Frequent, moderate-intensity exercise is essential to keeping a strong and healthy body, but there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing
Regular, intense exercise can actually place a considerable strain on the body’s various systems, and as the body struggles to recover from the extremes it is put through during bouts of exercise, you may notice various symptoms beginning to manifest – this condition is known as Overtraining Syndrome.
What does Overtraining Syndrome look like?
Overtraining Syndrome will typically affect more advanced athletes who are regularly pushing their bodies to greater extremes; however, it can affect any of us to varying degrees depending on our current fitness levels and genetic predisposition for recovering from intense exercise.
Some of the telltale signs of Overtraining Syndrome can include:
- Loss of appetite;
- Loss of sleep;
- Bad or inconsistent moods;
- Decreased libido and sex drive;
- Increased resting heart rate;
- Suppressed immunity; and
- Loss of motivation to exercise;
When it comes to Overtraining Syndrome, prevention is always the best medicine, and it is important that you pay attention to your body as you gain more experience exercising.
This will enable you to identify when you are pushing yourself too far and it is time to back off for a while.
Optimizing Your Recovery
Active recovery is a great way of stemming the tide of overtraining; this can include brisk walking, swimming, or simple daily chores like yard work that get you moving and using your body.
There are various other methods you can apply to help your body to recover from exercise, including:
- Getting plenty of sleep every night, 7 or 8 hours should be adequate for most people;
- Eating a balanced, nutritionally-balanced diet consisting of adequate protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and sufficient carbohydrates to fuel your workouts;
- Limiting your intake of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and any other substances which may dampen your immune and nervous systems, and subsequently, your recovery capabilities; and
- Using an intra-workout drink with low-osmolality carbohydrates and amino acids
The key here is to adopt a lifestyle which will be conducive to a healthy body which is more than capable of handling anything you throw at it; this will be achieved by covering as many bases as you can and generally striving for improved health and wellbeing in general.
Some people are genetically inclined to have a hard time recovering from extreme exercise while others will be fortunate enough to not have to go to such lengths in order to keep their bodies in check.
Recovery and overtraining are highly individualized and if there is a take-home message from this article it is this – keep an open mind with regards to how you exercise and don’t be afraid to experiment a little in order to decipher your own body.
This will enable you to find out what works for you and what doesn’t, and will help to safeguard your future fitness and health so that you can frequently push yourself further and reap the massive benefits of exercise.