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Overtraining – how to avoid this and look after your body – 3 Pillar of a healthy Lifestyle

Overtraining syndrome frequently occurs in people who are training every day and train beyond the body’s ability to recover.  People often exercise longer and harder so they can improve or loose weight. But without adequate rest and recovery, these training regimens can backfire, and actually decrease performance and weight loss might be hindered. Overtraining syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms the body creates to say “I’ve had enough–I’m too exhausted to keep up.” You will feel more fatigued, your performance also suffers and when these symptoms are combined with an exercise regimen that is consistently excessive, you have overtraining syndrome. There are 5 major signs for your look out for: 1. Lower Energy Consistent fatigue that does not go away is a big indicator of overtraining syndrome. You probably feel drained, exhausted or just can’t get your energy back, even when you do try to rest. This then seep into your exercise, lowering performance. For instance, if you are a bodybuilder, you may struggle lifting the same weights that you have before. If you’re a sprinter, your time suffers, no matter how hard you try. Or it can be that you simply have a harder tying focussing at work. 2. Constant Aches and Pains After a sudden bout of intense exercise, you’re expected to feel muscle soreness for a few days, something called delayed onset muscle soreness –  DOMS.  But if you continue to train at the same intensity for weeks or months but still feel aches and pains, it may be overtraining syndrome. People who have this syndrome usually feel consistent, but mild, pain in their muscles and joints. Headaches also occur. Regardless of how the pain is treated, it never goes away–it lingers, causing a constant state of pain. 3. Decreased Immunity Ironically, excessive exercise decreases your immunity, making the body susceptible to minor illnesses. You may have more colds or sore throats, or just generally feel “a bit off” more often, even if your nutrition and sleep schedule is optimal. Normally, these illnesses tell people to stay out of the gym and rest, but if you have overtraining syndrome, you exercise anyway, thinking that you’re “hardcore” or “won’t make any excuses.” This only makes the symptoms worse.

4. Mood Changes It’s not uncommon to develop mood changes once overtraining syndrome develops. This can manifest in many forms. For some people, they feel more moody and irritable. Others develop depression and complain of “mental exhaustion.” Some people develop a poor attitude to exercise. Regardless of which mood changes you experience, all of them are indicative of overtraining syndrome. It’s a sign to stop exercising so much.

5. Sleep Problems Sleep problems are common in athletes with overtraining syndrome–but even non-athletes with this condition develop sleep disturbances. According to the Curtin University School of Physiotherapy, 90 percent of athletes experience nightmares, have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night. In turn, they often have unsatisfactory sleep, increasing fatigue. As the overtraining continues, sleep becomes worse, and the symptoms worsen.

So what can you do: If you recognize any of these warning signs of overtraining, it’s important to objectively reassess your training routine and make adjustments before you wind up sick or injured.

If you suspect you are overtraining, start with the following: •           Rest and Recover. Reduce or stop exercise and allow yourself a few days of rest. •           Hydrate, Drink plenty of fluids and alter your diet if necessary. •           Get a sports massage. This may help relax you mentally and physically.

Research on overtraining syndrome shows getting adequate rest is the primary treatment plan. New evidence indicates that low levels of exercise, or “active recovery”, during the rest period speeds recovery and moderate exercise can help lift the immunity.

In professional sports, top coaches often instigate a period of “active recovery” also known as “active rest” into their athletes program when signs of overtraining syndrome appear. This not only protects the athlete’s health and wellbeing but since this allows body to recover sufficiently, it often has the added benefit of enabling the athlete to take another “step-up” in their level of performance when they start training intensely again.

Remember, too much of anything – even good things – can become a bad thing. Make sure you get enough rest along with you exercise.

Till next time, Melissa 🙂 

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