Coping With Overtraining

Coaches and athletes, in their quest for better performance, follow intense training programs in the hope of gaining an edge over the competition. However, a fine line exists between programs that improve condition and those leading to overtraining. Overtraining is an imbalance between training and recovery. The consequences can be severe and include decreased performance, injury, depressed immunity and psychological depression. Training programs must be intense enough to improve fitness and skill, yet provide enough rest to ensure adequate recovery. Chronically overtrained athletes who get injured or crash may never reach their former levels of performance. Unfortunately, there is no single marker of overtraining. Instead, it is linked to a variety of symptoms that include decreased performance, overuse injuries, elevated resting heart rate, markers of muscle damage (i.e., creatine kinase), depressed testosterone, elevated or depressed cortisol, frequent illnesses, psychological depression and abnormal behavior. Hard work is important for increased fitness, muscle mass and strength, but overwork leads to breakdown and failure. (ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 19 (2): 4-5, 2015)

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