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How Do You Know If You're Exercising Too Much

Exercise is a free drug. It is good for both physical and mental health. But too much of anything becomes harmful. The same is true of exercise as well. Sometimes, people get so caught up in it that they don’t realize that they are overdoing it. Even though they feel the negative effects, reducing their physical activity becomes something they cannot even think of doing. It is similar to an eating disorder. Even though the person is starving and feeling hungry, they won’t eat.

It is important to strike a balance and avoid exercising excessively. Overexercising adversely impacts your health, which is the opposite of what we want from exercise. Keep reading to learn more about excessive exercise and how to identify if you are engaging in it.

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How Much Exercise Is Recommended for Adults

According to the American Heart Association, adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity per week. Alternatively, they can do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week or a combination of both. This exercise should be evenly distributed throughout the week.

Strength training or muscle-strengthening moderate to high-intensity activity is recommended on at least two days of the week. Additionally, it is recommended that individuals lead an active lifestyle that does not involve many hours of sitting. Remaining active for at least five hours per week is advised. 

How Can You Overexercise?

There are two major ways in which you can over-exercise. The first is through overtraining, and the other is through compulsive exercising. Let’s find out more about them below.

1. Overtraining


Overtraining is when you ignore the signs, such as muscle soreness, that occur after consecutive days of hard training without rest. You still continue to train despite feeling the pain. This is common among athletes and stems from a wrong assumption. They think deep muscle soreness or weakness indicates that they should train harder. This makes them push themselves, damaging their bodies in the process.

Signs of Overtraining

Overtraining can be hard to detect, especially by the one who engages in it. However, it is essential to become alert when you feel the following and not ignore them.

  • Unusual and persistent muscle soreness after a workout.
  • A feeling of tiredness throughout the day.
  • You are unable to complete workouts that you previously could.
  • Lack of quality sleep
  • Your body takes unusually long to recover from training.
  • You fall prey to illnesses easily.
  • Heavy leg muscles, even when exercising at less intensity.
  • For women, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular or delayed.
  • Weight loss, appetite loss, and/or digestive issues like constipation.
  • You are unable to see any visible changes from your workouts.
  • You are constantly thinking about skipping training.

2. Compulsive Exercise

Compulsive Exercise

Compulsive exercise is defined as a craving for physical exercise which causes uncontrollable behavior around exercise. Those who showcase this behavior are also at a high risk of eating disorders. Compulsive exercisers continue to exercise even when they are unwell. If they don’t, they feel depressed or anxious.

Signs of Compulsive Exercise

There are various symptoms of compulsive exercise. They include the following:

  • A punishing exercise routine that the individual sticks to even when unwell or injured.
  • Exercise is prioritized over all other activities.
  • Feelings of anxiousness, irritability, or guilt when being unable to exercise.
  • Using exercise to eliminate extra calories from the body.
  • Hiding their exercise routine or habits from others.
  • Using exercise as a medium to manage emotions.
  • Socially isolating oneself from family and friends.

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Exercise Addiction: How to Know If You Have One?

Exercise Addiction: How to Know If You Have One

There is a framework for assessing whether you suffer from exercise addiction or are exercising too much. Developed by Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University in Britain, it is used by healthcare providers to screen patients for exercise addiction. However, you can also use it to determine if you are engaging in this behavior.

Put a tick against each of the statements that you think are true for you.

  • Exercise is the most important activity in my life.
  • The amount of exercise I indulge in has often led to clashes between me and my family or partner.
  • Exercise acts as a medium for me to escape from undesirable events and happenings in my life.
  • The amount of exercise I do on a specific day has increased significantly over the past months.
  • If I am unable to exercise on a particular day, I get irritated.
  • If I reduce the amount of exercise I usually do and then start it again, I end up doing the same amount as I did before.

If you tick all these statements, you are very deep into your addiction. However, it is uncommon for someone to exhibit that extreme behavior. Still, even if you ticked more than three statements, you must become aware of your exercise habits and take steps to control them.

Ways to Exercise Effectively for Better Health and Well-being

Ways to Exercise Effectively for Better Health and Well-being

Exercise keeps us healthy and in the best of spirits. To get the maximum benefits, you must know how to exercise effectively. The following tips will help.

1. Set achievable goals

Setting unrealistic goals will set you up for overtraining. Realistic goals that fit in with your routine will be more achievable and help you improve your progress. They also keep you motivated.

2. Pay attention to how your body feels after a workout 

It’s important to observe how you feel after a workout. Do you feel extreme pain? Does the soreness persist days after the workout? These are signs that you should cut down the intensity of your training.

3. Switch up your exercise routine

Doing a variety of workouts makes exercising enjoyable. A mix of weight training, cardio, and mobility exercise work different muscles and parts of your body. Don’t forget to include other physical activities you enjoy, like bicycling, dancing, etc.

4. Fuel your body adequately

To perform your best, you need to nourish your body with the right foods. A diet rich in protein and whole foods nourish your body from the inside out. It speeds up the recovery process after exercise and gives you optimal energy to crush your upcoming workouts.

5. Give your body time to recover 

Prioritizing recovery is crucial to gain the benefits of exercise. If you keep working out even when tired or not properly recovered, exercise will only break down your body further. Over time, it will result in poor-quality workouts and decreased strength. So, get proper sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours if you exercise regularly.

Summing Up

Exercising too much is definitely possible. Your body gives you various indicators that you are engaging in this behavior. If you feel that you are exhibiting most of the signs of overtraining or compulsive exercising above, it’s time to become alert. Reach out to a professional before things get out of your hands. If you think you are on the milder side, take precautionary steps to control your behavior so you can gain the health benefits of exercise rather than the negative effects of overexercising.