Too much of anything can be bad for your health. So when you are going to the gym almost every day of the week, you can expect to see some signs that suggest you should take a short break. For instance, you might be experiencing daily fatigue or feeling like working out is becoming a chore. These are two clear signs that you should take a couple of days to rest and get your mind in the right place. But what are some signs that say you should take a break from cardio?
When it comes to taking a break from cardio, there are some clear signs you should be on the lookout for.
- Daily fatigue
- Cardio training is turning into a chore
- Prolonged joint pain
- You always feel tired
- You are developing sleeping problems
- You are not losing any more weight
- You are developing blood sugar issues
Each of these signs are key indicators that you are doing too much cardio training too often. When you start to notice one or more of these signs, you will know it is time to take a short break and get your mind back into the game.
As you continue to read this article, we will discuss the issues that can arise from each of the signs we listed above. We will also talk about how you should be taking your break from cardio so that you won't lose any fitness.
When Do I Need To Take A Break From Cardio?
Cardio is an amazing form of exercise that increases blood flow and strengthens your cardiovascular system. Cardio is an integral exercise that everyone should do. It will increase your endurance, which will allow you to perform better in your other exercise routines and even throughout the day. In addition, exercise will release endorphins in your brain, which boosts your mood and keeps you motivated.
While cardio sounds amazing, doing too much cardio can have adverse effects on your health. You can end up feeling unmotivated to do your workout routines. Doing too much cardio can cause joint pain and even make it much harder for you to go to sleep.
Below we will list seven different signs that you should be on the lookout for when you are doing cardio training.
- Daily Fatigue
When you are constantly exercising, you are putting stress on your body. That stress comes from lifting weights which tears your muscle strands, causing them to heal and get bigger. That stress can also come in the form of daily fatigue. Daily fatigue can be caused by working out too often, but a major contributor is cardio.
Suppose you are running, swimming, or cycling every day of the week. In that case, you can quickly start to feel physically exhausted throughout the day. For example, you could wake up in the morning, have a healthy breakfast, and before you even go for your morning jog, your body just feels drained. This is a form of daily fatigue which can lead to more adverse effects if you continue to do your cardio training.
Rest days are important for exercise. Rest days give your body enough time to heal and recoup energy for the next day you workout. This healing process is vital to staying healthy while exercising.
- Cardio Training Is Turning Into A Chore
This can turn into a slippery slope really fast. If you are doing cardio training so much that you dread doing it the next day, then you definitely need a short break from cardio. Having something you used to enjoy turning into a chore is a big red flag because you can become unmotivated to do it.
Unmotivated in itself is another slippery slope. If you feel like cardio is turning into a chore, you might decide to put cardio to the side for a day. This is good because that is exactly what you need to do. However, you need to be ready to start your cardio training when you intend to. Putting it off one, two, or even three days can quickly turn into four, five, or even indefinitely.
This "unmotivated slope" can be exceptionally dangerous if cardio is the only form of exercise that you enjoy. Pushing your reunion with cardio further and further back will make you lose all of the progress you worked on.
- Prolonged Joint Pain
Joint pain can be a severe issue when it comes to overtraining with cardio. Swimming is an exception to this because your body is suspended in water, which is actually used to help rehabilitate people with joint pain. However, running and even cycling are not exceptions.
When you run, you are putting tons of pressure and weight on one leg. Without proper training, stretching, and exercise routines, your knees, hips, and ankles can become quite sore. Pushing through slight pains is possibly the worst thing you can do. Running with a slightly sore knee can significantly amplify the pain after you stop running. This amplification can even happen the next day before you start your next run.
With that said, if you are experiencing any joint pain from cardio exercises, then you definitely need a short break. Taking a day or two off and even putting an ice pack on sore joints will ensure that you are up and running in no time.
