How much exercise is too much? Seven ways to avoid burnout

How much exercise is too much? Seven ways to avoid burnout

Making exercise part of your daily routine is something that many of us are now doing, whether that's HIIT training, a run or a BODYPUMP™ class at your local gym.

It's encouraging to see so many people regularly training to meet their goals, and generally becoming healthier as a result.

With all this in mind - if you have a set fitness regime in place, how do you know how many hours of exercise a week is too much, and how do you spot the signs of overtraining? Whilst the point of exercise is to push your body to the point of fatigue, there is a tipping point. If you take the intensity and frequency too far, and don't allow for recovery, you're putting yourself at risk of overtraining. This can put your body's adrenal function under stress.

The most common signs of overtraining are:

• Disrupted sleep

• Mood swings or feeling low

• A plateau in training progress

• An increase in musculoskeletal injuries

• Getting ill frequently

• Feeling exhausted, rather than energised, after exercise

Overtraining is often something associated with athletes, however Les Mills Head of Research, Bryce Hastings, explains this isn't always the case: "Athletes train solidly for six weeks and then change the intensity and frequency of their training, so they are never pushed to complete exhaustion. Exercise enthusiasts, or 'exercise addicts' identify their favourite types of training and then just go and go and go - they don't stop! They also have a tendency to add to their regime when something new comes along."

To keep your exercise routine on track and avoid that burnout feeling, we recommend these seven easy steps:

1.Vary the intensity: HIIT training is a great way to improve fitness quickly, and combined with a healthy eating regime you'll start to see results from this kind of exercise quite quickly. However, it's important to note that high intensity should be introduced slowly, so for beginners a maximum of three times a week for HIIT training would be recommended.

2.Listen to your body: You may have planned in a great class or set your gym kit aside to hit the gym before work, but if you recognise any symptoms of overtraining it is important to have a rest day. Remind yourself that when you push your body to fatigue, you don't deserve a medal - you deserve a rest!

3.Mix it up: Although regular vigorous exercise is great, always remember to compliment your hard-core training sessions with restorative options like yoga, walking or short jogs.

4.Walk it off: Go easy with stretching if your muscles are sore. The inflammation makes them sensitive and an aggressive approach to stretching won't make them recover any faster. The most effective way to reduce muscle pain is to walk it off!

5.Keep it fresh: To avoid burnout it's important that you take preventative action. Constantly review your training load and how your body is feeling as a result. Making a diary to see when you exercise and how you felt afterward is a good way to start.

6.Get your eight hours: Hit the gym earlier. Working out late at night could be messing with your sleep. We all need to wind down from exercise, so try to get your workout done a few hours before bed so you have chance to get a good night's sleep.

7.Rest during illness: If you're really ill, wait until a full recovery before beginning any fitness training. If you train when you're not feeling 100% it will have a knock on effect on your recovery.

Tips provided by Les Mills UK