8 min

Exercise is engaging in physical activity. It can be light exercise such as going walk, doing household chores or can be high-intensity exercise such as weight training, cycling etc. Exercise can improve physical health and build physique and maintain health. Over exercise, as the name suggests is an excess in the amount of regular work-out.

Good health can be maintained by doing regular exercise and following a balanced diet. It has huge benefits on the mind and body it helps people to overcome depression. Further, it the improved mental health, muscles build up and weight loss can be a boon and also a bane if not followed properly. Too much of anything is harmful, overexercise causes stress to mental health and body.


A human can perform 150 to 350 minutes (2.5 hours to 6 hours) of moderate physical activity. 75 to 150 minutes (1 hour to 3 hours) of vigorous physical activity per week. Excess of anything always tends to have a negative impact.A vigorous workout will have an undesirable impact on cerebral health, harmful to psychological beings which strains our bodies a lot, leads to physical injuries and causes burnout.

Over-exercising cause energy imbalance i.e. between the amount of energy consumed and the amount of energy expended during exercise.


  • Exceeding 300 minutes of exercise a week may lead to physical burnout.
  • Tipping point exists in everything and even in workouts, anything beyond tipping point can be more detrimental than beneficial. This tipping point is reached with too much exercise without proper recovery.
  • Tipping point is known as over training syndrome.
  • Over training syndrome is imbalance between training and recovery.
  • This can be seen in persons with stressful occupation who engage in intensive training and sometimes over train by feeling guilty if they don’t exercise so these individuals may continue to exercise even if they are sick or injured, they may even skip work to exercise.
  • It can also occur when you work out without enough recovery time between sessions.
  • Over training syndrome lower your fitness level, affects your performance and cause injuries.
  • Meanwhile, by working out within limits and allowing for enough recovery time between workouts can avoid overtraining.


Athletes train hard to reach peak performance. Athletes don’t recover adequately from one training session before starting another one. Overtraining syndrome is seen mostly in athletes.

The first response to training stress occurs in the brain through a complex neuroendocrine process delivered to the body through nerves and hormones. It is the Hypothalamic pituitary adrenal HPA axis. This is the same mechanism that occurs during adapting to physical, biochemical and mental-emotional stressors. Further, this process involves an increase of 2 stress hormones (epinephrine and cortisol) with increased actions of autonomic nervous system sympathetic and parasympathetic components.

  • Healthy stress response to exercise produces signs and symptoms like muscular fatigue, hunger and thirst.
  • Undue stress can produce more muscle fatigue, weakness, and soreness and nutrient cravings.
  • Exceeding of threshold with excess training or reduced rest time can induce excess exercise stress. In addition, the transition from functional to non functional reach in stress is onset of over training.


Stage 1Acute uncompensated stressIncreased training stress with lack of rest. It causes fatigue, hunger, sleep deprivement and muscle soreness. Further, the recovery time is about 1-3 weeks
Stage 2Excess stress with sympathetic over-exerciseTraining consistently without recovery time. It causes fatigue, pain, depression, cravings, menstrual problems and hormonal imbalance. Recover time – 1-3 months.
Stage 3Chronic stress with over-exerciseReduced HPA axis response to stress. It causes injury, poor health, poor immunity system, reduced sympathetic and parasympathetic function. Recovery time – up to 10 months. 


Muscle strain and pain :

Firstly, a High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout leads to muscle strain. Subsequently, overtraining causes soreness and injuries which leads to micro-tears in muscles.

Loss of appetite due to over exercise :

Cut back on calories affects health and performance. When the body consistently uses energy from energy reserves it leads to nutritional deficiency such as anaemia, which can also lead to complications affecting cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine systems, nervous systems and can also affect reproductive systems which cause irregular cycles.


Cardio training leads to overuse injuries like stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, joint strains, soft tissue injuries and shin splints. Further, high impact exercise causes wear and tear in body tissues.

Persistent injuries and muscle pain from over exercise:

Extended muscle soreness and injuries which don’t heal are signs of overtraining. Certainly, it’s harder for the body to heal if too much stress is given.

Fatigue as a result of over exercise:

When excessively drained during or after a workout it leads to fatigue. It can also happen when the body doesn’t get enough energy before a workout so it uses carbohydrate, protein and fat reserves for energy.

