Have you ever heard the term “everything in moderation”? It can apply to many aspects of life, and can also differ from one person to another.
In terms of physical activity, generally speaking, the more the better. However, it is very important to balance activity with enough rest. For some people, when their activity levels are not paired with enough rest, it can result in what’s known as overtraining.
In most cases a recreationally active person will have a full-time job, family, and maybe a few other life stressors. Combine this with a lack of recovery days, not enough sleep, and too much high intensity aerobic exercise and you may start feeling tired, cranky and noticing a decrease in your performance. These are signs of overtraining.
How can you prevent overtraining?
Managing life stressors and getting sufficient rest are the key elements. Here’s what I recommend:
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Aim for somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Eat a healthy and well balanced diet that matches your energy expenditure. Call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian if you have food or nutrition questions or need support around healthy eating.
- Be mindful of the stressors in your life and how they impact you. Things like working extended hours, long commutes by car in heavy traffic, or finances can be stressful.
- Alternate your fitness routine and include variety. This could be as simple as changing the intensity of your workouts on different days or adding in strength training a few times per week.
- Have one or two active recovery or rest days per week.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Overtraining differs from chronic fatigue, but should not be overlooked. If you still feel unwell after reducing your activity levels for a few weeks and managing life stressors, it is worthwhile to speak with your doctor.
If you need help planning your physical activity around a busy schedule speak with a qualified exercise professional by dialling 8-1-1 and asking for the Physical Activity Services.