Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing?

You can exercise too much.....this may never cross some people's minds, especially in American society where the mindset is typically "more is better". In the case of exercise this isn't true, you must have the correct balance of exercise and rest in order to obtain the healthy benefits. Now don't all of a sudden jump to the conclusion that you are exercising too much because for most people the opposite is true. I'm writing about this mainly to let people know that exercise just like almost anything else can be a double-edged sword. Too much is unhealthy, just as too little is unhealthy.

Why is this? Because by exercising you are putting stress on your body which causes damage to your body. The right amount of this stress will cause your body to adapt while the wrong amount will cause your body to break down. This break down comes from overtraining, which is when your body is being broken down more by exercise than it has capacity to rebuild. There are many indicators of this and people become overtrained at various levels of exercise. Some of the indicators of overtraining can be sustained soreness (this doesn't include soreness you get when you first start working out), trouble sleeping, becoming ill, extreme weight loss (involving loss of muscle), inability to achieve goals etc. Keep in mind that what causes overtraining in one person may be the right amount of exercise for another. Other factors which influence overtraining are diet, sleep, stress, bodies inherent ability to withstand a particular level of training and so forth. In other words if you have a terrible diet eating junk food, sleep very little, drink excess alcohol etc. you will most likely overtrain much more easily than someone who doesn't have these lifestyle habits.

These realities are things you must consider if you are going to workout and thus your workouts and program must be tailored and adjusted continuously for your specific needs. In other words don't expect to be able to do the same workout that your friend or a celebrity does and get the same results as you and your life are unique and therefore need a unique program designed aaround that uniqueness. It's all about a balance between pushing yourself and then resting an appropriate amount for recovery before pushing again. Because the many factors affecting your body at any time this balancing act is not only a science but also an art. Exercise may seem like a simple thing, which in some ways it is, but it becomes very complex in terms of its application to each individual. So if you want the best results which includes achieving the look you want as well as the health you want it will take time and energy. Just remember, nothing that's worth doing or achieving is easy. It takes hard work, commitment, and the determination to do what's needed even when it's uncomfortable or inconvenient.