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How do I prevent overtraining?

It is important to take at least one rest day per week to prevent overtraining.  Your body needs time to recover, especially if you are training at high levels.  Some people take "active rest days" as well during the week to focus on recovery while still maintaining a low activity level. Some options may be yoga, pilates, light swimming or even walking.  Alternating the parts of your body that you work out may also help avoid overtraining. For example, if you are strength training, you can focus on upper body one day, lower body another day and core a third day.  Getting enough sleep and eating properly for performance and recovery are also important keys to avoid overtraining. 
To help prevent overtraining, be sure to allow adequate recovery periods between bouts of exercises or days of training. A proper cool-down following games or intense workouts may prove to be helpful as well. Overtraining can prevent athletes from reaching training goals which can lead to poor motivation or even quitting. Overtraining is a pathological state that results from cumulative neuromuscular and metabolic fatigue. Common signs of overtraining include prolonged foot contact, lack of neuromuscular control, decreased vertical jump height or horizontal displacement, and requiring longer rest periods between bouts of activity. In addition, coaches will notice that the athlete will have difficulty reaching target training zones, may report inadequate sleep, and will often describe workouts as draining or not feeling "refreshed" afterwards.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.