Regular exercise provides you with more energy, keeps unwanted pounds at bay, and strengthens your cardiovascular system. If a little bit of exercise is good, a lot should be even better right? Actually, the answer to that question is no. There is such a thing as too much exercise, and the consequences of working out too hard and too long can be just as devastating as a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs you have an Exercise Addiction
According to Certified Integrative Health Coach Megan Roop, you may be getting too much exercise if you:
- Schedule your daily routine around exercise rather than trying to fit it in.
- Become frustrated whenever something unexpected interferes with your workout.
- Refuse to exercise with others because you do not want someone else slowing you down.
- Measure your self-esteem based upon how much you exercise.
- Frequently become sick and have a hard time recovering.
- Work out even when you are feeling fatigued or under the weather.
Dangers of too Much Exercise
Psychologist and personal trainer Holly Parker claims that working out too often can actually reverse some of the benefits. There is some science that backs up her claim. A Danish study was performed on two groups of inactive participants. One performed 3.5 hours of cardio each week, while the other did 7 hours. Both groups showed similar results, despite the fact that one performed only half the exercise.
A British study was completed on more than one million middle-aged women. This study found that women who were active at least once per week had the lowest risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, or blood clots. It also revealed that females who worked out daily were at the greatest risk-even above those who did not exercise at all. Researchers concluded that ideal benefits were achieved whenever women engaged in activity between two and six times each week.
A condition known as CNS overtraining may occur when you exercise too frequently. CNS overtraining is different from muscular overtraining, which happens when your muscles do not have adequate time to repair the broken-down tissues that result from weight lifting. CNS overtraining affects your entire body and not just one muscle group, leaving you feeling fatigued and uncoordinated. It is thought to be a primary reason too much exercise may not necessarily provide you with greater results.
Those who perform too much exercise often participate in fad diets, many of which can have negative effects on health. For example, studies show that consuming a very low fat diet can result in poor cognitive function, memory loss, and mood swings. To avoid serious health problems, avoid diets that are extremely low in calories or ones that greatly restrict the intake of certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Workouts are supposed to be fun and improve your overall sense of well-being. When they become a chore, not only are they no longer exciting, but they might actually be causing you more harm than good. Moderate, regular exercise and a healthy diet plan are the key to maintaining a high level of physical and emotional fitness.