Over training


Overtraining syndrome is a condition brought on by regular, excessive, exercise bouts (high in volume and intensity) which reduces long term physical performance. This should be differentiated from normal short term loss of performance illustrated directly after most bouts of exercise.

Do you suffer from overtraining symptoms?
Symptoms of overtraining include disturbed sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, depression, loss of muscle mass, an increased resting heart rate and chronic reduction of workrate and performance.

What causes overtraining?
The main factor which tips individuals into a state of overtraining is thought to be insufficient recovery time between bouts of intense exercise.

To become fitter, stronger and leaner we must progressively train harder. However, we can only grow or improve performance after sufficient rest and recuperation. The body must have sufficient rest to allow it to grow and adapt so that exercise at a similar relative intensity becomes easier - a process called supercompensation.

If the rest period is too short then the body may not have had time to go through this supercompensation stage due, in part, to imbalances in hormonal levels (elevate levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline) which occurs during high intensity exercise. High levels of the aforementioned hormones don't allow the body to facilitate a state of rebuilding.

Another factor which contributes to a state of overtraining is the psychological stress place on the mind of the exerciser or the athlete. Insufficient rest will, as stated, means that the body maintains elevated levels of stress hormones, hormones which can lead to anxiety and depression.

Preventing overtraining
The best method of combating against the threat of overtraining is to engage in a state of physical inactivity, or intersperse high intensity exercise bouts with low intensity exercise (50 - 60% of max).

It is also important that the body has sufficient levels of fuel to exercise, and as such the diet should be sufficient in complex carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, cereals etc).

Perhaps the most important aspect of all is rest and sleep. Exercisers and athletes alike should take time out from exercise (1 - 2 days rest each week at least) and they should get adequate sleep each evening (6 - 8 hours of unbroken sleep per night). Both sufficient rest and sleep will contribute greatly to reduce elevated cortisol and adrenaline levels.



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