Like all things bright and beautiful, too much exercise can turn out bad. It can lead to serious health damage such as muscle fatigue, injury, and even psychological stress.
Experts are now informing the public of the adverse consequences of over-exercising, a possibility that remains foreign to many as people generally believe that exercise per se is beneficial.
But truth be told, exercise has to be executed the right way, at the right time, and at the right place even. Here are some of the general limits of exercise so you better know when to slow down your pacing.
Prolonged Muscle Soreness
Initial soreness is natural but soreness that lasts for more than 3 days is already a sign that you are over exercising. Don’t simply ignore this warning sign and find some time to rest. Let your body recover from the training.
Otherwise, your condition will only get worse. If possible, seek medical attention when the soreness lasts longer as there may be an underlying serious problem like the tearing of muscles or an invisible bruising that requires more than just taking pain relievers.
Exercise should invigorate your senses, not the other way around. Your body also gets tired from the squats and presses you’re constantly undertaking, albeit more likely your mind is still willing.
The moment you notice you are not as energetic as you used to be during the initial months of training, then slow down a little bit and give your body ample time to rest. You may also vary your routine and reduce the number of reps, so the entire program remains light.
Alongside fatigue is decreased performance that only gets worse and worse through time. This indicates that your body isn’t capable anymore of going through another stretch of strenuous activity, especially that your appetite and immune system will more likely be upset as well when you’re overexercised.
Compromised Immune System
Healthy people normally have strong (or at least fairly good immune system). Overexercising may deplete your body’s nutrients, tire you physically, and make you vulnerable to illnesses as your immune system is compromised. You easily catch colds, feel low, and sometimes even experience unintentional significant weight loss.
The onset of lifestyle diseases like hypertension and high resting pulse rate (i.e., sub 50 or 60 bpm) is also a warning sign that you should slow down with your exercise sessions, particularly when there are no known existing medical conditions or risk factors. You may have started your program too strong, perhaps due to excitement or eagerness to see results.
Loss of Fitness Motivation
The consequences of prolonged intense exercise without proper care are not limited to the physical aspect. They include psychological effects such as loss of fitness motivation. It comes alongside the prolonged low energy that commonly occurs when you push yourself past the limits.
More so, your mood constantly fluctuates. At times you feel agitated and irritable, at other times you feel too calm, bordering on inactivity. Stretching yourself past your limits causes self-imposed stress and you know how stress messes up with your hormones.
Cortisol, for one, results in anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia, studies show. At high levels, cortisol suppresses the level of serotonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of high. It is, therefore, possible for a person to feel depressed when over-exercised.
Slow Down When You Have Hit Your Target
Some exercise programs are compact; the sets are designed to be intense all throughout the course and with specific, quantifiable goals. This is alright, given that there are scheduled rests in between.
Once these are achieved, instead of pushing harder, try to take a break. Your body cannot sustain a prolonged and constant state of plateau.
Remember that your body will always, always seek homeostasis. It cannot survive with a prolonged and frequent high or a prolonged and frequent low. There should be a balance, a right mix of activity and inactivity. So rest in between your sessions, replenish body fluids, eat right, and sleep well.
Give yourself ample time to recover. Otherwise, psychological and physical burnout will occur. Lastly, be realistic with your goals and control your emotions. Learn how to listen to your body.