“Individuals that engage in a regular fitness regimen can begin to lose interest and motivation. Can knowing the signs of exercise burnout help individuals rediscover their motivation?”
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When maintaining fitness and health becomes a chore and doing anything else is better than working out, individuals could be experiencing exercise burnout. Here are a few signs an individual is getting burned out.
One sign is constantly putting things off.
- An individual may put on workout clothes, set up the equipment, etc.
- However, the workout never happens as the individual continues to find other things to do.
- At some point, they decide it’s too late and they’ll work out tomorrow.
Simplify the workout. Make some small goals or adjustments and keep the workout light. (Nemanja Lakicevic, et al., 2020) An example could be:
- Focus only on stretching.
- Take a walk around the block.
- Go up and down some stairs equivalent of a few laps.
- Do 10 pushups, 10 squats, and 10 lunges, or other exercises and that’s it.
No Longer Interesting
When burned out, exercise is not interesting and disenchanting. (Franklin Velasco, Rafael Jorda. 2020) Trainers will suggest finding something positive about the workouts.
Switch to a new or different activity. (Nemanja Lakicevic, et al., 2020)
- When the interest and passion are nowhere to be found don’t engage in the usual workouts, as this can further decrease motivation.
- This is the time to change up the routine and go for a leisurely bicycle or rollerblade, skateboard, etc., session.
- Go to a park, just walk around, and forget about exercise just taking in everything.
- Play a game with a friend or toss a ball around.
Not just physical, but mental fatigue could be a sign of exercise burnout.
- Individuals may think they have to work out every day and stick to the regimen or else they’ve failed.
- This type of mindset can lead to burnout and added stress.
- The body and mind require adequate recovery time.
- Forget about structured exercise for a day, and see how the mind and body feel the next day.
- Two or three days off in a row can make a significant difference in motivation and offer a new perspective on the workout routine.
Low Energy Levels After Exercise
Workouts, although tiring in a good way, should energize the individual. Most workouts should leave the body feeling better than before. When the body feels worse or energy levels are low, this could be a sign of overtraining that could lead to exercise burnout.
- This could be the time to ease off of the fitness regimen.
- Forget intense workouts and/or heavy-weight training.
- This is the time to soothe the body.
- Light yoga workouts or Pilates could help.
- This is a form of active recovery, allowing the mind and body to rest from the overwork.
Mood Changes and/or Irritability
When the mind and body are overworked and over-trained, it can cause moodiness, irritability, and frustration that leads to burnout.
Do something that feels good. This could include:
- A therapeutic massage.
- A spa session.
- Taking a long nap.
- Soaking the feet.
- Taking a therapeutic bath.
Burnout can happen, the objective is to keep the solutions simple like taking a few days off or trying something new to come back feeling refreshed and energized.
Multidisciplinary Evaluation and Treatment
Lakicevic, N., Gentile, A., Mehrabi, S., Cassar, S., Parker, K., Roklicer, R., Bianco, A., & Drid, P. (2020). Make Fitness Fun: Could Novelty Be the Key Determinant for Physical Activity Adherence?. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 577522. doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577522
Velasco, F., & Jorda, R. (2020). Portrait of Boredom Among Athletes and Its Implications in Sports Management: A Multi-Method Approach. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 831. doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00831
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