Sometimes Less is More: Here’s Why Too Much Exercise May be Sabotaging Your Fitness Routine

Give your body a break!

By: Ilyse Rogozenski

Exercise is great for you. But if you exercise too much, it can have the opposite effect. Would you believe that some people exercise too much? It’s true. And that’s not good for your body or your mind. In fact, for some, it can be the start of something that warrants intervention.

The Effects of Overtraining

Putting your body through the excess stress of overtraining can lead to some health problems—both mental and physical. Here are a few negative effects you may experience if you are overdoing it:

Extreme fatigue

This one should be obvious. All that exercise will leave your body completely drained. Even a good night’s sleep won’t be enough to help you recover. Exercise is hard work for your body and the more you put it through, the more tired you are going to be each day. Your body needs a break to recover before you resume your next planned workout.

Diminished performance

If you are training for a specific sport or fitness challenge, your workouts may have to be more than the average exerciser, but if you are overdoing your training, your performance is going to suffer come game time. The same goes for the everyday exerciser who can also experience a decrease in performance. You’ll notice those weights aren’t as easy to lift or your 5-mile runs are getting more difficult when they should be getting easier.

Changes in mood

Even your mental health will suffer from too much exercise. Mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, and even anger can occur. After all, you’re exhausted, sore and run down. That’s enough to put anyone in a bad mood.

Lack of interest in exercise

This may seem ironic—you feel compelled to exercise, and yet you’ll have a decreased interest in it. Perhaps this is what’s referred to as too much of a good thing. And a lack of interest in exercise can also lead to giving it up altogether which you don’t want to do.

Other effects include increased risk of injury, hormone imbalances for women and changes in your heart rate.

Why do People Exercise Too Much?

People who exercise excessively may do so for a variety of reasons.

  • You’re are a beginner who thinks more exercise is better
  • You are trying to lose weight and only have a short amount of time to do it
  • You’re training for a marathon, race, sport, etc.
  • You are trying to out train (or punish yourself) for your poor diet

For some people, exercise becomes an addiction. They like the “high” they get after they exercise so they do it often to keep that feeling going. It’s no different than drugs or alcohol at this point. Yet, they don’t see it as an addiction, but rather doing something good for themselves. After all, people see them exercising, they may get praise for it and that kind of attention is justification for continuing their extreme behavior.

What Should You Do if You are Doing Too Much?

Quitting cold turkey won’t work, but taking a few days off will. Give your body a chance to recover because it desperately needs it after all the overtraining you’ve done. After the short break, come up with a plan that meets your goals without putting your body through the wringer. An effective plan should include recovery days that can still have a low level of activity in it such as a brisk walk or doing some yoga. You don’t want a plan that has you pushing yourself to your max every day, multiple times a day.

The Bottom Line

FitOn has great plans for all fitness levels so if you’re a beginner, you won’t overdo it and if you’re more advanced, you will still be able to get the results you want without pushing your body to the point of extreme exhaustion. Treat your workouts like a marathon—pacing yourself will get you to the finish line much faster than running out of steam at the halfway point.