Overloading vs. Overworking

by Angela Yorke | August 18th, 2011 | Cardio

The concept is simple: you do cardio if you want to lose weight. As a person’s fitness level improves, he or she is then able to increase the amount of cardiovascular exercise carried out to develop greater fitness. This is known as “overloading,” and is quite different from what you do at a buffet line.

Overloading means that a workload should be periodically increased so that strength and endurance will improve. The effects from overloading are perhaps more obvious in a person new to exercise, which is also a possible reason overenthusiastic fitness devotees might wind up doing more cardio than is beneficial.

How would you know you’ve been hitting the trails too hard, too long, and too frequently? For one, you no longer look forward to working out, because you feel sore all the time, and not merely for the few days after an overload.

Perpetual fatigue and a constant bad mood are also signs of having overdone it. What you need to remember is that exercise is a stressor for the body; therefore, it must be given a chance to recover before being “stressed out” again.

There is a prevailing concern that too much cardio exercise can result in muscle loss, which is counterproductive to the pursuit of fitness. While the detrimental effects of overwork are very real, most people don’t work out to such an injurious extent. As such, there’s no excuse not to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

However, it’s best to take a measured approach if you want to exceed the minimum recommended duration, because you feel you can, or want to lose weight more quickly. This is because the body can’t recover if you force it into a 6 day cardio routine in which each session lasts 1.5 hours.

To illustrate the importance of overloading, but not overworking yourself, it should be noted that sudden cardiac death is a major risk factor for people who were once completely sedentary, but have decided to run a marathon. I’m not saying it can’t ever be done, but it shouldn’t be the very first distance you sign up for if the idea of a walk around the block is still new to you.

Overwork tends to occur when a person feels that he or she has to do more to keep up a good “front.” The duration that you run doesn’t influence another person’s fitness! It’s important to keep in mind that cardio builds endurance, and that’s something that can’t be rushed.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.