Too Much Exercise Can Cause Burnout

About photo by Eric Hernandez: Whether students choose to exercise alone or in a group, it’s good to maintain balance in their weight loss goals.

Nicole Kappelman, Contributor

How much are you willing to go through in order to maintain that perfect figure and your health? There’s a difference between moderation and overload.

Lewis University has many available resources, including the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, where students, faculty and athletes all have the opportunity to work out at their convenience.

However, does easy gym access and intense workouts come at a price?
The Student Recreation and Fitness Center is open every day during the week, with hours ranging from eight to 16 hours a day. Whether students are going in to work out, to take a fitness class or are on their way into team practice, an average of 500 students swipe in with their ID cards per day, according to the student workers at the front desk.

“There’s a lot of students and staff that come in here,” said Max Schmelzer, senior rec center staff member. “You start to recognize some faces, but other than that, there are a good amount of people coming in here throughout the week.”

Most students traveling in and out of the center each day are athletes, and even they sometimes feel that working out and practicing too much can lead to burnouts.

“I feel that sometimes practicing and working out every day can be overkill,” said freshman softball player Karly Jackson. “Although it makes you a better athlete and makes you work hard and stay in shape, doing it every day can sometimes be too much on our bodies.”

Working out excessively can physically do harm to the body. Injuries are especially common in athletes who are in the cardio and weight rooms every day in order to perform their best during season.

“Working out every day and practicing as a team depends on the team,” said assistant athletic trainer, Rachel Patera. “However, the NCAA does a good job of regulating teams’ activities by putting a limit of 20 hours per week for practice.”

While working out and staying fit are essential toward a long and healthy life, the pressure to have the perfect figure can physically affect people in the long run. Common injuries can include muscle strains, sprains in the knee, ankle or wrist, shoulder injuries, tendonitis and shin splints, according to the University Center for Health & Counseling Services.

“Both the American Heart Association and the Department of Health and Human Services recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercises,” said campus nurse, Cathy Hopp, RN. “Exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week is a good guideline to follow. Start slowly, don’t overdo it and increase the intensity and duration of exercise over time. Don’t overuse a muscle group, and always pay attention to your body. If you are experiencing pain, you may be overdoing it and causing injury to your body. Give your body time to recover, and resume your exercise routine in a day or two, once your body has had time to recover.”

While non-athletes are trying to keep up with society’s pressure to be skinny, their physical needs can go to their heads. Working out can release endorphins and make a person feel good emotionally, but exercising every day can lead to physical problems down the road.

Aside from the physical injuries, the emotional toll can take effect when people become dependent on the need to work out or diet.

“Exercising too much can lead to exercise burnout,” Hopp said. “Some signs to watch for include disinterest in exercising, fatigue, mood changes, insomnia, decreased performance and appetite loss. Besides causing injuries, burnout and fatigue, excessive exercising can also be a sign of a more serious issue, such as anorexia or OCD. If any of these symptoms develop, a visit to your doctor is recommended.”

While excessive exercising can be too much on a person, Hopp still urges students to try to do at least something daily if possible.

“Because physical activity and exercise are important in maintaining both physical and mental health, it is a good idea for most everyone to have some form of physical activity or exercise every day,” Hopp said. “Walking is one of the easiest and most convenient forms of exercise. It is low-impact, and provides both cardiovascular and strengthening benefits. It is safe, simple, and can usually be incorporated into your routine despite how busy your schedule is. If you can’t commit to a 30-45 minute walk daily, try breaking up your walking routine into two or three short 10-15 minute walks throughout the day.”

Nicole Kappelman
Nicole Kappleman is the sports editor for the Flyer.

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