Can you exercise too much?

Can you exercise too much= most definitely! When it comes to exercise, more is not always better.
Exercise is supposed to improve our quality of life but when the volume of exercise is too high it can have quite the opposite effect. Exercise often leaves us feeling energised after due to the cortisol and endorphins pumped out during exercise. But your adrenal glands can only cope with pumping out so much cortisol before they get exhausted. Exercise is a positive stressor in the right amounts but as the volume increases it can become a negative stressor, particularly if rest and fuel are inadequate.

If you find yourself not progressing in your strength or fitness, these can be signs that you are overdoing your training. Other signs and symptoms include increased injury rate, increased exhaustion, mood changes including depression and anxiety, a loss of libido (and even menstruation in women), along with getting sick more often. A reduced motivation to train can also fit to this category.

Exercise Addiction

Excessive amounts of exercise can lead to exercise addiction. The exhaustion caused by overtraining, sometimes means the only time you feel energised is during and post a hard session, due to the elevated cortisol levels. These feelings may lead to you relying on exercise for your energy and perpetuate the habit of extreme amounts of exercise. Exercise addiction may even find you training through injury, pain, or illness.

So, how can you avoid overtraining?

The government guidelines in Australia recommend 150 minutes of exercise each week, including at least two strength sessions in this and this is a great place to start. You also need to consider your baseline level of activity. If you have been doing no exercise, you may want to start with walking and build your way up from there. Work your way up from 10-minute walks to 30-minute walks, then look to include some strength or yoga workouts from the Reburn app. When you are feeling confident with these, you may want to try the cardio workouts. Taking at least one rest day each week and alternating more intense workouts (e.g., one of our cardio workouts) with less intense (e.g., one of our yoga workouts) is crucial for recovery. You need to rest hard so you can train hard!

References
https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians
https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/are-you-exercising-too-much-heres-how-to-tell-and-why-it-can-be-risky/

About the author

Cheyenne Holman

Cheyenne Holman

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
Accredited Sports Dietitian
Certified Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher