The Risks of Exercising Too Much
As we touched on in your introduction, exercising too much can come from an emotional and physical addiction, or from simply overtraining.
And unfortunately, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. That is the situation with the physical stress that you put on your body will work out.
Do not get us wrong. Your body needs exercise for you to live a long, healthy life. When you stress your muscles and expend moderate to intense levels of physical exertion, your body begins to heal stronger and healthier after that workout is over. This is a simple physiological process that allows human beings to adapt to adverse conditions.
And at one level it is very healthy. But unfortunately, some fitness fans get caught up in the process, either through addiction or accidentally.
- Heart attack
- Shorter lifespan
- Heart diseases
- Weakened immunity system
- Damaged muscles and tendons
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Altered sense of reality
Rhabdomyolysis is a physical disorder where your muscles begin to break down. Instead of repairing themselves stronger and healthier, they release the natural components that they are composed of. Your muscle cell membranes are damaged, as is those infected muscles’ ability to produce energy.
This is a disorder that is frequently associated with CrossFit training. But make no mistake about it. This debilitating and physically crushing impairment can come about if you exercise too hard, using any particular fitness regimen.
The list of heart problems shown above is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the dangers of overexercising are concerned. Mental and emotional damage can also occur. Those who become addicted to working out can suffer from an incorrect perception of themselves, their bodies and the world around them.
This it leads to problems with relationships at home and at work, and often times an inability to function as a “normal” member of society. From the brain to the body, inside and out, the dangers of overtraining are widely known. How do you know if you may be putting your health and life at jeopardy when it comes to physical fitness? Let’s find out.
Understanding that overdoing it in the gym or with your fitness program is a great start to keeping yourself strong and healthy. But knowledge is not enough. You have to take smart action based on that knowledge. The first thing you need to know is if indeed you are exercising too much. If any of the following 10 signs seem familiar to you, you just may be addicted to exercise, or accidentally overdoing it.
1 – You exercise for emotional reasons, not physical ones.
Your body releases “feel good” chemicals during periods of physical stress. This includes when you work out. For some, this may be the only area of their life where they feel successful. This could lead you to workout in response to emotional triggers. And if you answer your feelings with exercise too frequently, you suffer the physical and mental risks discussed in the previous chapter.
2 – You feel wiped out instead of vitalized.
The proper amount of exercise should leave you feeling challenged and tested, but alert and energized as well. The old adage “no pain, no gain” is not healthy, and neither are you if you always work out to the point of exhaustion.
3 – You catch colds and flus easily.
This is a classic symptom of someone who exercises way too much. What happens is, you beat down your immune system. You are training so frequently, your body’s defense system cannot keep up. When a cold, flu or virus comes along, your weakened immunity against infection means that you get sick quickly, and it takes you longer than normal to get better.
4 – Your sleep patterns are not normal.
The stress you cause your body and mind when you push yourself too hard can definitely affect how much sleep you get. In some, the negative impact of overtraining can cause the desire to sleep forever. In others, the inability to fall to sleep is a sign that they are exercising too frequently.
5 – You have a short temper.
When your body is over-stressed, over-trained and over-worked, your brain starts to give you signals that you need to slow down. When you do not respond by lowering the frequency and intensity of your workouts, an inclination for hair-trigger emotional outbursts can be the result.
6 – Your muscles always feel sore, for days on end.
Proper exercising benefits your body through a tear-down and repair cycle. That is why you should never train the same muscle group on back-to-back days. If you feel sore all the time, this could be due to over-training.
7 – You exercise when you are tired, or even sick.
Your body will tell you when you should and should not exercise, sleep or engage in any other activity, if you just listen to it. Never exercise when you are physically sick or exhausted. Your body is in no shape to take the physical stress exercise delivers.
8 – You suffer from a guilty complex when you do not workout daily.
If you skip a workout every now and then, do not beat yourself up. And if you are suffering from pangs of guilt and anxiety because you do not work out 7 days a week, you are probably over-training yourself.
9 – Your self-esteem is attached to how often you workout.
You should never judge your day or your life as bad or good based on how much you exercise. This is where dangerous addiction can begin to develop, as you treat your feelings of low self-worth with more exercise.
10 – You arrange your life around exercise, rather than the other way around.
Do you arrange and cancel work meetings, social outings and other life experiences around your workout regimen? To some extent, this is just dedication. But when you take it too far, your coworkers, friends and family members will let you know that you are probably exercising too often.
Did you identify any warning signs that you may be doing your body more harm than good because of your exercise? If so, it is important that you know the reason why you are overexercising. It is only then that you can take the proper steps to regain control over a smart and healthy workout program.