Should You Work Out Every Day?
The benefits of regular exercise are numerous. It helps with everything from decreased stress levels, increased aerobic capacity, reduced fat, better posture, and stronger muscles. But does more exercise translate to better fitness? Should you work out every day? If sweating it out for three days is good, then it must be even better for six, right? Wrong.
Physiology of exercise progression
The body is an amazing specimen in that stress makes it stronger. However, this comes with a caveat. In order for the body to get stronger — both from muscular and cardiovascular standpoints — adequate rest must be part of the program.
Here’s a fact. While the physical act of training is often what people associate with getting stronger and getting in shape, it is only half the equation.
If you allow the muscle or muscles to rest for one or more days between workouts, they not only repair themselves, but get stronger. This is the basis for any sort of exercise program — stress, relax, stress, relax, and so on.
What happens if you exercise too much?
Strength training, especially with heavy loads, breaks down muscle on a microscopic level. If you are working out the same muscles with heavy loads on a daily basis, the muscle(s) will continue to break down more and more. This would put an individual at an increased risk of straining a muscle, developing tendinosis (degeneration of tendon tissue), and likely compensating with other muscles, putting them at risk as well.
With respect to cardiovascular training, training hard every day will also stall your progress. It might also lower your immunity, increasing your chances of falling sick.
Signs you are overtraining
If you’re working the same muscle(s) and/or doing hard and/or long cardiovascular sessions every day, you’re training too much. Here are some signs of overtraining.
- Lack of energy
- Loss of motivation and enthusiasm for training (ie, mental burnout)
- Substantially elevated/ depressed heart rate during exercise and at rest
- Inability to recover from workouts
- Decrease in training capacity and intensity
- Increase in injuries
Another factor to keep an eye out for is the quality of your sleep. Even if you’re not training the same muscle group, or doing hard/ long cardiovascular sessions every day, lack of sufficient sleep will hinder your performance.
An effective exercise program strikes the right balance between stressing the body and resting it. The exact ratio of stress and rest varies from one individual to another. But you should aim to let your body rest and recover, so positive physiological adaptations can occur.