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Can Too Much Exercise Be Harmful?

Believe it or not, exercising too often may do more harm than good. I am a huge advocate for exercise. I have been doing it since my teen years and have never missed a beat. There are many that can be so into exercise that they can actually train too intensely for too long and it can have a negative impact on our health. We call this overtraining in the fitness world. Here are some signs that you are doing too much on the exercise side of your health. Higher intensity workouts have become the popular normal now. Many times these types of workouts can put you in a position where your recovery ability and hormones may suffer. Our hormones drive everything in the body and if certain key hormones like cortisol, dhea, testosterone, and growth hormone are not maximized, then you will not be reaping all of the benefits. Here are some keys that you might not be getting all that you are expecting from your workouts.

1.Brain Fog and Fatigue
When we over-exercise, especially aerobically, our nervous system is constantly stimulated. This can leave us feeling restless and producing too much cortisol. This stress hormone can actually do more harm than good if it is constantly elevated. This can leave us with a feeling of fatigue and brain fog during the day. 

2.No Excitement To Exercise
Now I know your thinking. “I feel this way about exercise all the time!”  However, for people who really enjoy exercising, this may seem a little contrary to their nature. If you start feeling this way on a regular basis, you have probably overtaxed your body and are headed into a state of overtraining.

3.Your Exhausted
This usually occurs with resistance training. When you constantly over stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system it shuts down the body. This will cause a major hormone shift that will do the exact opposite of what our goals are for working out. We will actually loose strength, lower testosterone, increase cortisol, and store more belly fat!

4.Disrupted Heart Rate
One major concern is that the exercise demands are too much for your body to handle. The metabolism is in overdrive and there is no amount of nutrients or oxygen to help the body recover from the strenuous workouts. You will notice an elevated heart rate in the morning when you wake up. 

Overall body inflammation can result from too much training. The joints will hurt, the body will ache, and a generalized irritability will take over. If you find yourself being a little snappier to others than usual, then you are probably overtrained. 

If one or more of these signs fit you, then here are some measures to take. Take 3-5 days off from exercise. Focus on getting great sleep and increase your calories by 500 per day. Your are wanting your body to recover, especially the nervous system. Afterwards, learn to pace yourself. If you workout 6 days per week, then drop it to 5 and see how your body reacts. It is a balancing act for any athlete who wants to up their performance and transform their body. That is why most people need a system and a coach.
If you need a coach to help you in this journey, contact our Lifestyle Team.

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*Exercise is Medicine is a campaign of the American College of Sports Medicine for health care professionals to encourage exercise for improving overall health.