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Signs & Symptoms of Overtraining

By Stan Mack

Overtraining is difficult to diagnose. You might be working out too hard, or you might have a health problem that is causing symptoms similar to overtraining. Only a doctor can diagnose overtraining, but knowing the symptoms can help you determine the effectiveness of your workout and whether you are getting enough rest.

General Symptoms

Fatigue is the most common symptom of overtraining, according to Princeton University, which points out that overtrained athletes also might feel moody, irritated, depressed or unenthused by their sport or suffer from sleep problems. Other symptoms include decreased appetite, weight loss, muscle soreness and increasing incidences of injuries, according to the university.

Cardiovascular Symptoms

Overtraining taxes your cardiovascular system. You might find that you have an elevated heart rate during routine exercises that you normally could handle or even while in a resting state. It's difficult to analyze your heart's performance by yourself, so consult your doctor, who can perform a test to detect irregularities in your cardiovascular system. For example, a typical stress test will have you perform vigorous exercise, such as running on a treadmill, while medical staff record your vital signs.

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Decreased Immunity

Overtraining can lead to an increase in head colds, allergic reactions and other infections, according to a 1992 article in the "Journal of Athletic Training." If you find that you get sick often or encounter new allergies, visit a doctor. Though the causes might be unrelated to your training, it is worth checking into whether your vigorous physical regimen is exposing you to health risks.

Decreased Performance

Typically, routine exercise improves performance. For example, runners who regularly exercise and consistently ramp up the intensity or distance of their workouts become faster and gain endurance. But sometimes your fitness results plateau or even diminish. This might be a sign of overtraining, but it also might be due to an ineffective workout structure. If you're experiencing diminished results, consult a doctor to see if overtraining is the problem. If not, consider overhauling your workout regimen to foster steady, sustainable growth.

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