What Does Overexertion Mean | How To Avoid?

All what you should know about symptoms of overexertion

Written by Meredith Hayes. Updated on What Is Overexertion?


Physical activity accelerates metabolic processes, helps keep fit, and is also an excellent prevention of many diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. But a logical question arises: how much time should be allotted to sports so that workouts bring benefit, not harm.

If the sport has become an obsessive habit for you, and every day you torture yourself with running and strength exercises, then know that there will be no benefit from such activity. Keep reading and learn about symptoms of overexertion.

What Is Overexertion?

Excessive exercise can adversely affect the brain. Overloading the body with sports exercises has a bad effect on cognitive control. It is the brain capacity that allows a person to regulate their behavior in accordance with current tasks. This ability influences decision-making, planning, behavioral inhibition, and other functions.

Signs of Overexertion

The first signs of this state fatigue and apathy. However, do not confuse this with laziness, which is often disguised as a given syndrome! The real physical overexertion is high blood pressure, sore and heavy muscles of the legs and arms.

symptoms of overexertion
Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

If you feel something like this, then it is likely the time to pay attention to the signals of your body. They can progress further: you notice that you are having difficulty concentrating on completing one task or exercise, you no longer experience the pleasure of training, which has now become exhausting and hard work.

So, the main symptoms of overexertion in exercise:

      The strengthened pulse even in a state of relative rest, increased pressure;

      A sharp or gradual decrease in body weight;

      General weakness of the body, nausea and a tendency to colds;

      Lack of concentration, constant irritation, nervous instability, fatigue;

      You have a constant desire to stop playing sports, miss a workout or reduce stress;

      After the usual exercises, the body needs more strength to recover, there is strong overexertion of muscles.

If you experience at least part of the described conditions, then, quite possibly, at the moment you really should postpone trips to the gym and do restoration of the body.

What Can Cause Overexertion?

symptoms of overexertion
Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

Usually, overload occurs under the following circumstances:

      Too much too fast. For example, a 10-20% increase in training volume in 3-4 weeks

      The frequent combination of 2 difficult training elements. For example – a combination of a long run through the hills at a pace or with high-speed work.

      2-3 intensive workouts, with exceeding the lactation threshold, in one week, on the run or on a bicycle

      The absence of 2 days of light workouts between the difficult workouts of clause 2 or clause 3

      Psychological or emotional stress in different areas of life

      Lack of sleep

      Inability to eat properly during or after training

      Congestion of the calendar season with sporting events

If you have already noticed that at least one of the points listed above applies to you, you are risking to develop physical overexertion. And if you notice 2-3 points, then you may already be experiencing overstrain.

Consequences of Overexertion

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As a result of the failure of adaptive capabilities, negative changes can occur in various body systems, for example:

      damage to the musculoskeletal system;

      cardio-respiratory system: heart rhythm disturbances, shortness of breath, etc;

      endocrine system: metabolic disturbances, hormonal changes;

      the immune system: inhibition of various parts of the immune system;

      the psychophysiology: pain of a neuralgic nature; changes in the emotional-volitional sphere, loss of motivation to run, apathy, depression.

Overexertion Injuries

In general, muscles are injured due to insufficient preparation for training during warm-up or over-training. Stretching or rupture of poorly “warmed up” muscles can occur even with light loads or sudden movement. And the state of overtraining occurs as a result of the fact that the body does not have time to recover between workouts.

Most commonly, injuries such as: 

bruises and sprains (35.5%),

fractures and dislocations (28.4%),

damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles (21.3%),

soft tissue damage (7.2%).

Most athletes know that without pain you can’t achieve the result, but you need to distinguish the pain that occurs when an injury occurs or as a result of overexertion.

Overexertion Treatment

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First of all, you have to understand that your body needs rest. It means that physical activity is to be limited or stopped. If you feel severe pain or heaviness in the muscles, then the following techniques can help:

      a hot bath with sea salt and oils;

      performing light workouts and stretching, aerobic exercises;

      massage of the overexerted muscles;

      The most important treatment in this situation is a full sleep, which should begin not later than 23.00 and last at least eight hours a day. Try to get up without an alarm, and at the request of your internal biological clock.

They say that the body itself knows and gives a signal when it has completely slept, and your main task during the rehabilitation period is to properly rest from various systems and rules, wake up rested and full of energy.

You should resume training gradually, only after you feel a surge of strength. Before increasing the load, be sure to consult with a trainer and your doctor.

How to Avoid Overexertion?

physical overexertion
Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

      First of all, learn to listen to your body. If you feel tired, do not force yourself to continue training.  Your body will give you a clear signal when it is time to stop.

      An ideal option is to use a personal trainer and doctor. Based on your physiological parameters, they will create an individual sports program for you that will only benefit you.

      Do not be lazy, and have a special training diary where you would write down all the data related to training, as well as your weight and the number of calories consumed per day. So you can control the process of your workouts and find out any deviations in training in time.

      If you play sports, then doctors strongly recommend drinking plenty of water. If your training lasts more than one hour, then it is advisable to take special sports drinks with electrolytes, and in other cases, mineral water without gas is suitable.

      And the most important recommendation is to hurry slowly. Do not try to achieve everything in one go.  Try to gradually increase the load so that your body is comfortable.

Written by
Meredith will assist you with your health and family problems. She is a professional therapist who has huge experience in the field of family health care.
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