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Signs of Overtraining

Signs of Overtraining


Many of us are aware of the benefits of exercise; it improves our cardiovascular fitness and reduces our resting heart rate, it gives us more energy and helps us sleep better and it can be helpful for relaxation, as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. NHS guidelines recommend a minimum of 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week; or approximately 30 minutes of exercise on 5 days of the week. This is the minimum recommended levels for health. Many people will exercise at levels above and beyond this, but where do you draw the line between enough exercise and too much? When does training become overtraining?

Fatigue will often be the first sign of overtraining. Exercise is a way to increase energy levels but overtraining will drain energy, due to  excessive demands on the body and lack of recovery time. If you’re feeling fatigued as a result of your work out keep an eye out for these other symptoms to see if you’re pushing your body too hard.

  • Muscle pain: it’s normal to have some muscle pain and discomfort. This Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can last up to 48 hours. Muscle pain that is frequently present beyond 48 hours may be a sign of over-training.
  • Irritability: generally exercise is a good way to improve mood. Exercise causes the release of ‘feel-good chemicals’ called endorphins, it can also be a nice distraction from stress and worries. If you’re finding that you’re more irritable after a work out, it may be that you’re pushing yourself too hard.
  • Frequent illnesses: finding it hard to shift a cold or nasty cough? Again moderate amounts of exercise have a positive impact on the immune system. If you’re experiencing recurrent minor illnesses that are hard to shift, you may need to listen to your body and ease of the exercise.
  • Frequent injuries: Lack of recovery time between exercise sessions may lead overuse injuries in the musculoskeletal system

Other symptoms like lack of energy, slower running times, insomnia and increased apathy towards sport can be other signs of overtraining. While it may be tempting to push harder, but this will only worsen the problems. This is the time to look at your training schedule and incorporate rest days when needed. This will allow you to reap the benefits of regular exercise. At our sports injury clinic in Dublin 4, our chartered physiotherapists can advise you on healthy and sustainable levels of training.


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