- You Always Feel Tired
It is common practice for doctors to tell you to do light cardio exercises during the day if you have trouble sleeping. This is because cardio exercises burn tons of energy. However, as previously stated, too much of anything can be bad for your health. Doing too much cardio can help you sleep better at night, but the loss of so much energy can carry on to the next day.
It is possible that you are not eating enough calories to offset this effect. However, that is not the case most of the time, and you are just overdoing it with cardio. Constantly feeling tired throughout the day leads to the adverse effects of daily fatigue. With that said, if you are feeling tired the next day after a few days of cardio, take a rest day, let your body store energy for the next.
- You Are Developing Sleeping Problems
Not only can doing too much cardio make you tired throughout the day, but it can also cause you to have sleeping problems and even develop a minor case of insomnia. Cardio is excellent for burning energy, but cardio does have the opposite effect for some people as well. So while doctors will tell you to do some light cardio training to help you go to sleep, they will also advise you to do the same if you are constantly feeling tired.
However, suppose you are experiencing daily fatigue due to doing too much cardio. In that case, that does not mean that more cardio is the answer. The same goes for when you are developing sleeping problems because of your excess cardio training. Everybody's body handles things in different ways. So if you are not getting enough sleep because of your cardio training, then doing more cardio will only amplify that issue.
- You Notice That You Are Not Losing Weight
Cardio is usually the first thing people turn to when they want to lose excess fat. While in most cases this is true, overdoing your cardio training will actually stop your body from shredding fat. If you do a moderate amount of strength training and want to do cardio to lose some fat, do not overdo it.
While cardio is great for losing fat, if you are overdoing your cardio training every day, your body will start to ignore your body fat. Instead, your body is going to start deteriorating your muscles. This is because your muscles impede blood flow slightly.
Because muscles are denser and heavier than fat, your body will need to supply more blood to those areas around your body. This will impede blood flow slightly and make it take longer to get back to the heart and lungs, where your blood is supplied with oxygen. As a runner, your body needs tons of oxygen to keep your body healthy while you run. This is a perfect example of why some runners are so skinny. They might have incredible endurance, but they lose out on strength to do so.
So if you want to do cardio to lose fat, then do it in moderation. Make sure you are taking your rest days and keeping track of what you eat. In no time, you will reach your weight goal.
- You Are Developing Blood Sugar Issues
Another significant sign that you should take a break from cardio is the rapid fluctuations in your blood sugar. Your blood sugar can rise during long cardio training sessions if you are not properly fueling your body before and after. Cardio training causes your blood sugar levels to nosedive, then rise back up once you have finished. This can increase the amount of stress that you place on your body.
Suppose you notice that you are having blood sugar problems. In that case, you need to reduce the number of glycemic starches in your food while also doing fewer cardio training sessions. A better option is to take a break from cardio and do other stress-reducing exercises like weight lifting. During your break from cardio, watch what you eat and try to rebalance your blood sugar.
How To Stay Fit When Taking A Break From Cardio
While taking a break from cardio can be extremely helpful, taking prolonged breaks can be damaging to your progress. However, there are ways around this. If you need to take an extended break from cardio, there are a few things you do to help stave off your fitness levels dropping.
Doing moderate or high-intensity workouts will keep your blood pumping like cardio would for a short time. Doing these workouts during your break will deliver a quick jolt to your body that basically says, "this is a break. We are not done yet".
With that said, some exercises that you can do to deliver that jolt is:
- Short Sprints
- Stair Climbing
Once you are ready to return to your natural cardio routine, there is something vital that you need to remember. Do not return to the intensity you were at before your break. Instead, start around half of your original intensity before your break. Then work your way back up to where you were before.
Too much of anything in this world can be bad for your health. Unfortunately, when it comes to cardio, there are quite a few things that can happen. Developing sleeping issues or joint pain are possibly the worst things that can happen. However, if you love cardio, then thinking of cardio as a chore is the worst for you. With that said, a break does not mean you are quitting. Instead, think of it as a few rest days so that you can come back better than ever.