Repeatedly we hear about the benefits of exercising. True to the proverb, ‘Too much of anything is good for nothing’, exercising too much can put you in a disadvantageous position. An activity (exercise) that is supposed to make your happier, stress-free and stronger finally makes you depressed, injured or demotivated. Technically called as overtraining syndrome, symptoms of these are instantly visible through decreased exercise performance.
Victims of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS)
Athletes train to increase performance which becomes achievable through increased training loads. These increased loads have a maximum threshold beyond which it becomes overtraining. Overtraining syndrome is common in elite athletes and it is also sometimes seen in amateur athletes, such as long-distance runners.
Common symptoms of OTS include disturbed sleep, moodiness, fatigue, slower than normal resting heart rate and lack of motivation. Athletes generally suffer from Achilles tears and stress fractures of the feet as a side effect of OTS.
Effects of OTS
For instance, in the case of a runner the pain might subside while running as the muscles loosen up due to movement but comes back once the activity is done. The trick to diagnose real pain is to look for it after the activity is done, instead of waiting for the pain to strike you during the activity. If the pain does not go away within two weeks, it is time to meet the doctor.
Sometimes, the pain might go away but the affected area becomes tight/stiff with decreased movement. The extreme level of pain is when injuries start accumulating and it is better that you don’t delay treatment until then. Such people might have an Achilles tear, a hamstring tear and a stress fracture, all together.
Women athletes are subjected to missed menstrual periods or multiple periods missed in a row (amenorrhea). Amenorrhea can lead to reproductive problems, bone loss or even fractures. Delayed puberty is also possible due to excessive exercise. Female athletes love it when they don’t get their periods and look at to it as a blessing instead of treating it as a problem.
Balanced Act, Balanced Life
Athletes workout for one half of the day and the other half of the day must be spent in rest. The process goes like this: you workout and then rest; you workout again and then you rest again. This resting period helps you overcome stressors caused due to running, swimming, dancing, strength training or other activities.
If your training is halted sometimes due to illness, you are not supposed to overstrain the next week to make up for the lost training sessions. Such things can hurt your immune system by increasing the secretion of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
Young teens, women in their 20s or men aching for a six-pack abs who exercise too much have strained relationships in life. This is because, exercise becomes their priority and rather than looking forward to social gatherings or meetups with friends, they fear such occasions as they are required to skip an exercise session or eat out more than their usual consumptions quantity. Some young women become obsessed with their weight and experience eating disorders additional to exercise addiction. They follow extreme diet restrictions, use diuretics, self-induce vomiting, take extreme exercising measures or many more drastic measures elaborated at www.firsteatright.com to stay in shape.
Fitness is all about health. When you lose your health in search of fitness, the purpose is lost completely. Think clearly, set realistic goals and work efficiently to lead a balanced life that serves to help you enjoy living.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.