You are doing high-intensity spinning classes, three to four times a week, you feel pretty good afterwards. Why?...because you have triggered a physically induced stress response, you have taken your body into the red zone, the fight or flight state. Your body releases adrenaline, cortisol, endorphins and insulin which, like some magic mix cocktail, leave you buzzing....like you might after having outrun a sabre-toothed tiger with eyes on you for lunch.
You feel so good you think it’s a good idea to do another class, maybe after a days rest or perhaps the very next day.
Again you feel great; you go home feeling healthy and virtuous, ready to tuck into a good meal, you deserve the extra helping of carbohydrates and maybe even a cheeky dessert.
And so it continues, training hard and enjoying the rewards, or so it seems. After three to four weeks of this routine, you are starting to feel a bit flat. After another few weeks, you are puzzled, why am I feeling irritable, tired, hungry and sore? You are feeling your knees, your Achilles tendons, maybe your back?
What is happening? ....chronic cardio exercise burnout! You are physically liquidating your assets, and your body's reserves are being depleted. Add to the mix work-related psychological stress, and biochemical stress from a sugar-rich diet and those assets don’t stand a chance.
This all too familiar pattern is highly prevalent. From recreational to elite athletes, many are prone to overreaching, doing too much without adequate recovery coupled with lots of stress.
The thinking is changing, and science is evolving as is our understanding of what the body can take, what is optimal, what is too much. I would recommend watching Dr James O'Keefe's excellent TED talk on this subject called 'Run for your life! At a comfortable pace, and not too far.'
Here at the clinic, we treat many clients who have, with all the best intentions, done too much. Their bodies are now injured and suffering. Proper treatment involves not just patching them up, making them feel better in the short term, but asking why?
If you are tired, sore and need help, please give us a call on 01 2834303 and book an appointment with a member of the team who will work together to identify where you may be going wrong, put it right and fix your body.
Mount Merrion Physiotherapy & Health, 105 Upper Trees Road, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin, A94RX70
In good health,
Simon Coghlan MSc, BSc Physio, DipMedAc