Some people try to exercise too much, thinking that this will hasten their progress. This is especially true for beginners who are enthusiastic and eager to accomplish their fitness goals. However, this practice can lead to undesirable results. To give you a better idea, here are some of the common risks of overtraining.
Risks of Overtraining
1. You’ll Have High Levels of Stress Hormone
As you know, our bodies release several feel-good hormones when we do cardio workouts. However, these physical activities can also cause stress in our bodies. As a result, we will experience an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which is beneficial if short-term. The problem starts when your stress hormones are constantly high due to various reasons like exercising too much. Remember, having high cortisol levels will not only sabotage your weight loss goals and lead to weight gain. Constant stress can also cause numerous health problems, such as insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
2. You May Experience Mood Changes
As mentioned, exercising is an effective way to uplift your mood and feel good. But, ironically, one of the most common risks of overtraining is mood changes. One reason for this negative effect is the rapid increase in cortisol levels. Because of this, your body is having some trouble creating enough feel-good hormones like endorphins. As a result, you may experience moodiness, irritability, and depressive symptoms. Lack of interest or motivation is another sign that your body is asking for more rest.
3. You May Have a Hard Time Sleeping
Doctors will prescribe regular workouts when falling and staying asleep is a challenge for you. In fact, exercising can help you doze off, get more restorative or deep sleep, and wake up less during the wee hours. But, in some cases, too much exercise may also lead to a restless night.
Keep in mind that the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline will make you alert. As such, we typically have high cortisol levels in the morning after waking up, which declines as the day progress. When you’re overtraining, you’ll have high cortisol levels until dark, which negatively affects your ability to fall into a deep slumber.
4. You’ll Get Sick Frequently
Another typical effect in this list of risks of overtraining is a frail immune system, which occurs due to various reasons. First, your body will have a hard time healing and regaining energy due to the excess amounts of cortisol. Sleep deprivation can also weaken your body’s ability to defend itself against certain ailments such as the flu and common colds. The last is your body’s energy expenditure. Keep in mind that when exercising too much, most of your energy is used for training and recovery. Thus, your body will prioritize its energy for crucial bodily functions such as breathing, thinking, and heart beating. Unfortunately, your immune system is the first to decline during an energy shortage.
5. You’ll Have an Elevated Heart Rate
Overtraining may also lead to an elevated heart rate. Typically, this occurs because you’re putting too much stress on your body when you’re exercising too much. As a result, your heart pumps more oxygenated blood to hasten your recovery. Because of this, monitoring your heart beat every morning is important, especially if you’re doing endurance training regularly. A sign that you’re overtraining is a resting heart rate that is higher than usual .¨ about 50 to 65 beats more. However, keep in mind that there are other factors that may affect your heart rate like caffeine intake. So, you need to look for other signs of too much exercise.
6. You May Lose Muscle Mass
An effective way to build muscles is through exercises like strength training. However, these types of activities are not the main reason you become strong. In fact, the most common risks of overtraining are muscle loss and fat gain.
Remember, a negative consequence of high cortisol levels is the accumulation of fat, especially in your abdominal region. Moreover, your body is unable to heal and build muscles when you exercise too much. So, instead of getting stronger, you’ll notice either a fitness plateau or a decline in your performance.
When creating your fitness program, always include one or two rest days in your weekly routine to avoid these risks of overtraining. Furthermore, try mixing various types of exercises. Remember, high-intensity exercises should only be done two or three times a week. Lastly, getting enough sleep and consuming nutritious foods are also essential in building a strong and physically fit body.
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