Dangers of Over-Exercising

Fitness, News and Advice
on June 27, 2011

While staying fit and in good shape is crucial to having a healthy body, too much exercise can put you into a trouble zone. Knowing the dangers of over-exercising will help keep your workouts productive and fun.

Watch out for dehydration. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can occur before you know it. Cramping, heart palpitations, dysphoria, nausea, vomiting and even passing out can occur when you over-exercise and become dehydrated. Avoid these dangerous effects by knowing your limits and always staying properly hydrated.

Do not exercise to the point of muscle fatigue. Extending your body and muscles beyond their limits is not virtuous — it is dangerous. Once you have fatigued your muscles, you put yourself at risk for harm such as muscle pulls and strains. Even ligament or joint damage is possible once you over-exercise and develop muscle fatigue.

Over-exercising is counterproductive. Your body only has a few choices when it comes to fuel. During exertion, your body burns readily available glycogen first. When the glycogen stores have been exhausted, fat stores are burned. If you over-exercise, your body then dips into muscle mass stores. This actually eats away at the muscle you are trying to build and strengthen.

Over-exercising puts you at risk for injury. When exercising becomes too much for your body, muscles weaken and tire. In this diminished state, your form and judgment are not at their best and injuries are a result. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, when you over-exercise, your body does not have a chance to repair the minor injuries and micro traumas that would normally heal with rest and more moderate fitness habits.

Don’t let burnout rob you of fitness. Too much exercise too often and too hard can cause exercise burnout. You become sick of it and view your once-healthy habit as miserable torture. Don’t let exercise become a negative in your life. Keep a moderate intensity and vary your workout. Take a day off of exercise, and if you really don’t feel like exercising one day, give yourself permission to relax. You’re much more likely to keep a habit if it stays a pleasant experience.

Supplement your activities. By avoiding the dangers of over-exercising, you can enjoy the true benefits of staying active. Listen to your body. Keep track of workouts in a training diary. Look for patterns of over-exercising and take a break when you need it. Supplement your activities with stretches and walking or something different. Make sure you warm up before you start exercising. It increases joint lubrication, warms the muscles and connective tissues and increases blood flow for optimum efficiency and safety. And, remember, recovery time is critical to an effective and balanced workout routine.