We set aside 2 ½ hours of our time per week for physical activity. Not just sport, but physical activity in general, says the World Health Organization (WHO), or any movement that involves the musculoskeletal system and makes us consume energy. Physical exercise and other activities such as playing, walking, cleaning, gardening and dancing are considered to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What are the benefits?
Regular physical activity is one of the pillars which a correct lifestyle must include. Exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer and depression. In addition, physical activity helps to contain the risk of fractures and to keep body weight under control. An inadequate level of physical activity is ranked among the 10 risk factors for death worldwide. Here are the practical guidelines of WHO on physical activity aimed at all healthy people:
Children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years:
- At least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per day
- Exceeding this level will further benefit health
- Muscle and bone strengthening activities should be done at least 3 times a week
Adults aged 18 to 64:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of higher intensity (or an equivalent combination of the two types of physical activity)
- Additional health benefits come if the minutes of moderate physical activity go up to 300 minutes
- At least 2 days a week of physical activity that strengthens the main muscle groups
Adults over 65 years of age:
- The previous recommendations apply also to this category, with a specific indication for people with reduced mobility. For these, physical activity should be practiced in order to improve balance and prevent falls at least 3 days a week
- A recommendation for everyone: to have an effect on cardio-respiratory health, any type of physical activity should be carried out in intervals of at least 10 minutes in duration
How do we know if we are training too much?
However, there will be a time when your body screams for you to reduce the strain.
How? Using these signals:
- It takes longer to recover
This is a clear indication that “we have crossed the line” and that we are training too much.
If you find it hard to breathe for several minutes, you feel that you lack energy or that your legs or arms are not responding, perhaps you should reduce your training rates a little.
The lack of recovery is also noticeable when you have pain just after finishing the routine or if, even if we drink two liters of water, we continue to feel thirsty.
- You have less resistance
When training is very frequent, the defenses weaken instead of strengthening. Therefore, more time is needed to regenerate the “injured” muscle fibers during training, as well as to cure a simple cold.
Maybe we got sick and took longer to heal. This is another sign that we are doing too much physical activity.
- The pulse increases in the morning
When we do a lot of physical activity, the heart rate changes. Measure your pulse in bed and before you get up every morning.
If they are higher in the early hours of the day, it is a typical sign of too much physical activity, as the body is not recovering as it needs.
- It is more difficult to sleep
Insomnia is a common problem for those who train a lot. The body produces an excess of stress hormones when it trains too much.
For this reason, when night comes, it is more difficult to sleep, even if you are very tired.
- You are in extreme and persistent pain
When any part of the body hurts, even at rest (for example, on weekends), we should automatically stop exercising.
It is common for this to happen when workouts are too demanding, repetitive and close together (without giving us days to rest).
Cramps, pins and needles and contractures are more present when the muscles are overloaded.
- You feel tired in general
In addition to muscle fatigue, which can occur by doing too much physical activity, we feel lacking in strength and energy to carry out other daily activities (including working, studying, cooking, etc.).
- No results are obtained
If your goal was to lose weight, but the balance has been in the same place for a few weeks even though you have increased your level of physical activity, it is obvious that it is due to this change.
When you demand too much of your body, your metabolism slows down and you have a harder time losing weight.
- A bad mood is the rule
One of the signs that you are doing too much is that you are always irritated, in a bad mood and angry.
Although training reduces stress and allows us to release tension, when we exceed the limit we get the opposite effect.
Instead of going to the gym, it is better to opt for a more relaxing activity such as a nice soak in the tub, watch a movie or sleep.