Exercise...How Much is Too Much?



Like anything in life, exercise should be done in moderation. There are usually two types of people when it comes to fitness; those who aren't motivated to exercise at all and those who love to exercise because it makes them feel good. There is also one more type of person who takes exercise to the extreme of an addiction. This person takes up a very small percentage of the fitness community, however, I have been seeing more and more of these people coming out of the woodwork lately.

When you exercise, your body is releasing what I like to call "feel-good" hormones. These hormones are endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine which make you feel energized and happy. You are also increasing blood flow to your brain, heart, lungs, and muscles which carries with it, oxygen. This increase in oxygenated blood will also increase your energy levels, lower blood pressure, clear brain fog, and help you sleep better at night. If you would like a more detailed description of what happens in your body during exercise, you can check out this awesome article.

This feeling of energy and euphoria can become addicting to some people. They like feeling this way so much that they literally can't go a day without it. So, why is this bad?

Over-exercising can cause the following symptoms:

  • Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized

  • You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold)

  • You are depressed

  • You're unable to sleep or are unable to get enough sleep

  • You have "heavy" legs

  • You are irritable

  • You're regularly sore for days after you exercise

If you are exercising more than 4-5 days a week or are overestimating what your body can handle, you may experience some of these symptoms. It is extremely important to build in recovery time, especially if you are doing weight training. Your body needs to be able to rebuild and repair the muscle that you've worked.


Here is an example of an exercise schedule that I recommend for my own clients:

Monday

Cardio warm-up (15 minutes)

  • Elliptical

  • Biking

  • Jump-roping

  • Trampolining

  • Dance

Strength training (45 minutes-1 hour)

  • Use light weights to start and slowly build up as you get stronger

  • For beginner men, I recommend starting with 5-8 pound weights

  • For beginner women, I recommend 2-3 pound weights

Cool-down and stretching (8-10 minutes)

  • Hold each stretch for about 16 seconds

Tuesday

Light Pilates (20-30 minutes)

  • Choose something with more stretching and less weight-bearing movements

  • or

  • REST

Wednesday

Cardio warm-up (15 minutes)

  • Elliptical

  • Biking

  • Jump-roping

  • Trampolining

  • Dance

Strength training (45 minutes-1 hour)

  • Use light weights to start and slowly build up as you get stronger

  • For beginner men, I recommend starting with 5-8 pound weights

  • For beginner women, I recommend 2-3 pound weights

Cool-down and stretching (8-10 minutes)

  • Hold each stretch for about 16 seconds

Thursday

Light Pilates (20-30 minutes)

  • Choose something with more stretching and less weight-bearing movements

  • or

  • REST

Friday

Cardio warm-up (15 minutes)

  • Elliptical

  • Biking

  • Jump-roping

  • Trampolining

  • Dance

Strength training (45 minutes-1 hour)

  • Use light weights to start and slowly build up as you get stronger

  • For beginner men, I recommend starting with 5-8 pound weights

  • For beginner women, I recommend 2-3 pound weights

Cool-down and stretching (8-10 minutes)

  • Hold each stretch for about 16 seconds

Saturday

REST

Sunday

REST

You need to make sure that you are listening to your body and its needs. If you are feeling tired or run down, skip exercising. This might be your body's way of telling you that you need to recover.

Exercising for more than an hour actually stops benefiting your body. When you go over this amount of time, your body is more prone to catabolism, which is the breakdown of tissue and canceling the potential growth of the muscle. An increase of excess cortisol also prevents proper healing and overuse injuries are common in over-exercisers.

Rather than experiencing an increase in "happy" hormones and energy, you might start to feel more anxiety, depression, and irritability. Your hormone become imbalanced, causing many other health issues.


You want to keep your fitness routine to under 1 hour as much as possible. The ideal amount of time for the best benefits is only 45 minutes. Just remember, less is sometimes more. It is more important to maintain homeostasis within your body than to push it beyond what it can bear.

I hope this answers any questions you may have had about exercise. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this topic. If you would like a consultation, you can contact me using the contact form. Your first consultation is free and can be done in person or via Skype or phone. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

Amanda

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