Over-Exercising: Knowing the Signs and Risks

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It’s no secret that exercising provides benefits to your body from helping decrease health factors such as chronic disease to making you feel confident and secure with your body.

Exercise is a great habit to pick up but what happens when it turns from a habit into an obsession?

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It’s crucial to take care of your body and if you push yourself past your limits it can cause dangerous effects to your mental and physical health. By understanding the signs and risks of over-exercising, it helps you balance a healthy, active lifestyle. 

Signs You’re Over-Exercising:

  1. Feeling too exhausted after a workout: A good workout should make you feel energetic instead of light-headed and an urge to lie down or sleep.
  2. Change in moods: Little things spark irritation out of you more often than normal and you find yourself more in a funk than content with things.
  3. Too much sleep or no sleep: Too much exercise can give a false signal that the body is in stress so it’ll release stress hormones such as cortisol.
  4. “Dead Weight” Legs: That heavy feeling in your legs occurs because the muscles in that area didn’t have enough time to fully recharge.
  5. Frequent Sickness: Over-exercising messes with your immune system and you’re more prone to getting sick.
  6. Intense Soreness: Your body can ache for days from pain.
  7. Lack of motivation or feeling low: Healthy exercise gives us positive endorphins but too much exercise causes the body to lose motivation and feel under the weather.

Greta Angert, a Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist, states that other common signs come from unnecessary urges to exercise. These can include:

  • Canceling plans because of the need to workout
  • Exercising when sick or fatigued
  • Exercise is always on your mind
  • Guilt for not being able to exercise
  • Calculating your calories, how much you burnt, and how long you worked out for
  • Ignoring a doctors advice to not exercise

The Risks of Over-Exercising:

As if these signs didn’t cause enough panic, the continuation of over-exercising can leave crucial marks on your body. They include:

  • Lack of proper nutrients which causes you to lose muscle and fat
  • Lack of rest causes higher stress fractures and muscle strains
  • For young adults, you could delay normal development
  • Prone to anxiety and depression
  • Dark or reddish urine: This can occur from a condition known as rhabdomyolysis, where substances from damaged muscle tissue leak into the blood

How to Recover from Over-Exercising:

The simple answer would be to head straight to your doctor for more accurate and specific responses. Only you know your body and attempting a trial-and-error situation on your own can result in major problems. Results won’t be automatic but seeking medical help is the first and probably the most important step to take to get back on the journey of a healthy workout style.

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