In a world of CrossFit and memes that say, “girls should lift heavy,” overexertion is becoming a common occurrence for fitness enthusiasts. While both CrossFit and enthusiasm for female lifting are great aspects of the ever evolving fitness world, overexertion is not.
Overexertion is the third leading cause of unintended injuries in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council. And, unfortunately, you often don’t know that you’re overexerting your body until it’s too late and you become ill or get hurt. Learn the signs and how to avoid it altogether for a safe and rewarding workout experience.
Know the Signs
Many of the signs of overexertion can be confused with feeling tired from your workout. Be sure to note when the symptoms come on and how strong.
Fatigue: This is a common sign of overexertion, especially in those who workout early in the morning. When you push your body and mind too hard for too long after waking up early to fit in your workout, you can make mistakes, which leads to injury. You may also start to feel irritable for no reason, dizzy and irrational.
Nausea/Vomiting: This should never be used as a sign that you’re working hard enough, and is always a reason to stop your workout right away.
Faintness: This often occurs right after a high-intensity workout such as HIIT or tabata. If you feel faint, sit down and drink water to relax your body.
Acute pain: If you’re feeling pinching, throbbing, burning or tightness, stop the workout and relax the muscles you’re using.
If you’re a smart exerciser you may never have to experience any of these signs. Use the following techniques to avoid overexertion altogether.
Stretch first: Prep your body for the upcoming workout with dynamic stretches, focusing on the parts of the body you’re going to work.
Progress slowly: Don’t grab 20-pound dumbbells on your first trip in the weight room. Start slow, working your way up to heavier weights.
Practice good posture: Poor posture and form quickly leads to physical overexertion, such as injuries.
Always cool down: Avoid faintness or nausea by cooling down. Your body can be pushed to its limit, but you need to ease back into a relaxed state. For example, always build a cool-down into your HIIT workout, progressing slowly from sprinting, to jogging to walking.