I grew up with soccer rather than American football, and I used to enjoyed the strenuous aerobic effect of soccer. In my early twenties, I took up weight training as my preferred physical activity. I loved the physical stress of an intense weight lifting workout.
When it comes to exercise and overall physical activity, many of us fall into one of two extremes, we either don't exercise enough or we overtrain.
Obviously not exercising enough carries well known health risks that I won't cover here.
But the other extreme is harder to pinpoint. It just seems that if a moderate 30 minute exercise routine is good for you, a full hour of intense exercise should be twice as good.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. The trick is knowing when you're just having a good, intense workout, and when you're overtraining.
What will determine whether you are overtraining is the amount of recovery time you provide your body after your intense exercise. Your body needs time to rebuild tissues that are normally damaged during intense exercise.
We can easily identify the more common signs of overtraining. They include dizziness, trouble breathing or talking, fast heart beat, disorientation, and persistent muscle soreness.
However, there are other hidden symptoms you should be aware of, and vigilant about.
Here are five serious, hidden signs of overtraining you should be on the look for.
1. Hormonal Imbalance
This condition is more common in women who overtrain. It may result in skipped periods that may last for several months in a row. If this condition persists, you will want to visit your doctor for help before serious complications arise.
Overtraining can result in high levels of cortisol in both men and women. Increased levels of cortisol can result in decreases in testosterone, greater risk of injuries, irritability and even depression.
2. Exercise Addiction
Believe it or not, exercise can be very addictive, which in turn can lead to chronic overtraining. It can even cause withdrawal symptoms if high exercise levels are not maintained. You should seek professional help in coping with this condition.
3. Vulnerability to Infections
Overtraining can cause your immune system to be weakened, leaving you open to more frequent infections and various forms of sickness.
4. Prolonged Fatigue
Prolonged fatigue results from overtraining where the body is not provided a sufficient period of recovery.
High performance athletes subject themselves to extreme physical stress in order to increase their performance. They avoid overtraining and related burnout by allowing sufficient and strategically scheduled periods of recovery.
5. Trouble Sleeping
High intensity training will result in increased stimulation of your nervous system which will last from one workout to the next. This will cause restlessness and irritability that will most likely keep you awake at night. If overtraining continues for a long period it may result in chronic insomnia.
Avoid overtraining by following the example of high performance athletes, and allow well planned periods of rest for recovery. Professional trainers will even recommend a rest period of at least a week every month to six weeks to allow your body to recover, and to avoid physical and mental burnout.
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