Athletic Over-training : Cause, Symptoms & Prevention
Pushing farther and working harder are the usual intentions of an athlete when it comes to training to increase their athletic abilities. Many athletes continue to push their bodies harder each day with little to no time dedicated to recovery. These athletes misjudge recovery as wasted time and time that should be used for additional training. However, giving the body ample time to recover is a crucial part of training and increasing athletic abilities. Recovery time should be incorporated into an athlete’s training program to give the body time to rest and be at peak performance for other training sessions.
Over-training can be defined as continuous training stress which causes a short decrease in performance and even longer when combined with mental stressors. Some causes of over-training are:
Frequent training sessions to the point of fatigue
Continuous training throughout fatigue and low performance
Training that is too intense for the athlete’s body to handle
High training volume that the athlete’s body cannot handle
Workouts without adequate recovery
Additional mental stressors that can worsen over-training:
Lack of sleep
Bad eating habits
Other social stressors (i.e. work, home, school)
Here are some symptoms of over-training:
Decrease in appetite
Lack of focus
Increase in colds
Increase in injuries
Unable to concentrate
The best way to prevent over-training is to provide the body with sufficient amount of time to recover from training sessions. As with most illnesses, paying attention to changes in the body is also a preventable measure for over-training. If the athlete is experiencing early signs of any of these symptoms, it will be beneficial to increase their recovery time until the symptoms clear. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the effects of over-training can take weeks to months to correct.
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