doubt, regular exercise is key to long term health and vitality. Some of the common benefits include, improved cardiovascular health, losing weight and increased energy levels. As well, regular exercising will help you to think more clearly and may slow down the aging process. Within this article, I outline 8 signs you may be exercising too much.
However, while keeping in shape is important, equally important that I have learned the hard way after many years of exercising is to give your body the proper time to recuperate and heal.
Finding the right balance is what you want to aim for. If you find yourself getting injured regularly, then it could be a sign you are either working out too much, pushing yourself beyond your limits or not resting enough. It could also be a combination of all of them.
Look for signs like, tendonitis, shin splints, and heel spurs are just a few of the common injuries that you will see. For example, when I would train hard at running, I knew I was going to long and too often because my knee joints would start to get sore and feel stiff.
Keep in mind, as you increase the intensity of your workouts, especially if you are a beginner, the frequency needs to be reduced. For instance, if you are a newbie to exercising, you may only want to do 1 or 2 high intensity workouts each week.
This could be followed up by 1 to 2 times of a more paced exercise routine. That would be something like jogging at a constant pace for 20 minutes instead of sprinting for 1 minute, then resting for 1 like you would do for high intensity workouts.
As you get into better shape, you will find that you can reduce the frequency of your workouts. Think of it this way. As you increase your intensity, you will need more rest between workouts because you are now pushing your body to its maximum.
Here are 8 signs to look out for to avoid over training:
- You find yourself getting sick more often
- After exercising, you find yourself fatigued instead of being energized
- You have trouble sleeping – tip – don’t work out to close to bedtime
- Increased irritability or being short with people more often
- Your joints, limbs or bones are sore or stiff on a regular basis from over training
- Bouncing back from your workouts is taking longer to recuperate
- Increased weakness vs. improved strength i.e.: training with less weight
- Do you look forward to your workouts?
Have you ever heard the term – less is more?
This applies to exercise because of what we used to believe and think about exercise has not been turned upside down. I used to believe that exercising for 2 or 3 hours was better than exercising for 1 hour. It was a crazy to do all that looking back now and hindsight is always 20/20 – right? To give you an example of my training, here is what I used to do; weight training for 1 to 2 hours 5 to 6 times per week. This would be followed up by 1 hour of intense cardio. Although, I was a lot younger back then, at times
I knew I was over training because after a few months, I would find myself really stiff and sore. I just brushed it aside mentally as part of the process of getting into shape.
Fast forward a few years and hopefully a bit wiser, I now train far less. However, my workouts have shifted to high intensity workouts with proper rest and recuperation. The key is to listen to your body. I would recommend you don’t do more than 3 high intensity workout sessions per week. This is based on my own personal testing and from all the research I’ve read online on this topic.
Here are 5 areas to keep in mind to find the right balance while training that I have found works well for me:
1. Anaerobic Training – This is the high intensity training that I mentioned above. The key is to give yourself time to recover. I would suggest you alternate between 2 HIT workouts and 2 paced ones that are gentler on your body and muscles.
2. Strength training – you need to mix it up when you are working out. If you don’t, your level of fitness will actually start to stall. In other words, you want to aim for muscle confusion and rotate the types of exercises you do. Keep in mind, when you start to lift weights, try for a pyramid approach. In other words, start with the lowest weight and work up.
I remember working out with various people over the years that would do what’s called super sets. I would warm up briefly, then I would do 1 set of say curls for my biceps, rest 10 seconds, and increase the weight by say 5 pounds. I would end up doing about 6 to 8 sets in a row with only resting 10 to 15 seconds between each set. That was the mindset back many years ago.
The other approach is to do your reps very slowly until you reach muscle fatigue. Instead, you
3. Focus on core exercises – This is really important to overall health and wellness. It’s the core that provides the foundation to avoiding repetitive injuries. Many people will skip over ensuring they build up their core stomach and back muscles. Seriously, it’s crucial you especially focus on those 2 areas to maintain stability overall.
4. Make sure you stretch – Although typical methods to stretching are flawed in my opinion. You still want to include some stretching for a few minutes prior to working out. However, conventional wisdom tells us to stretch for 1 to 2 minutes per body part. You only need a few seconds for each muscle group to get increased blood flow. This will help get your muscles ready for what’s to come.
5. Don’t do aerobic activity before weight training – I personally found that on my weight days, if I did aerobic training prior to weights, I felt exhausted and did far less on the weights.