Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) is a term used to describe a host of symptoms that come about as a result of doing too much exercise, and serves as an illustration of the old adage that you can get too much of a good thing.

At this time of year I like to remind my clients not to get carried away with their workouts when the weather gets nice.  After a long, cold, dark and dreary winter people in New Jersey – and any other place that experiences winter doldrums – look forward to the arrival of good weather.  In many cases, people “celebrate” the first nice weather of the year by doing more in a few days than they’ve done in months.

I understand the enthusiasm.  However, overdoing it with exercise in the short term – even during a two or three day span – can have long term repercussions.  Runners who run too much too early can develop from shin splints, tendonitis and a host of other seemingly minor ailments that can become chronic ailments.  Whether it’s high school distance runners or middle-aged weekend jogging warriors, a few days of overtraining can cause a lot of problems.

Runners aren’t the only active folks that get bit by the overtraining bug, as gym rats of all stripes are just as susceptible to doing too much and not getting enough rest.  Certainly overtraining isn’t a seasonal occurrence, but in my experience this is a time of year the many people are likely to burn the exercise candle at both ends.

Common signs of overtraining are:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of enthusiasm for training/activity
  • Abnormal appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Diminished immune system
  • Uncharacteristic muscle soreness from workouts
  • Joint soreness
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Elevated resting and training heart rate
  • Diminished capacity for exercise
  • Compulsive need to exercise


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