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Overexercising can have serious adverse effects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that exercising has a variety of benefits, including weight loss, stronger bones and muscles, stronger mental health and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. However, exercising has some common adverse effects as well, and it is important to be aware of potential pitfalls so you can avoid any negative results.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The proper amount of activity in your life is healthy for the mind, spirit and physical body, but overexercising and overworking your body has adverse effects. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends a minimum of 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week for average adults -- that can be a 30-minute exercise session, five days per week -- with muscle-building activities twice per week. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can be detrimental.
Even after a healthy exercise session, your body may ache for a couple of days. Do not confuse soreness, which is a sign of strengthening your muscles, with an actual injury. Soreness may cause light pain or discomfort when moving, slowing your motion down but not preventing you from performing any tasks. An injury can cause sharp pain in movement and inflammation and may prevent you from doing day-to-day activities. Physical side effects from overexercising include muscular atrophy as well as skeletal injuries such as shin splints, bone fractures, arthritis or damage to cartilage and ligaments. See your doctor if you believe you have an injury, and cease any further exercise except under the direction of your physician.
Recognizing an Injury
Severe injuries are immediately recognizable: broken or fractured bones, twisted joints or muscle tears. Smaller, less serious injuries can be more difficult to recognize; when ignored, they can develop into chronic pain over time. Signs of an injury include inflammation, tenderness of a particular spot, excessive or unnecessary weakness, joint pain, a reduced range of motion and tingling or numbness. Do not ignore the symptoms of even light injuries. Instead, take the appropriate amount of time off in order to fully heal.
Preventing the Pain
To avoid injuries, always exercise safely. Wear proper equipment to work out, such as supportive shoes that fit appropriately. When using weights, never lift more than you are capable of. The proper amount will have your muscles feeling tired and slightly weak by rep eight out of 10, but finishing the exercise should not be impossible. If you are struggling, have a friend or fitness trainer spot you. Always warm up and cool down with each exercise -- such as five to 10 minutes of light jogging, jumping jacks or jumping rope -- and stretch afterward to help with muscle recovery and flexibility. Sweating releases water and electrolytes, so drink water while you exercise as well as after to replenish what you lose. As an active individual, consume at least 64 ounces of water daily. Also, rest is an important part of your fitness regimen. Allow one to two days of recovery each week to keep your body strong and allow for healing.