Lifehack logo


The vast majority of the advantages come from 2½ to three hours of moderate to strenuous exercise per week.

By Hashan chamaraPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
Photo by Falaq Lazuardi on Unsplash

Question: I hike seven miles per day, workout vigorously for five to six hours per week, and do heavy resistance training for roughly four hours per week. Is there such a thing as too much exercise? And how much is excessive?

Answer: You've undoubtedly been told a million times that exercise is important for your health and fitness, and it's easy to believe that more is always better. However, as with many other excellent things in life, there is a point at which the benefits wane, and it is possible to overdo it.

However, what constitutes excessive physical activity will vary depending on your own circumstances.

If you're unsure whether you've exercised too much, the first question to ask yourself is, "Why are you exercising?" Dr. Benjamin Levine, head of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Dallas and professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, agreed.

If you want to enhance your health and lower your chances of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, Levine recommends doing 212 to three hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. "If you exercise for more than five hours a week, you're not exercising for health; you're exercising for performance."

And when you're working out for a specific goal – whether it's to get stronger in the gym, run a marathon, or improve your tennis game – it's possible to put your body through more stress than it can handle, according to Kristen Dieffenbach, an exercise scientist and director of West Virginia University's Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences.

She explained that the goal of training for athletes is to elicit a "training reaction." When you exercise, your body responds by becoming more fit, stronger, and faster. These changes take place during the recovery phase, not during the workout. That's when your body heals the damage caused by intense activity, such as microtears in your muscle fibers, and adapts, such as boosting the number of energy-producing mitochondria in your cells.

Your workouts will continue to benefit your performance as long as your body is able to keep up with this repair process, according to Dieffenbach. However, when the stress from your workouts exceeds your capacity to recover, you've entered the zone of too much, also known as overtraining in the sporting industry.

Your subjective sense of well-being are the most dependable indicators that you're exercising too much, according to Dieffenbach. If you're constantly weary, or workouts that used to be easy feel difficult, or your performance has fallen abruptly (for example, your running times have slowed without reason, or your daily stroll is taking longer than normal), it's time to slow down and rest, according to Dieffenbach.

Overtraining can also manifest itself in other ways, such as difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and an inability to shake minor colds and other respiratory infections.

"You have to back off sometimes to move forward," Dieffenbach explained.

Other indicators that you've overdone it include having to force yourself to undertake routines you used to enjoy or feeling bad about not getting enough exercise. This is especially true if the feelings last more than a few days, according to Dieffenbach. (Of course, these could be signs of other health problems, such as depression, so keep that in mind as well.)

On the other hand, if you're noticing that your enjoyment of exercise is turning into an unhealthy addiction, you should pay attention to it as well. Szabó Attila, a health psychologist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, examines exercise addiction.

Addiction to physical activity

An exercise addiction develops when a person feels compelled to engage in physical activity despite being in pain or wounded. According to one of Attila's research from 2019, there isn't a precise number of hours of exercise per week that correlates with an exercise addiction, but "it becomes problematic when it impacts other elements of life," he added. It's an indication that you've prioritized fitness over your relationships, career, and everything else, according to Attila.

Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University in England, is one of Attila's colleagues who has created six criteria for health providers to follow when evaluating people for exercise addiction:

1) The most significant aspect of my life is exercise.

2) There have been disagreements between me and my family and/or partner about how much exercise I get.

3) I use physical activity to alter my mood (e.g. to get a buzz, to escape, etc.).

4) I've increased the quantity of activity I perform each day over time.

5) If I miss an exercise session, I become angry and grumpy.

6) If I reduce the amount of exercise I do and then resume it, I always end up doing the same amount of exercise as before.

To be classified as an addict, a person must match all six criteria, which is uncommon, according to Griffiths.

However, he continued, many people engage in problematic exercise that doesn't quite reach the threshold of addiction. For example, individuals who go to work and function regularly, but then return home and neglect their families in order to go to the gym and work out - this is still an issue.

Which gets us to the final answer to our question: yes, it is possible to overwork. And you'll know you're doing it when your body starts to break down, makes you sick or injured, or has a negative impact on the rest of your life. It's time to cut back when it stops making you happy and enriching your life.


About the Creator

Hashan chamara

In Sri Lanka's best fitness club, I work as a fitness trainer. As a result, I can provide you with the skills and assistance you need to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.