If exercising is good, then exercising more is better, right? The answer, not necessarily. While you should aim to exercise, or at least move for an extended period of time, every day, there are times when the body needs rest to function properly. Exercise can become an addiction, and, especially when we have seen improvement, we begin to feel like we HAVE to exercise or we will lose everything we have worked for.
When exercise starts to feel like a chore, or that you have to force yourself to exercise, or that your workouts are more like going through the motions, then it is possible you are experience overtraining syndrome. Some signs and symptoms of overtraining are:
- Persistent muscle soreness
- Elevated resting heart rate
- Increase incidence of injuries
- Loss of motivation
- Decreased exercise intensity
So how can you avoid or eliminate overtraining syndrome?
- Practice ACTIVE RECOVERY DAYS. This involves light stretching (static and dynamic), foam rolling or massage, and body weight or extremely light weight exercises, and/or pool/hot tub/sauna work if you have that ability.
- Focus on weights and/or cardio 5 days/week, and rest 2 days/week
- Listen to your body, sometimes it needs rest. It is perfectly OK to take a few days-week off. You will not lose your gains, I promise. On average it takes 2 WEEKS for strength gains to decrease, and often after a week off people tend to feel stronger and refreshed.
- Add variety to your workouts
- Focus on getting 30 minutes/day of some sort of activity…exercise doesn’t have to be hours upon hours
Listen to your body. If you start to experience, or have experienced these symptoms, take time to rest and recover. I guarantee your body and your gains will thank you for it.