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