Is too much of a good thing bad? Sometimes: too much birthday cake, too much wine—but too much exercise? Despite how good you feel after your second workout of the day or three hours in the gym, that routine, or too much exercise in general, may not be best for your body.
The Health.gov physical activity guidelines recommend getting 150 moderate minutes of exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. While going above and beyond these guidelines aren’t a surefire way to tell you’re working out too much, they’re a good measure of how healthy your routine is.
The best way to audit the health of your workout routine is to take note if you feel any of the following symptoms of overtraining:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Joint pain
- Depressed immune system
- Lack of appetite.
But that’s not all. Here are three more ways too much exercise affects your body.
Less Muscle Growth
Too much exercise will hinder your ability to progress in your program. You don’t build muscle when you’re lifting. You build muscle when your rest and the fibers have time to rebuild. That means you have to give your body time to rest and allow that process to happen. If you’re working out too much, especially the same muscle groups, you won’t see results.
Choose 2 to 3 days a week to strength train and then split your workouts up by muscle group. For example, on Tuesday work your shoulders, back and triceps, on Thursday work your biceps, legs and abs.
A workout program is hard enough to stick to between your job and social outings—when you work out too much you increase your chances of burn out. When you’re mentally burned out even a regular, 150-minutes a week routine becomes impossible to stick to.
Choose 4 or 5 days in your week to work out 45 minutes to one hour. This is often a manageable schedule that will provide positive results.
Just like your body needs to rest to build muscle, it needs rest to prevent a variety of injuries. Working out too much can lead to strained ligaments, tears, breaks and stress fractures. Be smart about your routine and choose one that is both manageable and safe for your body. When you do, you’ll see positive results and feel great too.