Is Too Much Exercise Really Bad for Me?

Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Working out strengthens your muscles and bones, and it even improves your mental health. While medical professionals recommend exercise for improved fitness and for rehabilitation from back pain or injury, you can overdo it. Too much strenuous exercise can be harmful to your body, and it can worsen your back pain if you’re not careful.

The Southeastern Spine Institute in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina offers top spinal health expertise, the best non-invasive procedures and the latest medical technology. The Physical Therapy department provides personalized exercise programs that can help you strengthen your back without having to do too much exercise. Strengthening your back relies on exercising smarter, not harder.

What Are Some Signs of Too Much Exercise?

If you have back pain, you may try to avoid exercise, but if you avoid using your muscles, you can actually slow down your healing process. At the opposite extreme, trying to push too hard or do too much too soon can also backfire. Signs you may be exercising too much include:

  • Feeling tired all the time, including both mental and physical fatigue
  • Losing your motivation or becoming disinterested in exercise
  • Experiencing diminished performance, such as a noticeable decrease in strength or endurance
  • Mood changes that include depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Pain that lingers for a week or more

Too much exercise also affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Despite feeling tired, you may have trouble falling asleep. You may experience restlessness that keeps you awake. Either way, not getting the necessary amount of sleep affects your waking hours.

How Can I Avoid Too Much Exercise?

When doing exercises to stretch or strengthen your back, make sure you’re using the right form. A Southeastern Spine Institute physical therapist can teach you proper form for every exercise. Increase the amount of physical activity you’re doing slowly and gradually. To take care of yourself and avoid overdoing it, include:

  • Follow the instructions from your trainer or physical therapist
  • Cut back on exercise if you’re under a lot of stress or not feeling well
  • Don’t exercise in a room that’s too hot or too cold
  • Take a full day off from exercising after each session to let your body heal

Start every workout with gentle stretches to improve blood flow to your muscles. Warming up before exercising and cooling down the body after your workout also reduces the risk of injury. Stretches help you avoid overdoing your exercise routine.

Should I Work Through Back Pain During Exercise?

If you experience back pain when exercising, evaluate it. There’s a big difference between feeling sore and feeling pain. Expect some soreness, especially when you first start to exercise. A dull ache or a feeling of tenderness that subsides in 24 to 72 hours is normal. If you have persistent muscle soreness that lasts for days after a workout or if it’s concentrated on one side, you may have an injury.

Pain that’s moderate to severe is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. It could be that you’ve been doing the exercises incorrectly. It could also be that you have a back injury or condition that hasn’t been diagnosed yet. If you’re experiencing back pain that’s restricting your day-to-day activities, stop exercising. Contact the Southeastern Spine Institute with any questions you may have or to schedule a consultation.

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