Overexercising – How much is too much?
There is no doubt that moving and doing some form of exercise, everyday is vital for health and longevity. However, too much of anything, is never good. Over-exercising without proper rest and recovery can lead to a variety of unwanted outcomes. Taking a proactive approach to self-care through individualised lifestyle changes can help to improve performance, achieve long term weight maintenance, balance mood and lead to overall better health outcomes.
So what is a healthy level of exercise? If you’re someone who participates in strenuous exercise 5 times a week, convert two of those days to rest and active recovery (e.g. a brisk walk, yoga). Too much strenuous exercise can raise our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is in charge of regulating changes in the body, that happen in response to anxiety and tension.
When you do high intensity or endurance exercise, your body releases cortisol in response to stress. This release of cortisol is seen as acute, meaning it won’t have long term health effects. However, if you’re doing intense workouts without enough recovery time, then your cortisol will stay elevated. Long term effects of consistently elevated cortisol can lead to weight gain, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, osteoporosis, digestive complaints and fatigue.
Getting your cortisol levels back to normal can take a while, it involves nourishing your body the right way and incorporating a change in dietary and lifestyle habits. Ask yourself why you exercise as much as you do? Is it because you’re bored? Are you looking for a social circle? What are your goals? If it’s about losing weight, and feeling good, then ultimately over-exercising is counterproductive.
If you need help establishing balance and feeling your optimal self again, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the clinic. Remember, its all about recovery.