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Workout Wednesday: Is Your Workout Hurting You?

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Daily workouts are something we all love to hate, but we know they’re good for us. If you’ve got fitness or health goals you’re committed to reaching, you’ve likely established a set routine for yourself.

We all love to challenge and push ourselves, but it’s important to be careful when doing so. Overdoing your workout can be easy to do, and most people don’t realize they’ve done it until it’s too late.

Do you know how to recognize that you’ve gone too far?

Understanding Your Physical Boundaries

When it comes to your workouts, you are the only one who knows what’s best for you. While setting goals is a great way to stay healthy (physically and mentally), it’s incredibly important to set realistic goals. Your body is your own—nobody knows what it’s capable of better than you, right?

130d33051348d826434ffc7349b6c699We’re all built differently. Maybe your neighbor can bench-press 350 pounds, but does that mean you have to? Of course not.

Just because you think you can do more—add that extra five pounds, run that extra mile—doesn’t mean that you should. We all have our physical limitations, and it’s important to note them and work within those constraints. The goals you set are still reachable, and that’s something that should always be at the front of your mind.

One of the most important keys to maintaining optimal health is learning and understanding your own bodily boundaries. When you’re at the gym and your body is sending you signals that it’s tired or in pain, the most important thing you can do is listen to it. These signals are sent for a reason, and ignoring them may lead to injury.

Signs That You Might Be Overworking Yourself

Your body has plenty of ways to let you know that you’ve taken your workout too far. If you find yourself experiencing any of them, slow down and stop what you’re doing. Always consult your healthcare provider if you think you should.

1. Feeling short of breath. This one might seem weird to you since shortness of breath is a regular thing while you’re exercising. However, it may also indicate that you’re pushing yourself a little too hard. If you’re unable to catch your breath, that’s a good sign that you’ve overdone it. If other symptoms like fever, chills, blue lips, of wheezing make an appearance, it may be a good idea to see your doctor, as these things could be signs of other medical issues.

2. Troubles getting a good night’s sleep. While it’s true that a good workout can help you sleep better, there’s a chance that overdoing it could keep you awake. A May 2014 study that appeared in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise states that “of the 27 male triathletes studied, those who were put in the overload training group slept for less time and less efficiently than those in the regular workout group” (Source). Scale down your workouts if you experience sleep issues, and see if you start to sleep better again.

3. Chest pain or feelings of tightness. This should be taken very seriously. Chest pain during exercise may  be indicative of a heart attack, and should be dealt with immediately. See a doctor right away. 

4. Stiff and sore joints or muscles. Some soreness is normal after a good workout, but if your joints or muscles are still sore the next day (or for longer than a day), you should be careful. Skip a day, if you need to. Break out the ice pack or heating pad. If your sore joints or muscles keep you from walking or doing other daily activities without discomfort, then that’s a sign that you need to take it easy.

5. Feeling nauseated or actually getting sick. Nobody wants to throw up after a workout. While it definitely happens to some people (I’ve been there myself), it’s not something that should become a habit. If you’re feeling nauseated after or during your workout, it could be a sign that your body needs water. It may also be a sign of heat exhaustion, especially if you’re working out outside or in a warm space. Take a break and drink some water.

How do you make sure you’re not overworking yourself? If you have tips, please leave them in the comments section below!

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