How much exercise is too much?

We all know the type – up early for a jog, off to work, go to the gym at lunch time and then after work head to a netball game or back to the gym again.

But, I have been thinking lately; how much exercise is too much exercise?

It is a very interesting question because we are often talking about getting out and doing more because we are not doing enough. But lately I have been noticing a lot of people in my life (clients, RWF readers, friends, etc.) who are doing what I would consider to be too much exercise.

Some of the symptoms of over-exercising are:

  • always thirsty and displaying other signs of dehydration;
  • problems with sleep patterns (too much or too little);
  • bad headaches;
  • joint problems;
  • not making muscle gain or fat loss progress

So how much is too much? I don’t want to give a definite answer here but instead open the floor to you. How much do you think is too much when it comes to exericse?

About Katie

Katie has transformed her body from a flabby 186lbs, to a fit & toned 124 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Katie joined the Lean Curves team in 2007 and has posted hundreds of articles on fitness, fat loss and healthy eating.


  1. Bailey_012 says:

    I think if you are feeling the above symptoms you are doing too much. It is different for everyone.

  2. jane says:

    yeah, I agree, different for everyone but i do think beginners need to take it especially slow. a lot of the injuries i have now can be traced back to going too hard in the beginning.

    great posts lately RT

  3. RT says:

    Great comments guys.

    Yep, me too, a lot of newbie injuries I wish I didn’t do.

    Keep coming and I’ll keep writing!

  4. Pip says:

    You know you have done too much when you struggle to keep proper form. Like, when you are punching a bag and you can’t tense your muscles. This is when injuries happen.

  5. RT says:

    YES! I agree Pip. This is why I advocate small session of high intensity for fitness because it gets rid of many of the sneaky places where injuries can slip in. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Kek says:

    Obviously, beginners aren’t capable of as high a volume as experienced exercisers. But whatever your level, you need to have a training plan that allows for adequate rest and recovery, and that gradually increases the workload at a rate you can handle.

    As everyone else said, it varies for each individual. Some other early danger signs (aprt from those listed above) are continual fatigue, intense sugar cravings, anxiety, dizziness… illness and injuries usually follow further down the track.

    There’s a fine line between overloading/adaptation in the course of a normal training program and overtraining. It can be a tough call, and unfortunately, the person affected usually won’t admit they have a problem until they hit the final stages, at which point they may have sustained some nasty injuries.

  7. Nessajane says:

    As well as the physical problems, I would think that if other areas of your life are being neglected then you are doing too much exercise. For instance, relationships, work, parenting etc.

    Great article RT.

  8. rolli pierce says:

    just wandering if over exercising can affect the brain in a chemical way, i do cardio for one hour and weights for another half hour, 5 days a week. i am fine until after i exercise when it hits, feels kinda like a bad panic attack or like i would if i was on drugs, don’t do drugs so i don’t know if thats a good example. anyway i thought exercise was supposed to make you feel good but mine doesn’t. any thoughts on this would be appreciated, rolli

  9. Teri says:

    Over exercising to me would be when your body doesn’t get enough time or rest to allow for muscle and tissue growth. For example in weight training the muscle is broke down before the building process begins that is one of the reasons alternate days for exercising, to allow tissue growth.I think the proper rest between workouts and at night are crucial.

  10. Linda says:

    I am a 62 years old woman and really enjoy exercise. I do step aerobics M-W-F at 5:45-6:45 a.m. then go to work at 8:00 at a very high pressure stressful job. I return to the fitness center and do “turbokick” 5:30-6:30 p.m. on M and W. On Tues and Th 5:30-6:30 p.m. I lift weights. I really know at my age that is too much as my body tells me so – but with my job, I really need the release. During the past 6 months, I have finally let myself miss sessions now and them but then my stress level gets to me. What is the answer – I wish I knew!

  11. JA says:

    Rolli, maybe try alternating days between cardio and weights instead of doing both every day you work out? Exercise releases natural endorphins, but it shouldn’t make you feel like you’re having a panic attack…
    Linda, I love TurboKick (I’m an instructor)!! But it is a very intense workout. Mixing that with step is probably too much cardio. Maybe just choose one or the other on those days. Do you notice more of a change in stress level when you exercise before or after work? Choose which one helps you the most with releasing stress, but don’t do both.

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