Exercise is good for us, and it can also be fun to boot! Whether you visit the gym on a regular basis or test yourself to your limits on your daily run, exercise can be both rewarding and challenging. However, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Rather than boosting your health, excessive exercise can be detrimental to your wellbeing. If any of the following symptoms occur the next time you are exerting yourself, it’s time to stop and perhaps seek medical advice before you start to feel worse.
The warning signs of excessive exercise are…
Sharp pains: If you experience sharp pains in and around your chest area, then you need to slow down. Hopefully, the pain will subside, but if not, you may be having (or in danger of having) a heart attack. The other warning signs on this list are also symptomatic of this life-threatening problem, so dial the emergency services if you find yourself in trouble.
Difficulty with breathing: Running out of breath is normal during exercise, especially if you are pushing yourself way beyond your limits. However, if you regularly feel out of breath, and are exercising at your usual pace, there may be a serious problem. Again, see your doctor, and then see a pulmonologist for rehabilitation if you have specific respiratory problems.
Feelings of dizziness: While this can be common during exercise, especially if you haven’t eaten enough or are dehydrated, there may also be signs that you have other health problems. Again, it may be symptomatic of a heart attack if linked with any of the other warning signs on this list, but you may also be suffering from a high-blood pressure. Take a break, drink some water, and if the symptom persists, see your doctor.
Excessive sweating: Sweating is normal, and is part and parcel of exercise. However, if you are sweating far more than you usually do, then you know you are exerting yourself too much. Particularly if your heart is beating fast and you are suffering any other symptoms on this list, slow down or stop altogether, and see a doctor if you recognise other dangerous side effects of exercise.
Feelings of numbness: Some numbness is common, especially if you are gripping something for extended periods, such as weights or bicycle handles. Adjusting your grip or loosening your hands for a for moments should alleviate the problem. However, if you experience feelings of numbness when running, or the issue persists during the examples we mentioned, you may be in trouble. Again, seek a medical professional for advice.
Muscle cramps: If you have over-exerted yourself, you are in danger of muscle cramps. If you do have these joint pains, stop immediately before you put yourself into a worse position. Muscle cramps also occur when you are dehydrated, so take a break and top yourself up with fluids before deciding whether you are safe to continue exercise for the day.
While the phrase ‘no pain no gain’ can sometimes be associated to exercise, you do need to take precautions. Always pace yourself, and if you do experience any of the warning signs we listed, ensure you get the relevant assistance. Exercise is good for you, but safety must always come first.