5 Signs You’re Exercising Too Much

It’s the time of year when old patterns can flare up when it comes to food and fitness – tasty temptations are everywhere, cold weather makes it hard to get outside and the stress of the holidays can sometimes lead to poor decisions.

Exercise can be an effective way to relieve tension and offset holiday weight gain, but overdoing it can cause the opposite effect of your desired outcome.

To avoid both the physical and emotional burnout that can come from exercising too much, be aware of the signs:

1. Changes in mood.

Many people don’t realize that too much exercise can actually worsen your mood, said Jini Cicero, a Los Angeles-based conditioning specialist. Look out for anxiety, anger, irritability or depression – all signs that your body is overtaxed and pumping out stress hormones.

2. Feeling tired all the time.

While short-term fatigue is normal after a hard workout, it should go away after a good night’s rest or a proper meal. Lingering feelings of tiredness or grogginess is the body’s way of letting you know you’re working too hard. Make sure you incorporate rest days into your exercise routine.

3. Not being able to fall asleep.

According to nutritional biochemist Shawn M. Talbott, taxing the body with too much exercise can disrupt normal sleep patterns. A balanced workout schedule should help you doze off more easily, but overexercise can make you restless and unable to fall asleep, Talbott said.

4. Gaining weight.

Torching calories should make you shed pounds, right? Yet working out more often than your body can handle could raise the levels of hormones that are responsible for fat storage. Additionally, over-exercisers may end up eating more than normal, either because of hunger or because they think they’ve burned more calories than they actually did during a workout.

5. Getting sick.

A weakened immune system could indicate you’re pushing yourself too hard. If you can’t seem to kick that cold, flu or chronic illness, it might be time to scale back on the exercise and rest more. If you keep pushing yourself, Talbott said, you can risk inflammation and injury.

US News & World Report

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