It’s not hard to be under the misconception that the more you exercise the better considering that’s what we’re often led to believe, but when it comes to working out you can have too much of a good thing. Knowing how to tell when your body needs a break is important if you want to avoid injury or just plain old burnout that can derail your fitness goals along with other aspects of your life.
It’s true that you want to feel the burn when working out, especially when it comes to doing weights, but when your muscles hurt, it’s a sign that you need a break. Lifting weights causes tiny tears in the muscles that repair when they’re at rest and it’s that repair process that improves your muscle strength. Not giving your muscles the time to rest and repair will not only hurt, but it’ll also work against your efforts to build muscle.
Work out a different muscle group each day so each gets the rest it needs. If you’re feeling sore after a workout, be sure to take a break until you’re no longer in pain.
2. Irritability and Mood Changes
Yes, it is true that exercise has been proven to boost serotonin levels and improve moods, lower stress, and even help depression. While exercise is a powerful mood booster, it also has the ability to be an equally powerful mood buster when you overdo it.
If you’re finding that your workouts are making you irritable or that you are stressing or obsessing about workouts, then it may be time to pull back and give yourself a break.
3. Sleep Issues
It’s been proven that getting regular exercise improves sleep patterns and according to the Sleep Foundation, it can even help treat chronic insomnia. In some cases though, too much exercise can disrupt your sleep and make it hard for you to sleep even when you’re tired. For some it’s just a matter of not working out too close to bedtime, but for others it’s simply a case of overdoing it.
Too much exercise can also leave a person depleted and low on energy, especially if their workouts are stopping them from getting a good amount of sleep every night. Take a look at your workout schedule and take a break if its disrupting your sleep in any way and leaving you feeling exhausted instead of energized since sleep issues tend to have a snowball effect that can wreak havoc in other areas of your life.
4. Messed Up Menses
A period that doesn’t come is often a sign that a woman is working out too much and is in serious need of a break. The absence of a period (amenorrhea) is a common problem in female athletes who over-train. It can have long-term consequences, making it impossible to conceive and also increasing your risk of heart attacks, osteoporosis, and more.
5. Weight-Loss Plateau
If you’re no longer seeing results with your weight-loss efforts then you just might be exercising too much. Overdoing it can make your body’s natural defense mechanisms kick in and cause your body to plateau; keeping it from budging from a certain weight or even causing you to start gaining weight.
If your good efforts at the gym seem to be doing nothing, resist the urge to push yourself even harder and consider pulling back a little and giving your body a break so that you exercise can go back to being effective again.
Exercise headaches are relatively common in those who engage in strenuous workouts. They cause a throbbing pain during or right after exercise and don’t usually last too long. Though in most cases these are harmless, you shouldn’t be working yourself out so hard that your head hurts. Some people are more prone to them than others, but taking a break or at least cutting back on the strain is suggested.
If your headaches are severe or accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting or dizziness, then a trip to the doctor is in order to rule out other potentially serious conditions.
7. Your Workouts Are Becoming All Consuming
Exercise addiction is as real as any other kind of addiction and can be just as disruptive to your life. If you find that getting in your workouts is becoming all-consuming and that you are passing on other responsibilities or the things that you enjoy in order to exercise more, then it’s time to take a break and maybe even see a professional for some help.
When it comes to exercise it’s important to listen to your body and know when it’s too much. It’s not always easy, but sometimes giving your body a break is the best thing you can do for your health and your fitness and weight loss goals.