Low Testosterone? You Could Be Overtraining: What Is Over Training Syndrome?
Over training syndrome (OTS) is a common problem among bodybuilders and other athletes. OTS occurs when the athlete or even just a person who is not properly trained becomes overly tired from physical activity. Athletes may experience fatigue, headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness and even depression. The causes are many but it’s often due to poor nutrition and lack of sleep.
The Symptoms Of Over Training Syndrome Are Similar To Those Of Depression And Depressive Disorder
Depression and OTS both have similar symptoms. They include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability and loss of interest in usual activities. Both conditions are sometimes referred to as “old age” because they tend to develop later in life than most other medical problems. Some experts believe that these two conditions could be caused by aging itself.
How Does Over Training Cause Depression And OTS?
Many factors play into causing depression and OTS. One of them is stress. Stress can affect the body in several ways including lowering levels of certain hormones such as serotonin, increasing blood pressure, raising cholesterol levels and decreasing the production of growth hormone. Other possible reasons include genetic predisposition to depression and a high level of cortisol in the body which can lead to exhaustion.
Other Risk Factors For OTS
There are a number of other risk factors for OTS including personal or family history of mood disorders, genetics, high stress level and not enough sleep. Those suffering from OTS are also at risk of becoming dependent on prescription drugs such as sleeping pills or antidepressants that can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
Reasons For Over Training And How It Can Be Prevented
There are several reasons why over training occurs. They include lack of proper warm up, increase in intensity or duration of exercise, increase in the amount of exercises or drills done, excessive exercise without rest days and increase in intensity of workouts.
The thing to remember is this: Listen to your body when you work out. If you feel pain, don’t ignore it. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that you’re doing too much.
How To Know If You Are Over Training
There are several signs and symptoms to look out for if you think that you might be over training. They include:
Loss of enthusiasm for the activities you usually enjoy
Increased resting heart rate
Unexplained weight loss or gain
Feeling cold most of the time
Decreased ability to concentrate
Moodiness and irritability
If you are experiencing several of these symptoms it might be a good idea to see a doctor. Left untreated OTS can lead to more serious problems such as heart disease, sexual dysfunction and psychiatric disorders.
OTS Prevention Tips
There are several things that you can do to prevent OTS from happening to you. They include:
Get a check up from your doctor before you begin any strenuous exercise program. This is extremely important for those of you who are over the age of thirty. Before beginning any new exercise program get clearance from your doctor.
Warm up before and stretch after. Stretching helps keep your muscles limber and decreases your chances of pulling a muscle or becoming otherwise injured. Warm up for five to ten minutes before your workout and cool down for at least as long after.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain when you are working out, don’t ignore it. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong. Pain is your bodies way of telling you that something isn’t right.
You may have to decrease your intensity or duration of your exercise program while you’re getting back into shape. If you used to run five miles and now you can’t run a mile try cutting back until you build up your endurance again.
If you haven’t exercised for some time you will have to get clearance from your physician before beginning a strenuous exercise program.
Don’t exercise through pain. If you’ve been exercising a long time you are probably accustomed to some discomfort during your workouts such as a burning sensation in your muscles or shortness of breath. However, if you experience sharp pains while working out, stop immediately and try to determine the cause. Pain is not necessary or even beneficial when exercising.
In fact, if you do certain movements too aggressively you can cause irreversible damage to your muscle tissue or joints.
Don’t overdo it. This is really true of any exercise program, but especially those you are not used to. Start out slowly and work your way up to more intense workouts. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll be less likely to get injured.
Wear proper equipment. If you’re used to running five miles, but you’ve gained a little weight recently, you may find that you begin experiencing pain in your feet or knees after a mile or two. This will not only make the running unpleasant, it can quickly lead to injury if you continue. If you start having pain when running, pay attention to the cause.
It may be necessary to buy a new pair of running shoes or it may just be that your weight needs to be more evenly distributed when you run. Try varying your running technique (and making sure you’re wearing proper running shoes) and pace yourself so that you finish your run without pain.
If you’re planning on a more intense exercise routine than you’re used to, once again start out slowly and work your way up. You’ll not only feel better when you’re doing it, you’ll actually be less likely to get injured doing it.
Don’t over-train. As with anything, you can overdo exercise. All your workouts shouldn’t be five hour marathons or single day bike rides. Allowing your body to recover in between exercise sessions is just as important as what and how you’re exercising.
Wear appropriate clothing when you exercise. This one seems like it would go without saying, but you’d be surprised. It isn’t only for safety reasons either (shoes and helmets), it’s for comfort. If you’re exercising in clothing that is too tight, it can cause restrictions in your movement as well as increase your risk for injury.
If you’re exercising in extreme heat, wear light clothing that keeps you cool and don’t wear anything that limits movement.
If you’ve gained a bit of weight recently, don’t try to lose it all at once. Just like with any other type of crash dieting, this is not recommended. It can be very dangerous to your health. Instead, gradually decrease the amount of food you eat each day until you’re at a safe weight.
Then, once you reach your goal, don’t go back to eating too much just because you’re no longer worried about your weight.
Eat a healthy diet. Just like exercise, a healthy diet can go a long way towards helping you lose weight and keep it off. While you may not need to eat as healthily when you’re just starting out and your main goal is to exercise more, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of eating healthily as soon as possible. Not only will you begin to feel better, but you’ll have an easier time keeping the weight off once you start losing it.
Don’t make huge changes all at once. This goes along with the last two tips. Making too many changes at once, especially negative ones, is more likely to cause you to get frustrated and give up altogether. Start off by making one or two small changes at a time and once they become habit, add a few more.
Before you know it, you’ll be living a completely new lifestyle and it won’t even feel like a struggle.
If none of these tips work for you or you have additional questions, contact your doctor or other health care professional.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t always easy or quick, but it is possible. Combine a healthy diet with exercise and you’ll be well on your way towards not only losing weight, but maintaining your ideal weight as well. Best of luck to you!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Overtraining and immune system: a prospective longitudinal study in endurance athletes by HHW Gabriel, A Urhausen, G Valet – Occupational Health and Industrial …, 1998 – infona.pl
Cytokine hypothesis of overtraining: a physiological adaptation to excessive stress? by LL SMITH – Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2000 – Citeseer
Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide by JB Kreher, JB Schwartz – Sports health, 2012 – journals.sagepub.com
Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the overtraining syndrome: ECSS position statement ‘task force’ by R Meeusen, M Duclos, M Gleeson… – European Journal of …, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
Training modalities: over-reaching and over-training in athletes, including a study of the role of hormones by M Hug, PE Mullis, M Vogt, N Ventura… – Best Practice & Research …, 2003 – Elsevier
Overtraining athletes: Personal journeys in sport by SO Richardson, MB Andersen, T Morris – 2008 – books.google.com