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Overtraining syndrome: what it is and how to avoid it

https://theconversation.com/overtraining-syndrome-what-it-is-and-how-to-avoid-it-145508

theconversation.com

Overtraining syndrome: what it is and how to avoid it
Those with the condition could take several weeks, months, or even years to properly recover.

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Pushing yourself too hard

Pushing yourself too hard

Pushing your body to reach new levels of fitness requires commitment and effort that are intense and challenging.

But without the right balance of rest and recovery you could end up with a long-term fatigue condition called overtraining syndrome.

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Overtraining symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • Long-term decrease in sports performance
  • Less motivation to exercise
  • Low mood
  • Muscle soreness, aches and pains
  • Loss of good quality sleep
  • General tiredness or fatigue

Symptoms can vary wildly from person to person. Other life stresses, such as working long hours, difficult relationships, dieting, and not getting enough sleep, can accelerate the syndrome.
The only reliable method to assess if you have overtraining syndrome is to track how long it takes you to recover. If you bounce back after a week or two, you probably weren't overtraining.

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Overreaching and best training recovery tools

Overreaching is a similar condition to overtraining and it is also characterized by performance decline, but recovery takes several days to weeks. Hard and frequent training, coupled with poor sleep, high levels of stress, and low calorie, low-carb diet may all make someone more likely to develop overtraining syndrome.

The best recovery tool is to manage your training.

  • Take a break from demanding exercise and let your body heal and repair itself. Do light activities, such as walking or stretching.
  • Ensure you're eating healthily
  • Aim for a sufficient amount of undisturbed sleep each night.

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Losing your fitness

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Mental fatigue

A paper published in 2009 called "Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans" showed that if the people do something that causes mental fatigue (computer games in this case) and then exercises, the perception of effort during physical exercise seems much higher than if there was less or no mental fatigue. Those who suffer from mental fatigue are likely to quit 15 percent earlier during training.

Performance changes

Professional athletes do not suffer to the same extend amateurs do.

Elite athletes require a bigger dose of mental fatigue before their performance suffers, perhaps because they build up a functional immunity to mental fatigue. But when it happens, a possible solution could be to taper of mentally before competitions or perhaps special brain endurance training. 

The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Running benefits

Running outperforms walking, cycling and other forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to lengthening life. Runners on average live three years longer compared to non-runners.

Overtraining

If you suffer from lower-body aches or strains, it could be an indication you're not giving yourself enough rest.

Excessive endurance exercise, especially during middle-age and beyond, could lead to damage to the heart.

The best way to exercise

To avoid injury, focus on the perception of effort, not duration.

At least twice a week, exercise at a greater intensity. Alternate between hard and easy days to give your body a chance to recover.