Feeling dizzy and nauseous after a heavy workout? You are probably suffering from overexertion. Feeling fatigued after working out is a common occurrence. In most cases, it is caused due to mild dehydration. But, it can also be due to something serious like overexertion.
If you are a competitive athlete or generally lead an active lifestyle, you are familiar with hard work. Many occupations require you to exert yourself physically and perform repetitive activities.
It’s possible to overdo it. Overexertion can be stressful on your body and mind. It can further lead to discomfort, injury, or pain. Therefore, you shouldn’t take it lightly.
Here are a few things you should know about overexertion.
What is overexertion?
In simple terms, when you push yourself too hard, cause too much stress to your body, and exhaust your physical capabilities, it is known as overexertion. Overexertion doesn’t only mean physical exertion, it can also involve exhausting your mental efforts.
Overexertion can depend on the following factors:
- Environment and workplace
- Medical history
- Nature of activity being performed
Overexertion can lead to serious injuries, muscle spasms, tearing of the ligament, and strains. It can also limit your ability to perform an activity in the future.
Causes of Overexertion
These are the most common causes of overexertion.
1. Improper technique:
If you are doing an activity improperly and without maintaining the right posture or stance, chances are high that you will suffer from overexertion later. Examples of the improper technique include lifting weights incorrectly, poor posture and form, using the wrong equipment, not using knee pads, etc.
2. Sudden body movements:
A sudden and forceful movement can cause overexertion. It often goes in hand with improper technique. Abrupt movements that can lead to overexertion are twisting, bending, pulling, throwing, reaching, and pushing.
3. Repetitive Movements:
When you repeatedly move a muscle or a joint for a prolonged period of time, you can suffer from overexertion. These repetitive movements can strain your body and lead to injuries or muscle sprains.
4. Extreme temperatures:
Another significant cause of overexertion is training in extreme temperatures. When the temperature is extreme, that is, too hot or too cold then your body can find it difficult to adapt. It has to work extra hard to maintain its normal temperature. This can eventually lead to overexertion.
5. Prolonged activity:
If you continue doing strenuous activity for a prolonged time without pacing yourself or taking regular breaks, you can overexert yourself. Eventually, your body will become fatigued.
People also suffer from mental overexertion when they push themselves too hard while performing cognitive activities like studying. Mental overexertion occurs when you perform a strenuous cognitive task for an extended period of time. Every person has a saturation point after which they feel burned out.
Now that we’ve identified the causes of overexertion, let’s explore the symptoms and signs of overexertion.
Signs of overexertion
People experience obvious signs of overexertion on a regular basis but choose to ignore it or dismiss it as something trivial. However, you shouldn’t ignore signs of overexertion. Believe it or not, overexertion is serious and one should always look out for its signs.
Overexertion can happen to anyone and not just high-functioning athletes. There are always signs indicating that you should slow it down and take a break. Here are some common signs of overexertion:
1. Difficulty speaking
This is a major sign of overexertion. During the course of your activity or workout, if you notice that you are having difficulty in completing a sentence, it is overexertion. If you are breathing too roughly and struggling to speak, your body needs a break.
Pain is a common symptom that you are overexerting yourself. Your pain may be sharp and achy or come with a burning sensation. It can also be throbbing, tingling, or pinching. If you feel pain, stop the activity immediately. Rest for a while and then continue.
3. Overuse Injury
An overuse injury is a repetitive strain injury that usually develops over time. Common examples of overuse injury include hairline fractures, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you suspect that you are suffering from an overuse injury, you should see a doctor.
Fatigue is one of the most common signs of overexertion. Your body can feel worn out, experience dizziness, have persistent soreness, poor performance, etc. Your brain can also experience mental fatigue that comes in the form of depression, frequent mood changes, stress or anxiety, difficulty in concentration, etc.
5. Weakened immune system
Overexertion can make it difficult for your body to heal after strenuous activities. And, it can also weaken your immune system making you prone to sickness and injuries.
Treatment of Overexertion
Immediate treatment for overexertion includes stopping the activity and to take rest. Take notice of the signs and symptoms and treat them. If you experience muscle or joint stiffness, use a cold compress. If you have tension in your muscle, you can take a warm bath with Epsom salts.
How to avoid overexertion?
Here are some preventive tips which will help you to avoid overexertion:
- Do a proper warm-up and stretching exercises before your workout.
- Limit the weight of the equipment that you are handling.
- Follow the proper procedure and maintain good posture.
- Perform wrist exercises to keep your joints healthy.
- Take consistent rest days and regular breaks between sets or reps.
- Avoid working in extreme temperatures.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid overexercising and switch up your routine once in a while.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day. You should consume at least 2-3 litres of water every day.
- Get proper sleep at night. 8 hours is a minimum for an adult.
- Use ergonomic workstations.
For mental overexertion, here’s what you can do:
- Try lightening your load and pacing yourself.
- Try relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi, and breathing exercises.
- Prioritize your sleep and well-being.
- Use a gratitude journal to keep you on track.
- Speak to a therapist when you can’t help yourself.
The bottom line is that our body keeps on sending us alerting signals warning us about overexertion. It is crucial that you learn to identify those signs and treat them accordingly. This will help you maintain a positive outlook and overall well-being.
Also read: Revitalize your body with Surya Namaskar