Too Much Cardio: 6 Signs Your Cardio Workout is Hurting You

We all know that cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for our health and that we should do it regularly. However, overtraining, or doing too much cardio, can actually harm you physically and mentally. 
Too Much Cardio: 6 Signs Your Cardio Workout is Hurting You

Last update: 24 April, 2019

It’s almost like a mantra: cardio is so good for your health and has huge benefits. However, did you know that too much cardio can actually be bad for you? Keep reading to learn how to identify the signs that your body gives you when you’re overexerting yourself with too much cardio.

Too much cardio? The negative side of cardiovascular exercise

First things first, we must stress that cardiovascular exercise is not bad for you. The problem has to do with the intensity and frequency with which you practice this activity.

Sometimes we start an activity that’s supposedly beneficial but it can end up harming our bodies.

Would you like to know if you’re doing too much cardio or if you’re overexerting yourself, and doing more than you’re physically capable of? If so, pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. What are the signs?

Signs you’re doing too much cardio

1. You postpone other activities

Have you forgotten about or postponed a romantic evening, date, studying, or dinner with friends? Don’t forgo your mother’s birthday, a final exam, or a meeting that could completely change your career, for the sake of an exercise session.

If the gym, going for a run, or your spinning class comes first, it’s a pretty obvious sign that your workout has become your number one priority. As a result, it’s harming your personal and social life.

2. You always feel tired: a sign of too much cardio

This week you’ve completed each workout session that you were determined to do, be it five or six. However, it’s Sunday and you can’t even get out of bed! Let’s not even talk about what happened during the week: you arrived late to work, you fell asleep while watching a movie with your partner, you can’t stay awake on the subway, etc.

You feel so exhausted that you want to sleep for an entire week. Even though you think you can’t maintain your exercise regime anymore, you still plan everything around going to the gym.

Another sign that you’re doing too much cardio is when your legs feel “tired” and you’re walking more slowly than usual. This happens when overtraining causes a loss of neuromuscular ability and your extremities no longer receive the order to move quickly.

Woman leaning on hand falling asleep exhausted

3. You’re obsessed with your appearance

“I’m doing cardio to slim down my legs!” Or “You’ll only see my abs if I do one thousand sit-ups per day!” These are very common phrases among people who are obsessed with improving a certain area of their body that they detest or are self-conscious about.

For this reason, you’ve made it your goal to go to the gym every day and train until you eliminate those love handles, have toned legs, or reduce your cellulite. However, this obsession is really harming your body and mind.

4. Everything hurts

We’re not referring to localized pain in your calves or shoulders after a workout. Instead, we’re talking about constant pain that doesn’t go away even if you rest, take a bath, or use a heated pad. It won’t even go away if you take a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory.

Even if you’re a professional athlete, you still have to rest after every workout session in order to allow your muscles to recover from the exertion. Don’t forget, exercise can put a lot of stress on your body and it needs rest in order to recover and return to normal.

5. You’re constantly thirsty

This is one of the warning signs that most athletes don’t take seriously. However, it can be much more serious than you think. Thirst is the warning signal that our bodies give to us when it starts feeling the first effects of dehydration.

This sensation can appear when you’ve eaten something salty or when you haven’t been drinking enough water. In addition, thirst may appear when it’s really hot outside and, mainly, when you’ve worked out too hard. This is because you’ve lost more liquid than your body can handle losing.

Woman sitting at desk drinking water headache dehydrated due to too much cardio

6. You have a rapid heartbeat while resting

It’s normal for your heart rate to increase when doing cardiovascular exercise. Your heart has to work hard to get the oxygen it needs and to deal with the exertion of exercise. As a result, organ function will, of course, speed up.

However, if your pulse becomes rapid even when you’re at rest or doing another type of activity, this is not good. This could mean it’s time to think about whether you’re training too hard or doing too much cardio.

Are you hitting the gym more often than usual or have you noticed sudden changes in your mood? Has your libido decreased? Unfortunately, this could mean that you’ve crossed the line with your workouts.

What should you do now? First and foremost, reduce the intensity or frequency of workouts you’re currently doing. Additionally, allow your body to rest in between workout sessions.

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