Most of us know the feeling after a great workout. It can be nearly intoxicating to feel alive and full of energy and endorphins. This feeling is incredible and, for many of us, can almost feel addictive. It’s great to move your body every day and get a sense of success when you complete a good workout.
It can be tempting to work out every day, but do we have to work out daily for fitness success?
The answer is no. More importantly, the answer is much more complicated. Working out is essential. Having a routine and accountability in any form is also very helpful. It is imperative to know how much is too much for your body to avoid injury and overtraining.
There can be many negative symptoms associated with overtraining.
These symptoms include a plateau or decline in workout performance or progress. Chronic joint pain, tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle sprains. Excessive sweating or overheating, and an excessive feeling of heaviness, stiffness, or soreness in muscles during your workout and throughout the day. Other symptoms affect us in ways we may not expect, such as mood changes, excessive fatigue or difficulty falling asleep, or poor sleep quality.
Issues with concentration and performance at work or in school. It can also negatively affect our hormones and body chemistry, causing an increase in cortisol, a decrease in electrolytes, and inflammation. Although regular workouts increase our body’s immune system, overtraining can have the opposite effect making us more susceptible to illness and infections.
What can we do to prevent overtraining?
While it may feel really good to work out every day, to allow our bodies to recover, we must give ourselves as close to 24 hours in between workouts to rebuild and repair muscle tissue and allow our cardiovascular system a recovery period as well. In addition, it is important to have at least one day per week where we don’t push ourselves in a challenging workout. If you still want to work some movement into your day, some excellent alternatives are walking, gentle yoga, stretching, and foam rolling. When we train our muscles in a traditional cross-training or strength training workout, we create tiny tears in the muscle tissue that need time to repair to rebuild and gain strength and endurance. In addition, our heart, lungs, and other vital organs need a recovery period in between being taxed in a challenging workout session. Light walking and gentle yoga are perfect ways to still move without taxing the body and allowing it this rest and reparation period.
In conclusion, is it great to move your body every day? YES! Is it also great to rest and recover? YES! It is essential. If you suspect you are experiencing symptoms of overtraining, talk to your Kaia coach or trainer to help find a balance that works best for you. If you continue to have symptoms, seek the advice of your health practitioner and be sure to address any injuries or chronic symptoms and receive treatment as necessary.