How your New Year’s Resolution could be more harm than good: OVER-TRAINING!

Following the festive season it is common for many of us to make New Year’s resolutions and get stuck into a highly vigorous exercise program to shed those Christmas kilos! However, it is important that all training commences gradually and is carefully progressed to ensure that injury and overtraining does not occur. We thought this time of the year it may be worth mentioning the symptoms of overtraining and some tips on how to avoid it.

Symptoms of Overtraining:

  • general lethargy and lack of training motivation
  • loss of strength and exercise performance
  • chronic joint aches and pains
  • irritability and tiredness

Spine & Sports Physiotherapy tips on how to avoid Over-training:

  • Take a break. The actual recovery time needed between exercise bouts is usually longer than you think and is affected by such factors as the intensity of your exercise session, your nutrition, quality of sleep and overall stress levels – so if in doubt have an extra days’ break between sessions or go for a gentle walk instead of a hard session in the gym.
  • Ease into it. If you are new to fitness or going to be changing your activity levels, don’t try to make up for the last few months of inactivity with a few weeks of exercise. Aim for long term consistency, not overnight success.
  • Variety is key. Mix up your training days, exercises, and even training times to have success this new year. Changing your training regularly will help keep you fresh and out of the dreaded “over-trained state”.
  • You are what you eat. Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind. Do not severely restrict calories when exercising and make sure you eat proper nutrients, including plenty of lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
  • Listen to your body. Be aware of what’s the difference between normal “muscle pain” (in the days following a hard session where your muscles are rebuilding) and “injury pain”. Certain injuries are normally painful when your trying to sleep (as night time pain is generally a sign of inflammation). If you have a pain that’s lasting for more than a few days – get it checked out! The longer you leave an injury, the more damage you could be doing to it and the longer it will generally take to recover (which will not help in achieving your new year’s resolution ☹).