Some Reasons Why You Should Not Over-Exercise


It doesn’t take long to realize that we’re officially making the most of summer and, while the arrival of the new season automatically means barbecues, Pimms and picnics, it’s  a great opportunity for training programmes and the like to take advantage. This year though, the language seems more tactical than ever; with new research* surfacing that 34 percent of females are feeling the most pressure to shape up, seeing words such as ‘quarantine 15’ or ads trying to get you to sign up for a ‘three weeks to summer shorts plan’ isn’t uncommon. While it may feel natural to pack in as much exercise as possible to lose weight, overtraining can backfire and have major negative impacts on your body.
Depressive overload
We know you know that exercise comes with a plethora of physical and mental health benefits, whether it’s the calming effects of a chilled out yoga session or that euphoric buzz after a 5k. These feelings are, of course, what keeps you coming back and although important, they can sometimes blur the line between what’s healthy and what’s not. With this in mind, overtraining can be tricky to spot, especially when you enjoy a sweaty workout). “The first physical sign that you might be doing too much is that your training starts to get worse, instead of better. For example, if you train in the gym, you might find you can’t lift as heavy as before or you tire out earlier in your cardio sets; if you’re a runner, you’ll find it harder to meet those 5k times that used to be easy.” Finding yourself snapping at your partner or feeling as though your patience wears thin with the kids more than usual of late? These are also signs that you’re overdoing it on the exercise front. “The signs of overexertion are not always physical and overtraining can often manifest itself in changes in mannerisms or behaviour. A shortness of temper, increased irritability or anger levels, and decreased motivation are all results of overtraining, but are often overlooked. You might also experience a dip in your enjoyment of exercise and other hobbies. Simply put, your levels of exhaustion and fatigue can impact you mentally and you can begin to exhibit symptoms that many often associate with depression.”
The Big Picture
Before we continue, a quick lesson in the impact that exercising has on your overall calories burned in a day. Without getting too technical, we have something called a basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the total number of calories you would burn if you were to lay in bed all day or remain horizontal on the sofa while watching your favourite series.The total number of calories you burn in a day is dependent on a number of variables, such as your age, height, weight and body composition (muscle vs fat mass). Your BMR is the total number of calories your body needs each day to carry out involuntary functions, such as breathing and digestion, and generally, your BMR is higher the younger you are and the more muscle mass you have. Granted, this number is affected by the amount of exercise you do, but your BMR makes up about 60 percent of your daily calorie expenditure, Steven adds. In essence, going gung-ho at the gym potentially won’t have the impact you hoped for. So, what should a moderate training programme look like? Well, there’s no concrete plan that everyone should follow and, like with a lot of things, there’s no one-size-fits-all. What we do know, with certainty, is that you should make your exercise routine fit around you and not the other way around. “A training schedule should do two things: reflect your personal life and commitments (meaning you fit the gym around things such as family or work), and it should be balanced for your individual fitness needs. Building a schedule that uses a 2:1 ratio, – which could be two lower intensity workouts, mixed with one high intensity workout over the course of a week – has been a split that I’ve found to work extremely well, and one that allows for sufficient rest between each session. It’s also an adjustable metric too. For example, if you’re struggling with the higher intensity workout, you can downgrade that to include another lower intensity workout. Or, if you want to push yourself, you can add another intense workout in, or replace one of your lower intensity workouts with a tougher challenge.” It’s also worth noting that your sessions should never leave you feeling nauseous or faint, but rather pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone slightly with every consecutive session, he adds.
Take Some Rest
That’s all well and good, but for those who enjoy getting a serious sweat on daily, might be left wondering where this leaves them. The answer? Experts  recommends replacing one or two of your more intense workouts with a mindfulness practice, such as yoga or meditation. The benefits of yoga are well-documented, and including a therapeutic form of exercise in your routine can allow you to take full advantage. Yoga offers a break from the pressure that’s placed on your muscles, but simultaneously prepares them for further exercise by stretching and strengthening your muscle fibres. While a boxing class or HIIT session can be great ways to alleviate stress and improve your overall mood, Steven warns that the stresses placed on your body during these activities might be causing yourself even more stress if these workouts are not controlled. He also says that rest is, and should be, an imperative part of your exercise routine. “Adequate rest allows your body to heal and recover, which ultimately leads to increased strength and aerobic fitness. Rest optimizes your exercise performance and promotes hormonal balance, which are both key to sleep, energy, mood and health. More reasons for a lay-in, then.
Body Life Goals
Short term goals that focus on looking a certain way for a certain period of time is never something I would advise, and there are so many reasons for this. While there is nothing wrong with training to feel more confident in the way you look, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment or failure if you only focus on the aesthetics. Plus, giving yourself a short time rame often makes you put more pressure on yourself to work harder or for longer than you really should, which means your body is placed under a lot of stress. I always say that movement should be part of your life and feeling good comes from consistency.  One more thing: remember that everything has changed, so it’s OK if your body has too. If you really want to feel good about yourself, making small changes, such as introducing exercise into your daily routine and cutting out negative eating patterns is a great way to start, and you’ll reap these benefits beyond that holiday.

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