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Exercise is key to living a healthy lifestyle and some of us have some pretty intense athletic hobbies. However, we have a tendency to exercising beyond the body’s ability to recover. Excessive exercise can be dangerous and can actually cause risk to your health. There are at least 10 warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

10 Signs of Overtraining

  1. Excessive fatigue and malaise: Without full recovery, the body will continue to feel more and more fatigued and the desire to exercise decreases.
  2. Decreased performance: Slower reaction times, reduced speeds, and lowered endurance levels are common signs.
  3. Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration: Too much exercise with too little rest can cause mood swings and inability to concentrate.
  4. Increased effort during normal workouts: Previously easy workouts are now feeling hard and difficult.
  5. Chronic or nagging muscle aches or joint pain: Overused muscles and joints can cause constant aches and muscles may feel heavy. This can lead to other injuries.
  6. Depressed immune system: Frequent illness and upper respiratory infections can occur.
  7. Insomnia or restless sleep: Sleep is time for the body to rest and heal itself as well as develop strength. In an overtrained body it is difficult to slow down and completely relax making it hard to recover between workout sessions.
  8. Loss of appetite: There will be an increase release of two hormones called epinephrine and norepinephrine causing loss of appetite.
  9. Chronically elevated heart rate at rest and during exercise: This is a clear sign of an overtrained heart muscle. It will take longer for the heart rate to return to normal following a workout session.
  10. Menstrual cycle disturbances in women: Excessive exercise and not consuming enough calories can disrupt a women’s cycle. This can be irregular cycles or some may experience a complete stop altogether.

6 Ways to Decrease Signs of Overtraining

  1. Seek professional care
  2. Reduce or stop exercising to allow a few days of rest at minimum
  3. Drink plenty of water
  4. Use a heart rate monitor
  5. Cross-train
  6. Create a training log

The biggest fear of most athletes is losing their progress. However, your fitness level will not decrease and  your body will perform better with a little rest.
If you are experiencing signs of overtraining, the YMCA has partnered with DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan to provide physical therapy services on site at the Livonia, Carls and Macomb Family YMCA’s. The staff specializes in physical therapy, orthopedic therapy and sports medicine. To make an appointment call (313) 745-3380.