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Signs of Overtraining

A little exercise is good for you, so more must be better, right? Well, sometimes. And sometimes more is just that — more. In the quest for better health and fitness, it is sometimes difficult to quell one's enthusiasm and take a break from exercise. But if exercise is leaving you more exhausted than energized, you could be suffering from an acute case of overtraining. Individuals who excessively exercise are risking more than poor performance: they're risking their health. If you recognize the following symptoms in yourself or a friend, it is essential that you seek professional help. Here are ACE's top 10 signs of overtraining.

  1. Decreased performance

    Slower reaction times, reduced speeds and lowered endurance levels are all common signs of overtraining.

  2. Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration

    Too much exercise and too little rest can wreak havoc on the hormones, cause mood swings and create an inability to concentrate.

  3. Excessive fatigue and malaise

    A body that never has a chance to fully recover from a previous workout will continue to feel more and more fatigued. Some people describe this feeling as “heavy legs.”

  4. Increased perceived effort during normal workouts

    Overtraining takes a toll on the body, and workouts that were once a breeze can begin to feel like a grind.

  5. Chronic or nagging muscle aches or joint pain

    Overused muscles and joints can cause constant aches, which may go unnoticed until the body is given proper rest.

  6. More frequent illnesses and upper-respiratory infections

    Too much exercise taxes all of the body's systems and makes it more difficult to ward off infections.

  7. Insomnia or restless sleep

    During sleep the body has time to rest and repair itself. An overtrained body, however, is sometimes unable to slow down and completely relax, making it difficult to recover between workouts.

  8. Loss of appetite

    Overtraining can cause an increase in hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine that tend to inhibit appetite. The physical exhaustion and anxiety that often comes with overtraining can also have the same effect.

  9. Chronically elevated heart rate at rest and during exercise

    A clear sign of an overworked heart muscle is a chronically elevated heart rate. Also, people who overtrain will often find that it takes longer for their heart rate to return to normal after a workout.

  10. Menstrual cycle disturbances in women

    Exercising excessively and not consuming enough calories may disrupt a woman's menstrual cycle. While some may experience irregular periods, others will stop menstruating altogether.

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