While regular exercise offers a wealth of health benefits, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing —your mind and body can’t function optimally without enough physical down time.
Overtraining syndrome is a pattern of physical and mental symptoms that mean you need more time for rest and recovery in between vigorous workouts. It can also reflect a need for better management of stress, sleep, and nutrition. Overtraining is suspected when fitness or sports performance declines with ongoing training.
Additional physical and mental markers of overtraining include:
• Elevated morning resting heart rate
• Elevated resting blood pressure
• Sleep disturbances
• Decreased appetite
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Muscle soreness
• Increased susceptibility to infections and musculoskeletal injuries
• A general feeling of fatigue
• Loss of interest in training
• Emotional sensitivity
• Trouble concentrating
Because these symptoms can also indicate other problems, a diagnosis of overtraining is often given after other causes are ruled out. Rest is the primary treatment, and depending on the seriousness of the symptoms, recovery can take weeks, months, or years. If you think you may be experiencing overtraining, talk to your health care provider.
Prevent overtraining by including regular rest and recovery days in your fitness plan, alternating hard and easy workouts, and by paying attention to your body. For best results, work with a certified fitness professional to make sure your training plan is designed to optimize results and minimize risks.