Rest is just as important as exercise.
Exercise is good for you. But of course too much of a good thing can be just as detrimental to your health as being sedentary. The key is to make sure you’re giving yourself ample time to rest between workouts, and that you aren’t doing too much of any one exercise. Variety is a main player in the game of avoiding overuse injuries. Also tweaking your intensity and frequency help you not to suffer from overtraining. How do you know when you’re going too hard though? Here are some notable signs to look for:
In place of energy, exercise gives you a case of sleepiness. In addition, maybe you feel a little down & out. Exercise is supposed to leave you with an “I can do anything” attitude and general disposition. When you start to feel like it sucks the life out of you instead of that feeling of accomplishment, it might be time to lay off for a day.
You notice that you get sick easier and the sickness lasts longer. When you exercise too much, your immune system takes a beating. This leaves you susceptible to any and all germs flying around, and no good way to fight them. Thus, you get sick faster and it could last longer because your body doesn’t have the tools it requires to fight off the germs.
Sleeping has become a chore, or on the flip side, you feel like sleeping all the time. When you don’t give your body what it needs, it will take it when it can get it. If you think you’re doing your body good by going that extra little bit when you are already feeling tired, well your body may react by sleeping through the alarm the next day.
If your feet are dragging, literally. Or you're muscles are sore for more than 48 hours after a workout. When your arms or legs begin to feel heavy and you don't have the stamina that you used to, you need to rest. Your body is trying to tell you its tired. In addition, if your muscles stay sore for longer after a workout, they are well overdue for some relaxing. If you don't listen you can seriously injure yourself.
The surest sign that you are in need of some serious z's is your mood. Have you been snappy lately? Your patience wearing thin long before it used to? That's the number one sign that you need to catch up on sleep.
The best rest time for exercise is 2 days per week. However, if you feel yourself suffering from one or more of the above symptoms, by all means take an extra day. A good article on this topic is “7 Hidden Signs of Overtraining” on sparkpeople.com. For more information, please call the Wayne County YMCA at (570)253-2083 or visit us on the web at ymcawayne.com.