…if you must, but don’t you quit.

Every once in awhile I wake up tired and my motivation for exercise is low. I feel stiffness and muscle/joint soreness, as if my body is nagging at me to take a break. If I ignore my body’s complaints, the next level of protest might be insomnia or headaches and I get cranky.  Any of these symptoms, or an increase in injuries, can be signs of overtraining.

There is good news out there for those of us who persevere diligently at our exercise routines, forgetting that taking a break can also be healthy.

Gary Hunter, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor who published results from a February 2013 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise agrees. A core finding in his study about exercise and energy expenditure in older women and the number of days they exercised, is that less may be more.  Dr. Hunter found the women exercising four times a week had the greatest overall increase in energy expenditure,  but those working out only twice a week weren’t far behind.  The women who had been assigned to exercise six times per week, (by the end of the study) were expending the equivalent of almost 200 less calories each day then when they started, even though they were exercising constantly. 

Moral of the story? (or study) …Take a break.



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