Exercise is something we know we should do, but often put off for as long as possible. Once you get started, though, the feelings of renewal and the ability to move more freely can often push you to do more than you should. The elevated mood that comes with regular exercise is due to the increased production of endorphins in the brain. We tend to push ourselves beyond our limits to reach our weight loss or fitness goals that much faster. There are risks to exercising too much, however.
Don’t Overdo It!
Don’t overdo it! Doing too much too often won’t allow your body to get the rest it needs. Whenever you exercise, your muscles, bones, and connective tissue are strengthened. During these growth periods, changes occur. Muscle fibers are produced while bones draw in calcium and magnesium and become stronger. The exercise you perform during the day, sets the stage for the growth that takes place when you are at rest. If you exercise too much and don’t rest your body like you should, your body doesn’t get the time it needs to fully rejuvenate, making it hard for new muscle and bone tissue to form. It also prevents minor injuries from healing.
Stress the Joints
Too much exercise is also hard on the joints. During exercise, tiny microtears may form in muscle and connective tissues. While these aren’t significant injuries, they can become major problems, especially if you don’t rest like you should. Too much constant stress on the joints can lead to chronic pain and discomfort. It’s important to remember that you will see steadier growth if you follow a regular cycle of exercise and rest. Forcing yourself to push past your physical boundaries can result in damage to the musculoskeletal system and may lead to conditions like arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis.
Increases Your Chance of an Injury
Another drawback of too much exercise is that it dramatically increases your risk of injury. Athletes understand what they have to do to maintain their physical health so they can play at the top of their games. If you don’t have an athletic background, it can be more difficult to determine how much is too much.
One key thing to note during an exercise session is if you begin to experience any pain or fatigue that doesn’t go away when you stop exercising. This nagging pain can mean that you are putting too much stress on your joints and may be leading up to an injury. Slow down. Rest the joint for a few days and lighten the load you place on it. Fewer reps and lighter weights will help you to get back on track. Reduce your risk of a potential injury by following your body’s lead and paying attention to how it reacts after a workout.
What Is Average?
Every person’s “average” exercise routine will be different. To learn where your “average” falls, start slow and then work up to a more rigorous routine. Most personal trainers recommend exercising at least three times a week, sometimes four. A good way to start is with strength training one or two days and cardio training one or two days. This gives you three to five days that you can fill in with other types of activity. Swimming, yoga, Pilates, or walking are all easy exercises that will allow you to stay active without stressing your body and increasing your risk of an injury.
Before starting any exercise routine, it’s important that you talk to your physician. Your doctor will be able to give you a safe starting point and will more than likely encourage you to find a fitness trainer who is experienced in the type of fitness you are interested in. By working together, you can create the right type of exercise program that will allow you to reach your goals in a safe and healthy manner.