YOU ARE YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Movement, Motivation and Mindset for Active Seniors

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Energy Bite 205 – Do You Overexercise?


Do you get too much exercise? Did you know there was such a thing as “overtraining syndrome”. Naturally there’s a “syndrome”. If my ear itches twice in one day, I have “itchy ear syndrome”. I wrote the words “overtraining syndrome” in my notes for this article thinking naively that I was going to coin a new term and end up on CNN or Oprah, or something. Alas, when I was researching the topic of over-exercising, there it was in black and white. I’m so disappointed. Just think of the publicity I could have gotten.

Seriously, over-exercise can be a problem, particularly for Seniors, beginners and otherwise out of shape people. It’s not limited to new exercisers; it can hit anybody.  It happens when you exercise too much, too hard, too often, too fast, and too intensely. It happens when you are 65 years old and you try and show off for the youngsters at the gym. It happens when you are by yourself and try to run five miles the first time you have run in years. It happens when you try to lift weights that are far too heavy. It happens when you binge on exercise thinking you are going to lose 30 pounds in two weeks and end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sometimes people exercise when they are already physically fatigued.

The results  of overexercise can be pain, strain, stress fractures, muscle tears, simple soreness, fatigue, and other unpleasant results. It can cause “exercise burnout” (I didn’t coin that term either) — you just feel like exercise isn’t worth it anymore.

It’s preventable. Don’t exercise so hard, so fast, so often, so much, so intensely. Don’t lift more than you are capable of. Don’t show off. Don’t make really weird movements. Duh.

OK, so you didn’t pay attention and now you have “overtraining syndrome”. You ache, have a pain, or some other injury. If it is a real strain (hernia), stress fracture, tear, or other real injury, you should probably see a doctor. If it’s a simple ache or pain, it will probably go away with a few days of rest. A caveat here: If you are experiencing a sharp pain, you probably should at least check with your doctor. It could be more serious. The truth is that in most cases, your body will tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

And remember this, the more fit you are, there is less of a chance of injury. The more fit you are, normally the faster the recovery. So, get fit, but don’t overdo it.

There are a lot of charts and graphs and studies that you can go to and make it real complicated for yourself if you want to. But the idea of this blog is to keep things simple and easy to understand. The cause, results and recovery techniques for over-exercising are pretty basic in most cases — but not in all. In most cases, your body will tell you how serious a problem it is. Use your judgment whether to see a medical professional. But for the simple cases, a bit of rest will alleviate most of the problems.

Thank you for reading.