Staying Fit: Rich Weil, MEd, CDE
Make the most of your fitness activities
Weil: There are symptoms of over training. Those are:
- Loss of strength or speed or performance in general
- An increase in resting heart rate
- More fatigue during the day
- A feeling like you don't want to work out
- Chronic soreness or aches and pains
It's important to remember that the muscles and the body in general, grow during rest periods, not when you're training. If you don't provide down time and rest periods then the muscles never have a chance to recover and grow. Then the symptoms of over training will appear and your results will be greatly compromised.
The trick is to monitor your body and learn how to listen to your body for these symptoms, and when you have the symptoms to take some time off from your workout. Virtually everyone who takes a break from their workout when they are over trained comes back stronger than ever. People are afraid to take time off from working out, but the fact is if you are over trained you will not be able to grow or get more results. So a break is critical.
Member question: So how many days, at most, should you workout?
Weil: Again, it depends on, first of all, symptoms of over training. Some people can work out every day and be fine and others need more rest. It depends also on the type of exercise that you're doing, the frequency with which you do it, and the intensity. For instance, if you do moderate aerobic exercise such as walking or bicycling, and you get just warm and slightly out of breath during the activity, then you probably can do it every day. If, on the other hand, you do hill work or speed work to improve performance for road races, you need to build rest days into the workout.
If you weight lift every day, the chances are that you will burn out and need to take a break. It's really not necessary to weight lift more than three days per week with adequate rest between workouts, as long as the workouts are vigorous and hard. If you lift light weights and do high repetitions, say 15 to 20 repetitions, and perhaps you're doing this in an aerobic-type class, you would be able to perform these activities more than three times per week, but otherwise, heavy resistance training should be limited to two or three days, so that the muscles have time to recover.
Member question: Softball season will be here before you know it. Any tips you have for a 40+ something for getting ready for the season? I've given up on being a softball star; I'd just like to equip myself reasonably and reduce my chances of injury.