Exercise is always towards the top of the list of things we should do to stay healthy. It plays a role in our everyday lives from the way we feel and look, to our energy levels and ability to push that extra little bit just when we need it. Yet, like everything in life there's a fine line that people sometimes cross. As we all know, there can be too much of a good thing and exercising is no different.
How do you know when you've crossed that line? Short of collapsing and ending up in the hospital, there are certainly signs that show you're heading in that direction. When you're at the point where the signs begin to show, it may be time to take a few days off or change to something a bit less taxing on your body.
Exercising should be something we find some joy in. Whether it's an escape from the daily grind, or the way we feel when we're done with a workout. At some point, there has got to be something we like about it that makes us want to do it again. If you find a workout you once loved is now leaving you feeling unmotivated and there's no joy in it, it could be a signal that you're burned out. Taking a few days off, or a change of routine for a short period of time, could do some good and reinvigorate you.
Exercising taxes the body. It forces it to work harder than normal for short periods so that it can become stronger over time. It's normal to be a bit sore after a workout. The body can also reach a point though where it never has time to recover due to over exercising. This can lead to injuries that could take months to recover from, and erase any fitness gains you may have worked hard to achieve. Is that risk worth it, or is it better to take a few days or a week off, and come back stronger and more recharged than ever?
One of the often mentioned benefits of exercising is that it puts us in a better mood. Over exercising can actually have the opposite effect where we become moody. Anger, depression, irritability, and all the other emotions that happen when we're mentally stressed are also consequences we experience when we're physically stressed and overworked. If you're starting to experience these emotions instead of the happiness you once had from working out, it might be time to reevaluate your routine or tone it down a bit.
One of the most important things for the body to get is sleep and rest. This is especially important when you have a difficult workout routine as it gives the body time to recover for the next day. When the body gets overloaded though, whether emotionally or physically, it can lead to sleeping problems such as insomnia. So that very rest your body needs to get stronger gets stolen, and you'll instead find yourself getting weaker. This is yet another sign that your exercise routine might be going a bit too far.
Fat Gain and Decreased Appetite
One oddity and sign of over exercising is that workouts stop doing what we want them to and start doing the opposite. If you're noticing your weight continuing to drop but seeing an increase in fat gain, it's almost a certain sign of over exercising. You might also notice a decrease in appetite, as these two things go hand in hand. The over exercising leads to a slowing of the metabolism as the body tries to force you to physically slow down. As we all have heard, a slowing metabolism leads to fat gain. It's a catch-22 and a sure sign of pushing too hard.
Decreased Performance and Fatigue
If you start feeling sluggish and fatigued, both mentally and physically, it could be a sign you're over exercising. This sluggishness leads to a decrease in performance, which means you're not maximizing your workouts. Sometimes a workout will give you a short burst of energy, but it's only a temporary boost. If you're more often feeling the ill effects than the extra energy, something's wrong. It's a sign that over exercising is the culprit.
While any of these signs happening sporadically isn't necessarily a sign of over exercising as we all have our off days, having them continue for an extended period of time certainly can be a call to slow things down a bit.