Exercise: Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Harmful

Woman exercising on a treadmillRegular exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy life. Many of us, however, still struggle to fit even a moderate amount of exercise into our schedules.

But there are plenty of people who are getting too much exercise. If some exercise is good, they think more will be better. Not true. In fact, excessive exercise can lead to a host of physical issues, including injuries, the loss of lean muscle mass, a weakened immune system, sleep problems, irritability, and depression.

A study in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that too much vigorous exercise also can increase the risk of heart problems.

Are you exercising too much?

Experts say that if your workouts suddenly seem more difficult than usual and you aren’t making progress, you may be overexercising. Other trouble signs include:

  • Insomnia
  • Aches or pain in muscles and/or joints
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling unmotivated and lacking energy
  • Increased susceptibility to colds, sore throats, and other illnesses

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, see your doctor to find out if something else is causing the problem.

Just starting an exercise program?

Congratulations on taking an important step to improve your health. Here are a few tips to help your body adjust to a new routine:

  • Create a reasonable exercise program based on attainable goals.
  • Exercise in moderation.
  • Begin slowly and build up gradually to avoid injuries.
  • Cut back the volume and intensity of your workouts at the first sign of injury.
  • Listen to your body. When it needs a rest, give it a rest.

Sources: American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association

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