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Overtraining Syndrome

Exercise, for most people, is something they need to do more often. But for some athletes exercise can be too much of a good thing, leading to a condition called overtraining syndrome.

Almost any kind of training and conditioning requires a period of recovery so that the body can heal. Excess training followed by insufficient rest can lead to undesirable performance plateaus.

Overtraining syndrome is prevalent in competitive athletes, such including distance runners, swimmers and those who play ball sports. According to the research into overtraining syndrome, about 60 percent of distance runners develop it at least once in their careers. Overtraining syndrome also was identified in 21 percent of the Australian swimming team and 50 percent of a soccer team.

Ironically, overtraining syndrome is a leading cause of underperformance in athletes.

Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome

Overtraining syndrome is neuro-endocrine disorder classified as a "syndrome" because of the following combined emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue: This is not the ordinary exhaustion that follows a good workout. This is a persistent weariness that's present even when at rest and lasts for weeks, if not months.
  • Depression and/or anxiety: As with depression caused by other factors, that associated with overtraining syndrome may lead to sleeplessness, loss of appetite, weight loss and reduced sex drive.
  • Excessive soreness: When the body is unable to rest, it can't heal or reinjures itself.
  • Reduced strength and coordination: These two pillars of athleticism decrease.
  • Upper respiratory infections: Those with overtraining syndrome tend to be more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.
  • Gastro-intestinal distress: Some athletes develop dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
  • Hormonal changes: Those whose blood is tested may find increased levels of cortisol, the body's stress hormone, and decreased testosterone, which can inhibit an individual's ability to recover.
  • Change of focus: The feeling of burnout may lead the individual with overtraining syndrome to lose his or her enthusiasm for the sport.

Diagnosis of Overtraining Syndrome

Because the amount of time necessary to recover is directly proportional to the amount of time the individual has overtrained, early detection is crucial.

However, traditional medicine provides no reliable ways to identify overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome may be the result of another underlying condition, and it sometimes is masked because of symptoms that are similar to other conditions.

Treatment of Overtraining Syndrome

Taking an attitude of "pushing past the pain" can do more harm than good in those who have overtraining syndrome. The best treatment for overtraining syndrome is rest. The amount of rest required is proportional to the amount of time that has been spent overtraining, which for some can be up to two years or longer.

IV Nutrition is an excellent way of replenishing vitamins, minerals and amino-acids lost during over training. Through administration of Myers' cocktail we can give you back the energy that you need.

Developing a well-balanced training plan - including a modified workout schedule - for those who plan to resume their sport is essential before proceeding.

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