Our bodies are superbly designed for motion and physical activity and are able to withstand quite a bit of accumulated stress.
Still, if intense training is combined with a stressful job or lifestyle or insufficient sleep, or if you're simply exercising too much too soon, your body may be unable to adapt, and overtraining may be the result. Overtraining is most commonly a concern for athletes and others who train for high performance.
Heart rate may be one of the best indicators of overtraining. For many athletes, heart rate monitors can be used as an alarm that alerts them if they're training too hard, beyond levels that improve performance. Overtraining is a common mistake, especially among athletes who believe that more is better and don't take a systematic approach to training.
Your morning resting heart rate is one of the indicators of overtraining. If this before-you-get-out-of-bed heart rate is five or more beats per minute higher than usual, you need to be concerned. An accelerated resting heart rate could indicate that you're overtraining, suffering from fatique, slightly injured, or even fighting off a fever or a stress-related problem.
Rest is one of the best medicines an athlete can use. Elevated morning heart rates and decreased exercise heart rates for a standard workout are signs that your body is not fully rested and something is amiss - so this isn't the time to take on any hard training.
Some early warning signs of overtraining are:
- Slower recovery in your heart rate after exercise
General signs of overtraining in competitive athletes:
- Persistent colds, flu, or respiratory infections
The Polar OwnOptimizer recovery test is an easy and reliable way to determine whether your training program is optimally developing your performance.