Having an exercise routine is uber-important – but too much of a good thing can blow up in your face. This can include exercising too intensely, too frequently, or both. As you build your strength and stamina and increase the intensity of your workouts, focusing on quality over quantity is crucial – your body needs to fully recover in between sessions in order for your exercise routine to stay productive and not wander into counterproductive territory.
An easy rule of thumb to keep in mind is: Any time you increase the intensity of your workouts, decrease the frequency. Here, we highlight seven signs your exercise routine is too intense:
1. You work out every day
When it comes to things like strength-training or high intensity workouts, you shouldn’t do them any more than three to four times per week. It’s cool to do lighter exercising on the other days, but your body needs time to recover – without ample recovery time, you’re more prone to injuries. It’s important to take days off in order for your muscles to grow stronger (the whole point to your exercise routine), so see how your body responses to a day or two off.
2. You push past pain
It sounds simplistic, but: If something hurts, stop. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to injury (if you find that even typing hurts, you know you’ve gone way too far).
3. You find yourself cheating
When you decide to take your exercise routine to the next level, it’s good to push yourself – you know, just not past your limits. I’ll be the first to admit there’s a fine line between the two. I don’t know I’m past my limit until I’m suddenly curled up in the fetal position gasping for air. (But that’s just me.) If you find yourself sacrificing technique and taking shortcuts for the sake of a higher number of reps, it’s time to chill.
4. Your joints are sore
Usually, soreness is a good thing: It means you’re building muscle and getting stronger. But if you find your joints hurt, it means you were either doing the move wrong or too many reps (sometimes both). You want to feel slightly achy, but not so achy you’re walking like a pigeon.
5. You’re exhausted
If you feel exhausted instead of energized after your workout, it’s a clear sign your exercise routine needs to be scaled back.
6. You get sick a lot
When you overtrain you suppress your immune system, which makes it harder to fight off flus and other viruses.
7. Your legs feel heavy
If your legs feel like lead, it’s time to rest up buttercup. You can speed up your recovery by stretching, using self-massage techniques, and warming your muscles with a heating pad.
Have you ever gone overboard with your exercise routine?
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Image: Jessica Lucia