It is quite common for people to become overzealous with their exercise program especially if you are competing in a particular event. The endorphins, adrenalin and serotonin released during exercise can be addictive to the point that individuals seek to exercise at all costs rather than listen to their bodies when they need a rest. This article is not referring to the exerciser who is just doing the recommended amount of exercise for health (e.g. walking for thirty minutes most days per week) but more so for those individuals who are pushing their bodies to the limit in order to achieve a new level of fitness.
Plan your Rest Days
It is critical to ensure that you plan your rest days from training for a variety of reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological. In particular rest from training allows:
- Muscles to repair, rebuild and strengthen.
- The body to remove the chemicals that build up as a result of cell activity during exercise such as lactic acid.
- The body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.
- Brain chemicals to replenish that are depleted during exercise such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
- A better balance between home, work and fitness goals to be achieved.
If we do not allow our bodies to recover from training and exercise we can develop the symptoms and signs of overtraining as explained below.
Signs & Symptoms That You Are Overtraining
If you are experiencing any of the below signs and symptoms you may be suffering from overtraining. They include:
- Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
- Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Sudden drop in performance
- Decreased immunity (increased number of colds and sore throats)
- Decrease in training capacity/intensity
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of enthusiasm for exercise or sport
- Decreased appetite
- Increased incidence of injuries
Asking someone that is close to you if they think you are overtraining might be a helpful, subjective way to assess whether you need to incorporate some rest days into your training schedule.