Irritability and agitation :

Meanwhile, overtraining affects stress hormone levels which cause depression, mood changes and lack of concentration.

Workout feels challenging :

Workout tends to feel more challenging which takes more effort to complete. Heart rate is increased due to increased effort to complete a workout. It leads to a high heart rate during workouts. Higher resting heart rates during the day, the heart may take a longer time to return to its resting rate after exercise.

Decline in performance from overexercise:

Overtraining may decrease performance than improve. Further, it leads to less strength, agility and endurance.

Decreased immunity :

A person may be prone more to infections, illness and upper respiratory tract infections. Further, decreased immunity is a villain by itself.

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Disturbed sleep :

When stress hormones are out of balance, it may be hard to relax. Lack of quality sleep leads to chronic fatigue and mood changes.

Weight gain :

Exercising without rest can lead to low testosterone levels. Further, it can raise levels of cortisol (stress hormone) these hormonal changes lead to muscle loss, weight gain and excess belly fat.

Rhabdomyolysis :

It is muscle tissue breakdown that occurs during certain types of intense exercise. Release of protein- myoglobin from damaged muscle cell is toxic to kidney cells and it impairs and clogs filtration system and cause renal failure.

Firstly, exercising without a rest day can cause both physical and mental exhaustion. Further, it causes depletion of glycogen in muscles which can trigger the body to use proteins for energy. In addition, without a rest day muscles, joints don’t have sufficient time to repair. So it can lead to mental exhaustion.


A rest day allows the body to rest. It helps with injury reduction. Muscles recover, adapt and become stronger and help the nervous system to regenerate, repair and rebuild. Further, appropriate rests help to prevent overtraining.

Benefits of rest days:

Repair and build muscles:

Exercise creates microscopic tears in muscle tissue. However, during rest days cells known as fibroblasts repair and rebuild.

Prevents injury:

This also causes stress & strain on muscles which can lead to injury.

Alleviate muscle pain and soreness:

The body removes excess lactate from muscles. It helps to alleviate muscle pain and soreness.

Replenishing body energy:

Exercise depletes glycogen levels which lead to muscle fatigue. Glycogen is energy stored in muscles. Meanwhile, a rest day allows the muscle to replenish the stored glycogen and reduces muscle fatigue.

Improves performance:

It increases energy and prevents fatigue which prepares the body for a consistent workout.

Healthy sleep:

Physical activity increases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Constant exercise overproduces these hormones so the quality of sleep is deprived. Further, rest days help hormones return to a normal and balanced state.



Take a break :

Overtraining is caused by not taking enough rest days between exercise routines. Therefore, take a week-long break and stop all workouts. Consequently, you can continue with simple stretches to retain flexibility.

Drink more water :

Overtraining leads to dehydration. Remember, rehydrate to recover.


Most importantly, getting those much-needed massages after intense workouts helps to recover faster and relieve painful muscles.

Hot and cold therapy:

Using a heating pad, sauna, and hot bath can soothe aching muscles. In addition, a cold shower or ice pack helps to reduce pain and swelling.


Firstly, mix up workouts when your body is ready. Target the conditioning of different muscles by working out on some muscles leaving others to rest and recover. Subsequently, do general exercise to stay active. After beginning training again and if you start to experience symptoms of overtraining, you need to return to resting and consult a physician.

Consult your doctor if any injuries worsen over time or don’t heal if muscle soreness lasts more than 24 hours in joint and ligament pain. Further, they can help with a training program that balances rest and recovery with adequate training. Individual recovery time will vary from person to person. Improvements can be expected after 2 weeks. To clarify, when OTS is severe it may take up to 3 months to heal completely.


To sum up, schedule regular rest days after a long or intense workout. Have a rest period between workouts can be from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. On rest, days include activities such as walking, jogging, yoga and swimming as it will relieve muscle tightness and stay active.

To balance intense workouts activities such as yoga, meditation can be done. Have a healthy well-balanced diet with an accurate amount of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables along with will regular workout or any physical activity will lead to a healthy lifestyle.

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Dr. Reshma

I am a dental surgeon and cosmetologist. I love to take care of pets, draw mandala and travel. My area of interest is aesthetic medicine and forensics.


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