Man running with snow-covered mountains in background with text overlay: WW Question: Preventing Issues with Exercise

WW Question: Preventing Issues With Exercise

Happy Wednesday everyone! On Monday, we talked about something that’s pretty common when we first start exercising — feeling worse than we did before. Today’s question will help us look at whether we’re where we want to be with our activity levels and what we can do to prevent issues as we increase them.

When they experience those issues with feeling worse, people sometimes think they’re doing something wrong. After all, we hear so much about how exercise makes us feel better; how it releases those endorphins that improve our mood; how it’s going to reduce our pain, etc….

All of these things can be true, but they don’t usually happen right away. Because we feel worse, we may decide the benefits are just not worth the price.

Now I should mention that for some people, like many people who are living with CFS/ME, exercise may not be helpful. When we’re living with chronic illness, it’s especially important to talk with our doctor to make sure exercise is appropriate. Our doctors can also help us determine, based on our health, how hard we should be working while we exercise.

For our Wellness Wednesday question a couple of weeks ago, quite a few of you said that you already exercise consistently. Some of you even love it!

For anyone who is already a consistent exerciser, although you’re already past the “feeling worse” hump, applying the 3 S’s — Smart, Small, and Slow — when you’re changing up your exercise program can be helpful.

It’s also important, wherever we are in the exercise process, to be aware of the signs of overtraining. Overtraining Syndrome can occur when we’re either working out too hard without enough recovery, or we’re not fueling our bodies properly for the work we’re asking them to do.

In his article for the American Council on Exercise, Justin Robinson outlines 9 Signs of Overtraining to Look Out For. I’ll cover just a few signs here, but I’d encourage you to check out Justin’s article as well.

Signs of Overtraining

Feeling you’re working harder even though you’re working at the same level of intensity. You may feel like you’re “wading through mud” as you’re working out, and it may take your heart rate longer to return to normal afterward.

Increased resting heart rate. Not only might overtraining cause your heart rate longer to return to normal, your resting heart rate may also increase.

Excessive Fatigue. It’s normal to feel tired after working out, but if you’re feeling fatigued for days afterward, you may be overtraining.

Sleep disturbances. When we’re overtraining, we produce more stress hormones, which can interrupt sleep.

Feeling moody or depressed. The hormonal imbalance we talked about above can cause irritability, trouble concentrating, and mood swings.

Decreased appetite for multiple days. If you’re trying to lose weight, this may sound like a good thing, but believe me, it’s not. As we talked about above, one component of overtraining syndrome is that we’re not fueling our bodies for the work we’re asking them to do. When we’re not hungry, we don’t eat, and when we don’t eat, our bodies have a harder time recovering. It’s a vicious cycle.

This week for Wellness Wednesday, let’s take a look at whether we’re where we want to be with our exercise.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Teal background with white conversation bubble with questions: How much am I currently exercising? Am I satisfied with this level? If not, what actions can I take to ensure I don't feel worse as I increase my activity levels?

As we talked about in Do We Need to Change How We View Exercise, we don’t need to start out with ‘official’ exercise. Something as simple as adding in a few extra steps or doing more of some of the active things we already do is a great way to start moving more. After we’re able to easily move more, we can start to add more structured exercise.

Have you ever experienced that “feeling worse after starting to exercise” dilemma? How did you get past it? Please share!



Woman lying on exercise bench with dumbbells in her hands with text overlay: Wellness Wednesday Question: Preventing Issues with Exercise


ACE Personal Trainer Manual, Fourth Edition, 2010, Cedric X. Bryan, PhD, FACSM and Daniel J. Green editors, American Council on Exercise, San Diego, CA.


  1. Hi Terri, I can definitely feel worse initially after exercise or doing a bit more but it does usually settle down so I guess the ‘no pain, no gain’ statement is true for this.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Bar! I used to tell my clients that soreness is normal, but pain is not…. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily apply to those of us with chronic pain conditions. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but my “normal” delayed-onset muscle soreness after a workout seems to take the form of that achy pain of fibromyalgia instead of soreness a lot of the time. Just last week, I was actually sore after a workout, and I counted it as progress.😊 It really felt like after-workout soreness instead of all-over pain. That doesn’t mean that our workouts have to hurt to be effective though. Hope you’re staying safe and well sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  2. If these are the signs of overtraining, I think I’ve been overdoing it without exercising for a long time! 😂 It’s not exercise per se, not formal anyway, but going out and about doing errands, like town and the supermarkets, can cause this for me. I’ll feel far worse, and it’s a case of trying to slow down afterwards to deal with the payback. I imagine it being similar with more typical exercise. xx

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Caz! I know exactly what you mean about the errands. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go out anywhere by myself because I would completely lose all my energy suddenly. I was afraid I would get out somewhere and not be able to get home. It makes sense that they’re similar, I think. Both overtraining and fibromyalgia seem to affect the energy systems in the body, so it’s not surprising that the symptoms are the same, I guess. Stay safe sweet friend. Sending hugs!

  3. My PT has recommend that I not use over 3 lb hand weights or minimum weight on the universal machine in the gym. Reps to fatigue and no more. Careful stretching. That helps. If I overdo it, things get worse This seems to go along with what y’all have already said.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing George! So many people think they have to work so hard to get results, but our goal really should be better health. Overdoing it doesn’t support those goals, as you pointed out. Hope you guys are having some nice weather and doing well!

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