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sport physio in ottawa

A few days before a marathon, many sportsmen and racers are preparing to race at their favorite event. Whether we are regular or occasional athletes, we must not forget that many people combine sporting and professional life all at the same time. Children also sometimes accumulate several sports activities in a week which can add between 6 to 10 hours of sports a week. So, it is very easy to be caught up in overtraining if it is beyond our personal limits.

How do we define overtraining? First, it is a phenomenon that results in persistent chronic fatigue and reduced performance caused in part by poor balance in the training load and recovery.

How to avoid overtraining

Fatigue can be physical or psychological for top athletes. Exhaustion often comes with overuse injuries (stress fractures, chronic tendinitis, etc…)

A parallel is often done with the hyper-efficient, hyperactive individual who “overdrains” himself both at work and during physical activities, but overtraining is also present among occasional athletes who combine work during the day and workouts during evenings and weekends.

In order to identify the signs and common symptoms related to overtraining, here is a list of physiological alerts:

  • Emotional disorders, mood disorders (frequent mood changes)
  • Increased sensitivity to internal and external stress
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Variability in resting heart rate (slowing or accelerating)
  • Decreased appetite associated with weight loss
  • Lower level of concentration at work or school.
  • Decreased performance and motivation despite the increased volume and training intensity
  • To confirm the symptoms, a doctor may recommend the athlete to pass specific exams (nutritional and blood tests, the psychometric test effort and questionnaires)


Signs and symptoms of overtraining

How to avoid falling into the cycle of overtraining?

If you are currently living a phase of overtraining, you have to allocate a few days of total rest, even few weeks. However, once the recovery has begun, you can progressively start returning to your activities. Progression is the key word; you must also change your lifestyle (work pace, managing stressors elements, balanced diet and sleep).

To aim for a fair balance between the phases of progression and recovery phases, it is important to:

1- Know your abilities: plan your sessions noting in your training log the contents of your sessions, your energy level, types of loads and training and other physiological data (mood, heart rate, etc …)

2- Master training loads and frequently revise your training program and fitness with a health professional, such as a sport physiotherapist 

3- Check the times and recovery methods (use the subjective scale of perceived exertion). Tune in to your post-exercise symptoms before resuming a race or workout. You can use the following rule: One week rest following 3 weeks of high intensity

4- Prioritize the approach of training for fun or by making your workouts short rather than focusing on volume.

5- Using biofeedback approach during and after your practice (a watch and a heart rate belt, activity tools such as smart bracelets, which counts your steps, calories burnt and your sleep cycles)

If you experience any signs of over fatigue/over training seek advice from a qualified health care professional.

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