Believe it or not, too much exercise can be counterproductive. If you exercise more than you should, you could end up losing your strength, endurance, and energy causing your workouts to be a lot less effective than they should be. So how do you know if you have turned into an over exerciser? Here are five definite signs: You plan all important activities/events/appointments around your workouts. Do you find yourself passing on available doctor’s appointments or missing important events because they are the same time as your favorite spin class? Are you putting off friends and family because they can only get together when you usually work out? If you answered "yes," you need to step back and reassess what is important. Sure, taking care of your health should be at the top of the list, but missing one day of exercise or even changing your workout time once in a while will not have an effect on your health.
You feel physically and mentally ill if you miss a workout. This is one of the biggest signs that you are exercising too much because you are obviously doing it for reasons that may not be so good in the first place. Exercise is for greater health and keeping your heart, bones and muscles strong. But it shouldn't consume you. And if you are feeling withdrawal-type symptoms from missing just one day of exercise, you need to figure out why you are exercising—is it an escape from something in your life that is troubling you or is it more of a social occasion where you need your daily fix?
You have no energy at all. If you exercise every day without taking any days off here and there, your body is going to eventually shut down. So one day you'll go to do your usual workout routine and find that you have no energy to get through it. Why? Because you are not giving your body adequate time to recover from your previous workouts. The end result is that your current workout is going to be very ineffective since you have practically no energy to get through it. At that point, you should stay home, let your body rest, and then try exercising in a day—maybe even two. The workout after your rest day will be so much more effective because you recovered and, mentally, you cannot wait to get back to it making you work even harder and with more oomph.
You do not consider it a good workout if it is less than a certain amount of time (one hour, ninety minutes, etc.). This is a definite sign that your outlook on exercise is a bit distorted. Every workout should be about quality, not quantity. You could get a great workout in under an hour—it is just a matter of what you choose to do in that time. You could run on the treadmill for two hours or do back-to-back classes, but that doesn't mean you are getting a better workout. What you are getting is a longer workout that, after an hour, will probably not be doing much of anything aside from wearing you out. At some point during that long time, your body is just going through the motions so no extra gains are being made. Plus, you are completely exhausting your body, so working out the next day will be that much harder.
You have trouble sleeping and/or you get sick more often. Sure, exercise is supposed to make you healthier and keep your body in a relatively even state. But if your sleep is getting disrupted or you have trouble falling asleep, or if you are getting sick more often than usual, these can all be signs of too much exercise. Excessive exercising suppresses your immune system making you highly susceptible to catching a cold or virus. And if you are not getting enough sleep, your cognitive abilities can be impaired which is definitely not good if you are a mom.
While exercise is good for you, it should not consume your life to the point that it affects your relationships, your health, your sleep, or your ability to function. If you find that any of these things are happening, try taking a look at your current workout routine and see where changes can be made. Perhaps incorporating a rest day one or two times a week and/or shortening your workouts can make a difference. You do not want to exercise yourself into the ground so that you cannot function—both physically or mentally. If making these changes seems impossible or you feel worse after making them, you may need to seek some medical assistance as there could be reasons for your excessive exercising habit.
Bottom line—do not exercise to the point of over exhaustion or mental slow down. Listen to your mind and your body and make the necessary changes so that both remain healthy and happy.