There is obviously a huge divide in our society between those people who exercise and those who do not. But from what I see, there are subgroups in the exercise group; those who exercise and those who exercise too much. Yes, exercise too much.
Just like any other human endeavor, there can be too much of a good thing. Recovery from exercise takes many different forms – between sets, between exercises, between workouts – and can last seconds, minutes, hours, days, and even weeks. For the folks who overdo the exercise, their rest rarely goes beyond the hours stage.
There is so much information out there on exercise, that the advice to rest and recover gets drowned out. So while other coaches are constantly preaching the message of activity, I concentrate on the benefits – and necessity – of rest. Lack of rest and recovery can make a good workout bad.
Sound elements, great program design and proper technique can all be undone when you don’t take enough time to rest. Too little rest can reduce, and in many cases, eliminate, the desired benefits of exercise. From exercise to exercise, workout to workout, not taking enough time to let your body recoup will have a detrimental effect.
I have written about Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) and how it can derail even the fittest, most athletic members of the population. Unlike the common cold, which everybody knows when they have it, many people don’t realize that they are in the throes of OTS. The complex series of symptoms presented by OTS are the result of training too hard, too often.
Soreness, fatigue and a compromised immune system are just a few of the symptoms, and they can present themselves in a very short period of time. It doesn’t take long for someone who regularly trains, to overtrain. Understand that any workout or activity that you can do everyday is of low-quality and unlikely to provide a stimulus to improve your fitness level beyond the lowest level. And after a few months no benefits accrue from this kind of exercise.
Take time off from the gym when you are healthy, feel good and are 100%. Don’t wait until you are sick or injured to take time away from the gym; this does not count as time off. The most beneficial type of recovery occurs when you are not sick or hurt.