Stress and Burnout
by Lucy Miller
A Fitness and Nutrition Expert
We all know that exercise is a great way to beat stress, lose weight and boost your confidence, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing – I’m a great example of this. I love being active and hate rest, and have suffered with many injuries because of this. It’s only the last few years that I’ve learnt the importance of rest and that adequate rest and recovery is absolutely essential if you want to see results from your workouts.
There are many signs that show you are overdoing it. Here are some things to look out for:
- You’re constantly suffering from sore muscles
Sore muscles are a good indication that you have worked hard, right? But if you exercise intensely every day and don't give your body enough time to recover, your muscles won’t have time to repair themselves so can’t they can't get stronger. You need rest to see results.
- You can’t shake that pulled hamstring
No pain, no gain – don’t believe it! Pain is a way of your telling your body to stop, so listen and get any injuries checked out instead of hitting the gym - they will only get worse, if not!
- You’re always tired
Working out is supposed to give you energy and help you sleep better, not make you feel exhausted! So if you're catching enough Z's at night but still yawning all day with mental and physical exhaustion, ask yourself if you are pushing too hard.
- You’re ill again
..and your boss is getting the hump - not another sick day! Pushing your body day in, day out affects your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick and everyone hates being ill!
- You’ve lost interest in the gym
Everyone has their burnout moments, but if the whole idea of exercising has lost its appeal, then ask yourself if you are giving yourself enough downtime. You may need to shake things up a bit.
If any of these sounds like you, then take a week off training to recharge your batteries. You don’t need to stop moving altogether but why not do things you enjoy like walking, dancing or hitting the dry ski slopes? Moderation is definitely the key to building fitness and sometimes less really is more. Listen to your body and choose your activities wisely and I can almost guarantee, after a week off, you will itching to get back into your usual exercise routine and your results will be better than ever.
The bottom line is to remember to schedule in your weekly rest days and take a week’s break every six to eight weeks. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
Lucy Miller is a fitness and nutrition advisor, and Fitness Editor at Health & Fitness Magazine (www.womensfitness.co.uk
). She holds fitness qualifications from NASM Training and Premier Training International.Read her biography