Health & Fitness: Balancing overtraining and the need to be active
Health & Fitness by Brittni Lair
Overtraining is something that is surprisingly common in avid health nuts. Is running mile after mile through the aches and pains worth it? Not always. As hard as it is to hear, a rest day is just what our body needs at times. Exercise is good for our mental health, and it helps some people get through their days. However, overtraining can lead to bigger issues like injuries.
How do you know your body needs a break? Listening to your body is key. If your occasional aches and pains become daily then you may need to either modify your workout or rest. A full day of rest can reset your body physically and mentally. Resting will allow your muscles to rebuild and may even aid in helping you perform better. A rest day built into a difficult week of workouts will also aid in injury prevention.
Injury prevention is key at any level of fitness. Repeating the same type of workout day after day can be extremely taxing on joints and muscle groups, especially if the workout consists of high impact activities. Adding cross training into your week can help with injury prevention. Cross training is doing an activity that is different than your normal or usual form of exercise. For example, an avid runner should cross train with some sort of weightlifting and other cardio activity like biking.
If an injury does occur, do we need to stop working out? No, there are plenty of modifications a person can do. If someone injures one shoulder, continuing lower extremity training, core and contralateral extremity training are all possibilities. This can be beneficial for a few different reasons. First, unilateral training is great for our overall health. This can help us avoid any injuries in the future to that extremity and it can also help us learn to not rely on only one side of our body. Second, unilateral work is great for our core. Having a strong core can aid injury prevention in multiple ways, including balance and stability.
At the end of the day, overtraining is very common. There are ways to still get a good solid workout and not lead to injuries and burn out. Cross training and rest days are both important in overall fitness.
Brittni Lair is a physician assistant in orthopedics in Albert Lea. She owns CrossFit InnerDrive. She enjoys spending time outside and with her friends and family.