Physical exercise is one of the activities that best suits our body and our physical and mental well-being, and that is why practicing sports brings many benefits. Experts recommend moderate physical activity at least 3 times a week; otherwise, we run the risk of suffering from sedentarism and other problems.

However, excessive physical exercise can also have negative consequences for a person and their health.

Negative consequences of excessive physical exercise

Controlled physical activity can increase our happiness, improve our heart health, help us to have a slim body, reduce stress and many other benefits, as you can see in the article: “The 10 psychological benefits of physical exercise”

But what happens when we over-train? What are the consequences for our body and mind? We’ll see that below.

1. Vigorexia

One of the pathological conditions associated with physical training, and especially weight training, is vigorexia. This condition is a type of body dysmorphic disorder in which the person looks less muscular than he or she is and becomes obsessed with having a gymnastic (i.e. muscular) body.

The origin of vigorexia is found in the culture of image in which we live immersed. The media continually send us advertising messages about the perfect body, often in an unrealistic way. The obsession with diet and physical exercise can lead a person to suffer from vigorexia, and vigorexia can lead an individual to become obsessed with physical exercise.

2. Runnorexia

Running has become very fashionable in recent years, and although running is one of the healthiest activities for our body and mind, too much can also cause serious problems for the person who overdoes it. And that’s because anything taken to the extreme can have negative consequences for our organism, and running is no exception.

Runnorexia can occur because a person suffers from low self-esteem and, as a consequence, seeks to fill the void that he or she feels with excess training. Obviously, cultural factors also play a role, and the fact that running is in vogue has also led to an increase in cases of people with runnorexia.

In extreme cases, people with runnorexia may see their quality of life diminish and may even stop meeting their friends or partner. If you want to know more about this disorder, you can read this article: “Runnorexia: the modern-day running addiction”

3. Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that is characterized by the disruption of muscle cells that cause alterations to the body and can be life-threatening. Its cause can be hereditary, although excessive and intense physical training can also cause it to develop. Therefore, in order to prevent this alteration, it is advisable to carry out controlled physical exercises under suitable conditions.

4. Injuries

Injuries are common in sportsmen and women, whether muscular or joint, and sometimes occur without excess exercise being present. However, when we train excessively and do not rest enough we are more likely to suffer injuries. Sometimes it is because of the overload of training and sometimes because of the mental fatigue that occurs, which causes us to have incorrect technique.

5. Aging

Practicing sport in a moderate way can help us feel young and healthy, not only physically, but also psychologically and mentally. However, excessive effort accelerates the wear and tear on the joints .

6. Overtraining syndrome

Overtraining syndrome is comparable to burnout syndrome that occurs in companies. This phenomenon, which is also called staleness , can lead to serious health problems and affect a person’s daily life.

When we talk about overtraining, we must distinguish between physical overtraining, which can cause problems, for example, of a muscular type, and mental overtraining, which is much more complex or which produces the following symptoms: feeling of fatigue, insomnia, depression, loss of vigour, etc. Excess exercise and lack of recovery influence the development of this disorder.

  • If you want to know more: “Overtraining syndrome: burned-out athletes”

7. Heart problems

While moderate physical exercise is good for the cardiovascular system, and even intense training when done properly, excess exercise can cause increased circulatory and heart problems .

According to research in the journal Heart, practicing too much sport can be counterproductive for the heart, especially in people over 30 who train intensely more than five hours a week. The data concludes that 19% of the population are more likely to develop a heart disease such as atrial fibrillation by the age of 60.

8. Immune system decline

The immune system also suffers from excessive physical exercise, especially because the body does not get enough rest. This causes various problems for the body, because it does not recover properly as it should in a rest period . The weak immune system manifests itself with more colds, fever, headaches and more serious illnesses.