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October 4, 2010 at 8:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Exercise for Beginners: How Much is Too Much?

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Starting anything new can be exciting and inspiring. When it comes to a personal exercise program, your enthusiasm should definitely work to your advantage by pushing you to always do your best. However, there are times when the excitement you have might cause you to go overboard with your training, especially if you are beginner. So, how much exercise really is too much?

What is Overtraining?

By now, you have probably heard the following rule: the more you put into something, the more you will get out of it. This is absolutely true, and if you do not stay dedicated to your workout program, it will not lead you to the results you are looking for. Following that line of thinking, it might make sense that you would achieve better results if you exercise more frequently. Unfortunately, that is not exactly how it works.

In order to be successful in exercising, you need a combination of effort, consistency, and knowledge. The last part is extremely important. Besides knowing which movements to perform and how to perform them, you also have to understand the dangers associated with overtraining. Increasing your physical activity level requires the correct amount of rest for your body to recover. Without that rest, your muscles cannot rebuild and your joints cannot strengthen. As a result, you will be more prone to injuries and other illnesses, including colds, muscle tears, headaches, and muscle or joint pain.

Overtraining can happen inadvertently and has been known to cause insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue, and reduced energy. The soreness can seem paralyzing because your muscles have been worked to the point of exhaustion, and will not be able to function until they heal. In many cases, the effects of overtraining do not take place until one or two days after the workout, which means that you will not necessarily know that you are doing too much while exercising.

The Slow Start

Generally, 30 minutes of exercising a day, four to five days each week, is the recommended amount of fitness activity. To avoid overtraining, start out slowly and gradually build up the length and intensity of your exercise program. Everyone progresses at their own rate and you should never compare yourself to others. Instead, closely monitor your workouts and update them as needed, but always maintain proper form.

Allow at least one full day of rest in between your workouts and remember that a muscle needs 48 hours to recover. Do not exercise the same muscle group two days in a row. If you are a beginner, it might take more than one or two days of rest at first; just be patient and listen to what your body is telling you.

The length of your workouts will depend on a number of factors, such as the activity you are doing, your fitness level, and your specific goals. All of these things are considered when designing an exercise program that is right for you.

Again, begin slowly with basic movements and shorter sessions. Build your strength and endurance and do not increase your training time by more than 10 percent in a given week. You can consult with a physician or personal trainer to learn more about the appropriate amount of exercise for your individual situation.

Sources:

http://www.campusrec.illinois.edu/personaltraining/images/articles/TooMuchExercise.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/fitness-beginners-guide

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