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Sheltering Arms Blog

How much exercise is too much?

Posted on: October 2, 2018 by Clinicians Editor

By: Cherie Lovasz, PT, MSPT

Exercise is supposed to be good for you! It can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and even ward off depression. Exercise is like a medication that can be used to prevent and treat many chronic diseases. However, just like with prescription drugs, it is possible to “overdose” on exercise.

The majority of the benefits of exercise occur at a “moderate” level, about 30 to 60 minutes a day. The CDC recommends adults should get around five hours of moderate exercise each week. Research shows that going way above and beyond does not increase your health benefits and can even be harmful.

So, how do you know if you’re overdoing it? Here are some signs to look for that could signal you’re exercising too much:

  • Constant pain or soreness. A little soreness is normal, but should pass in a day or two.
  • Difficulty during workouts. If you are struggling to do exercises that were once easy, it is time to ease up.
  • Increased heart rate. If your heart rate is increased when you’re not working out, that’s a concern. People who over train may notice that their heart rate takes longer to get back to normal after exercise.
  • Can’t sleep, can’t eat. Too much exercise can make you lose your appetite and make it difficult to sleep.
  • Getting sick. Excessive exercise can wear down your immune system and make you more prone to illness.
  • Losing too much weight, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of irritability.

Muscles recover during downtime, not when you train, so you need to leave days for rest and recovery. Don’t forget to prioritize sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of unbroken sleep per night. Good nutrition is also key. Think lean proteins like fish and chicken, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing these symptoms or are simply unsure where to start with an exercise program, consult with a physical therapist. They can help you establish a program with appropriate frequency and intensity as well as make sure you are using proper form to lessen your chances of injury. Click here or call (804) 764-1000 to schedule an appointment today. Happy exercising!