It is a known fact that athletes must train in order to boost their performance. This may include increased loads during training sessions. Rest and recovery periods assist in the tolerance of increased loads. If the body is not permitted to rest between sessions, it could lead to injuries and/or overtraining syndrome (OTS). In this guide, we will explain how to successfully recover from overuse injuries.
What are Overtraining Injuries?
Overtraining injuries occur when you engage in more physical activity than your body is used to. These can occur to any person who increases their activity levels, increases the intensity of those activities, and/or changes the types of physical activities that they engage in.
These injuries are musculoskeletal. This means that they do or can involve the muscles of the body, the joints, and even the bones.
What is Overtraining Syndrome?
Overtraining syndrome occurs when an individual does not allow for the adequate recovery of their body once they engage in a repetitive and highly intense degree of training. The individual will find that they experience fatigue quicker and may find that their performance declines.
Symptoms occur because of hormonal changes, immune system suppression, and fatigue. Symptoms vary but the most common include chronic pain, increased heart rate when resting, fatigue, lack of motivation, mood changes, decreased performance, sleep problems, and frequent illnesses.
What are the Signs of Overtraining?
There are many signs that may indicate overtraining is occurring. The following outline the most common:
- Many athletes will find that their blood pressure increases and that their resting heart rate is higher than normal.
- Gastrointestinal issues are a common sign of overtraining. These include upset stomach, decreased appetite, and nausea.
- It is common for those that engage in overtraining to find that they are constantly thirsty and that the thirst just cannot be quenched.
- Many will find that they get sick more often and experience a higher level of infections than normal.
- Tiredness and fatigue are common, but many may find that they experience sleep disturbances – such as the inability to fall asleep quickly or the inability to stay asleep. As a result, they will wake feeling unrefreshed and the body does not heal properly.
- The muscles and joints throughout the body will commonly ache among those who have engaged in overtraining.
- There are many behavioral issues that may develop. These include changes to the personality, experiencing a general lack of motivation, the inability to concentrate properly, decreased self-esteem, and the inability to properly cope with stress and overcome stress.
- While engaging in training sessions, many who have overtrained will find that they are unable to reach their typical strength or endurance level.
- Many discover that their coordination and general movements experience some degree of impairment if they have been engaging in overtraining.
- Performance-based technical errors may start to develop due to overtraining. This doubles the risk for injury as technical errors could result in an increase for injury on top of the fact that overtraining increases the risk for injury.
How to Avoid Injuries Due to Overtraining
There are several methods you may use to avoid injuries due to overtraining. The following are the most productive:
- First, avoid increasing the difficulty level of the physical activity that you are engaging in too quickly. You should always progress at a pace that is steady and gradual.
- Pay close attention to your body as you are working out. If you feel the need to rest, do so.
- If you are new to physical fitness, a sport, or another activity, do not jump in all at once. Ease into the activity and allow your body time to get used to it.
- Place a high level of importance on rest. This is the time when the body repairs itself and builds itself. It is also a time when the muscles and the immune system engages in the act of recovery. If you fail to place rest as a priority, your body will not properly build, repair itself, or recovery and you will be more susceptible to injuries.
- Focus on nutrition. This is a core component of your health. When you exercise, do not place heavy restrictions on yourself – in terms of calorie consumption. Also, integrate lean meats, vegetables, and fruits into your diet.
Physical Therapy for Overtraining
If you engage in overtraining – whether you have sustained an injury or not – a physical therapist can assist you in aiding your body. These are movement experts. They work with people of all ages and of all activity levels. Not only can they assist in helping you with overtraining strain and/or injuries, they can also help you learn how to avoid overtraining injuries. Examples of the benefits of integrating a physical therapist into your activity regimen include:
- These professionals will assist in helping you become more flexible, stronger, and will aid in helping you reach the endurance level that is necessary for you to perform optimally in your chosen activity or sport.
- They will work with you to determine if you are engaging in any training errors or technical errors. If so, they will help you correct those errors so that you will avoid strain and injuries in the future.
- Additionally, physical therapists will create a training plan for you that will allow you to drastically minimize the risk for strain and injuries and to help you meet your fitness or activity goals in a safe and effective manner.
We here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy work closely with athletes to ensure that the risk for strain and injuries is drastically reduced. It does not matter if you are an actor, a dancer, a ball player, or simply want to improve your physical fitness level, we can help! For more information, contact us today by calling us.