Overtraining Syndrome

Every athlete feels overloaded during training and can not perform the same performance as usual. However, if you permanently worsen despite regular training, when your legs and mind are getting heavier and there is no improvement between sessions, despite rest periods, experts talk about overtraining syndrome. In addition to the decline in performance, chronic fatigue and sleep disorders are other common complaints. Overtraining often manifests itself on two levels: On the one hand it leads to tachycardia and sleep disorders, on the other hand to depressive moods. If there is no improvement after two to three weeks, a visit to the doctor is required, for example, to rule out an infection (viral disease, inflammation of the teeth).

Causes of overtraining syndrome

Regular training is important, because nothing comes from nothing. But sometimes the shot also backfires: For example, in exaggerated training, especially in high-intensity endurance sports, by frequent competitions or too rapid increase in training. Especially monotonous movements are problematic (an example from the non-sports area are professional piano players). In addition to the excessive training load stress factors such as relationship problems, exam situations or time shortages as well as an insufficient cure of infections and a one-sided diet can be causes of the overtraining syndrome.

Symptoms: recognize overtraining

The diagnosis "overtraining" is usually not easy to ask. Especially with fatigue states shorter duration is often only an overload condition. Although physicians have noted hormonal changes that are supposed to protect the body from further efforts, like self-protective feedback, traditional blood and urine laboratory tests do not yet exist.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, questionnaires have proved useful in which athletes should characterize their own condition. Another possibility is a test on the bicycle ergometer, in which an impairment of the speed or the short-term endurance and a reduced oxygen intake often associated therewith can be detected. Typical symptoms of over-exertion include a burning throat and gastrointestinal discomfort that occurs during exercise.

A Dutch study surveyed nearly a thousand runners, cyclists and triathletes on the topic of overexertion. Accordingly, 71% of runners, 67% of cyclists and 57% of triathletes complained of stomach problems. Peters, a scientist from the University of Utrecht, also found that as many as 18 percent of athletes used medications to combat their condition. Heartburn, flatulence, bloating or regurgitation were the most common symptoms of overtraining syndrome identified in the study.

Find the optimal (training) measure

  • Slowly increase training
  • Ensure adequate rest
  • Balance sports: interrupt the training monotony by other (conditionally less stressful) sports
  • Stress balance: for example, yoga
  • Take infections seriously and cure them
  • Pay attention to the right diet
  • Warning sign for overtraining is a sudden drop in performance despite training
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