‘Less is More’ is an old adage which is oft spoken of, to keep things simple and optimum. Yet when it comes to fitness and working out, the ‘problem of plenty’ overrides the mindset of the fitness aficionado.
If fitness were the Roman colosseum, most of us amateur, recreational athletes, would find ourselves somewhere in-between being the spectator in the stands and the mighty gladiators in the middle! So then, how much is really too much when it comes to fitness regimens in one’s journey towards leading a healthy life?
If one has only recently relinquished the comfort of the couch and the snooze button, to springing up at the first alarm and turning up for ones fitness routine, then excess is something which should not be of concern at this point..!
However, if one has been into following fitness routines for years, reaped astounding benefits, and in the quest for more, has become obsessed to the extent of negatively affecting physical and mental health then ‘Too Much Exercising’ may have taken over.
So, what exactly is “too much” exercising? To answer that, one has to understand that there is no ‘One size fits all’ in the path to fitness and health. It depends on factors like age, gender, state of health, professional demands, choice of workouts and most importantly FITNESS GOALS….!
The main goal of pursuing a fitness regimen has to be to achieve optimum balance of physical and mental health.
Professional athletes while taking up sport for their love of it, strive phenomenally hard to make it a gainful profession. They train anywhere between 4 to 8 hours a day under structured regimens, which incorporate intermittent periods of rest and recovery, while also addressing aspects like strength & fitness and mental health. That aside, they also follow a regulated diets to work towards being their best.
While recreational athletes could do well to get a dose of inspiration from the professionals, trying to replicate what they do and aspiring for similar results could be recipe to disaster called ‘Overtraining’.
With day jobs to keep up with, related travel schedules and discharging household and family responsibilities, exercise should be the reliever of stress and not become a part of it. That is not
to say, that there should not be goals to work towards or targets to achieve. Only, one should work within ones constraints and get the maximum benefit out of the process.
Exercise, when it starts to border on being an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, moving from something one chooses to do, to something one feels one has to do, it is a classic sign of ‘ getting too much exercise’.
Some signs to look out for to know when one is falling into that trap: Psychological signs
-Skipping work, school, or social events to exercise
– Pangs of guilt or anxiousness at missing even one odd workout. -Continuing to exercise, even if one is injured or sick.
-Not feeling the usual excitement for your fitness regimen.
-Lack of restful night sleep.
-Feeling drowsy during the day.
-increased resting heart
-weakened immune system, which can lead to frequent illness. -unexplained weight loss and decreased appetite.
-excessively thirst, particularly at night, indicating possible dehydration.
In the absence of right guidance and mentoring, it is not uncommon to fall into this pattern of excessive training, as one moves up the fitness ladder. In fact, before the negative effects take over, it gives one a very high dose self esteem boost and pride, at having successfully let go of an unhealthy lifestyle and motor along the path of fitness.
It is precisely at this stage, that being a part of a group and under some form of structured training, helps in managing and regulating rather than going overboard.
Bringing in variation of routine, both in terms of activity and intensity, helps in putting the physique through phases of easy and hard sessions. This in turn will help mentally, granting the ‘high’ of having achieved, while at the same time keep one on the toes, by showing that there is still a long way to go.
Exercising has to be kept FUN….! What is life without the banter, laughter and an occasional
cheat session of gossip at the bench press….! Chatty runs with a good friend will be more therapeutic than being the hard pounding Lone Ranger.
Fitness has to be a journey to be enjoyed with the pit stops, not a long winding desolate road to nowhere. A fine balance must be sought and struck, between constantly pushing beyond ones zone of comfort and complacency and still look forward to with excitement and resolve to that next ‘insurmountable’ workout….!
So get out there, keep it simple, have fun and get healthy.
Author : Prashant Sankaran
A proud Dream Runner. Inspired to dream big and motivated to realise them.