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Too much too soon can be problematic for your health

You finally made the decision to start working out, and you really are “feeling it.” You are on a roll and before you know it, you might have started “two-a-days.”
As we all know, too much, even the good stuff, is not always good for you.
I have been exercising pretty much since I was a baby, standing at 6 months, walking at 8 months and running at 9 months and swimming shortly after. I have absolutely experienced overtraining and many injuries in my sports career. You expect with elite athletes to run into overtraining and injuries because you really push your body to the limits.
But in everyday exercising, you, too, can experience overtraining. So how should you start an exercise program? If you haven’t been active and then begin an exercise program, start slowly. Two to three days a week for 30-60 minutes per workout is a good place to start. If that works for two weeks, increase your routine by one day and again re-evaluate in two weeks. I highly recommend starting with a trainer. At our YMCA, you can set up appointments for three free trainings. Find a group or organization that focuses on beginners. The Novant Beginner Runners just started another session Tuesdays at 6 p.m. The class runs for eight weeks, and the cost is $60 for Novant employees and $65 for all others. The price includes a Dri-Fit shirt, entry to the Bare Bones 5K and a one-year membership to Salisbury Rowan Runners. Call David Freeze for more information at 704-310-6741.
Salisbury Rowan Runners meets at the hospital in the lobby near the information desk. They would love to have you, and David will make sure you learn how to train properly and prevent overtraining. If you start on your own, make sure you have a good warmup and a thorough stretch after you are done. Because you just started, your enthusiasm is high, and you just can’t get enough of exercising. However, too much too soon can really affect your body negatively — including inflammation of the tendons due to overwork (tendonitis), joint pain, dehydration due to catabolic state, insomnia and depression. Catabolism is basically responsible for the proper preservation and growth in all cells. In catabolic state, the body can’t keep up with the restoration of the cells, which can be responsible for muscle soreness past the 72-hour mark. Proper nutrition and appropriate rest are musts for a healthy workout schedule.
Overtraining can also play a part in personality changes — from feeling like you are better than everyone to very low self-esteem, or feeling that if you don’t work out, the world will come to an end.
Overtraining can also affect your immune system, so you might notice you are getting sick more often. As we know from last week’s column, overtraining can decrease your testosterone production, which can bring about many other health issues. You can be more prone to injury because your body can’t recover. You might find you have decreased motivation because you don’t see progress. You need to work out for good health, but overdoing it can be problematic for your health. So my recommendation is to start with a trainer or group to learn how to build up to a safe and healthy workout program. If you are experiencing overtraining symptoms, re-evaluate your workout program and seek professional help if needed.
I will leave you this week with a quote by Edna Ferber:
“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.”
Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director for the JF Hurley YMCA

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