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Being physically active is good for you, but here’s how to know if you’re doing too much.

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There’s loads of evidence showing that being physically active on a regular basis is good for you in numerous ways. From improving heart health and strengthening bones to keeping spirits up and stress at bay, it’s hard to argue with the benefits of exercise. With so much good coming from this healthy habit, doesn’t that mean that the more you do, the better?

Not necessarily.

Exercise is definitely good for you, but there are times when you may be doing too much—this is referred to as overtraining. You may think you need to keep pushing your body to get stronger, faster or healthier, but your body also needs rest. While not exercising enough is an issue for many people, exercising too much can be a problem, too. Both your body and your mood may give you a hint that you need to roll your workout routine back a bit.

Here are 10 signs that you may be exercising too much:

      1. Being physically and/or mentally tired
      2. Requiring longer periods of rest between workouts
      3. Being unable to perform at the same level as you usually do
      4. Feeling depressed, anxious or irritable
      5. Experiencing mood swings
      6. Losing the motivation to work out
      7. Having trouble sleeping (insomnia)
      8. Experiencing a loss or change in appetite
      9. Developing overuse injuries or extended muscle soreness
      10. Getting sick more easily

While exercising in moderation is good for you, rest is also needed between workouts so your body has a chance to recover. Pushing too hard for too long can lead to physical and mental health issues, as well as poor performance.

The good news is that it is usually easy to undo the symptoms of exercising too much. All you have to do is cut back on the amount of exercise you do or even take a complete break from exercising for about a week or two. Often, that’s enough to give your body a chance to recover and get you back on track. If not, you may need to rest a little longer.

To avoid overtraining, give yourself a day or two of rest between strenuous workouts or follow hard workouts with lighter bouts of exercise. Eating healthy, taking in sufficient calories, drinking enough water and getting plenty of sleep also help your body recover from exercise.


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Date Last Reviewed: December 16, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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