6 Good Reasons Why You Should Not Push Yourself Too Hard on Your Cardio

Doing regular cardio exercises provide your body with excellent benefits. You not only get a healthy heart and lungs but you’re also able to manage your weight. Besides, cardio exercises are simple and can be done even in the comforts of your own home and at your own pace. You can do it on your own as well without help from a professional fitness coach.

Common cardio includes swimming, brisk walking, running, and cycling. If you have exercise equipment in your home such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary cycles, and the like, doing cardio would be much easier even during bad weather conditions. Watching your favorite movie or series on Netflix can also be done while walking on your treadmill at the same time. Hence, there’s no reason why you can’t keep your body healthy in your own little way.

But, like any other thing, aerobic exercises can be done excessively, particularly when you’re doing it on your own. As what you have always known, anything that is done or taken too much can be harmful.

How, then, would you know if you’re overdoing things? Keep in mind that there are lots of factors to consider when you’re on a fitness regimen. These factors include your age, your activity levels for the day, the amount of your sleep, the intensity of the exercise, your diet, and, most of all, the status of your health. All these factors play crucial roles in your quest for a fit body.

For example, you’re likely to fail when your goal is to build muscles but don’t eat foods that help you in muscle building. To gain muscles, you need not exercise alone but also to eat protein-based foods that help you get stronger and build muscle mass.

Having a big fitness goal improves your motivation and determines your success. But let it not lure you into thinking you have to overdo your exercise to get to your goal as quickly as possible. Creating a fit and healthy body doesn’t work that way.

When you go past your body’s limit, you’re likely to suffer from muscle atrophy, a condition wherein, instead of gaining muscles, you’re losing them in the process. Thus, it pays to know the situations when you’re pushing your body too hard. The following points offer you some guidelines.

1. Feeling fatigued for days

tired and thirsty from runningFeeling tired and exhausted after hours of training can be exhausting for the body. This is why you must take a day for rest to help your muscles heal and recover. But when the feelings of fatigue continue to bother you despite a considerable amount of resting time, this is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve gone way past your limits. Consider slowing down on your routines to avoid causing harm to yourself.

2. Have trouble sleeping

While a good exercise is one way of helping you to have a good night’s rest, doing too much of it can lead to difficulties falling asleep. This is because when you push your body too hard, it will signal your brain to release the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to trouble falling or staying asleep. Even if you’ve slept for eight hours, you still feel you haven’t rested well.

If this problem starts to occur while doing your cardio, chances are you’re overdoing your exercise. Try to tone down your routine and see if your sleep improves thereafter. Also, it’s not a good habit to continue your routine when your body isn’t well-rested. Sleep is crucial for your body’s recovery after hard work.

3. Your performance is getting worse

When you’ve worked out for days, your performance is likely to improve as you progress. Let’s say, if you’ve cycled for one hour for days in a row, it would not be hard for you to add extra minutes to one hour. But, instead of increasing your performance, you find it hard for you to cycle the same length of time. When this happens, try to slow down and give yourself a break. Your body may need more time to rest.

4. You frequently get sick

Exercises are designed to help you improve your health. But if you notice you’re constantly sick in the process, this may be a sign that your condition is exercise-induced. One sure sign of sickness that’s caused by overexertion is nausea or vomiting. This usually happens right after you stop exercising or when you abruptly stop your session without cooling yourself down.

5. You feel excessive soreness

Soreness in the joints and muscles after a workout is a healthy indication that you’re moving your body in ways that are beyond your normal activities. What’s not right here is that when the soreness is so intense it prevents you from doing your normal day to day activities. This clearly shows you’re pushing your body too hard, which is not good.

muscle strain from workoutIf you continue your routines, whatever they may be, you may be in danger of getting injured. You will also sabotage your heart’s health if you constantly push yourself beyond your limits. It’s normal in the fitness world to push a little bit beyond your comfort zone. Just don’t overdo it. You may overburden your heart and lead it to suffer from cardiovascular issues that may put your health and life at risk. Discontinue the routine whenever you feel excessive pain and ease up with gentle movements.

There is also what experts refer to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. This happens when you begin with an unfamiliar exercise and suffer from muscle pain and weakness right after the session. Excessive DOMS can also be a red flag for other health issues like a lack of vitamin D or sleeping issues, which are all treatable.

6. You frequently injure yourself

Regardless of the safety precautions you take while doing your workouts, injury can happen from time to time. But when it happens frequently, it’s a warning signal that says something is off. Your body may have not fully recovered from a previous workout making it prone to injury.

This situation is common to people who train outside of the gym and do their workouts for the fun of it. Only that too much of a good thing is not ideal. Try to reduce the intensity of your workouts or better yet, opt for lighter cardio for the meantime.

Robert Phillips
Robert Philips has been a nutrition and fitness expert for over 20 years, and has written for a number of popular publications. In addition to having a Master's Degree in nutritional science, he is also an active trainer at nationally renowned gyms and fitness centers.