Frequent muscle soreness, sleep problems, and unexplained weight loss are all signs you might be overtraining.

5 Signs You Might Be Overtraining

Yes, exercise is a good thing – in fact, it’s one of the keys to staying healthy. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, which in the case of exercise means overdoing it. This is especially when you’re starting a new sport or preparing for a sports event. And when you overtrain, you risk undoing all that progress you’ve made, as well as introducing a host of new health issues.

Here are 5 warning signs that can alert you that it’s time to dial back and take it a little easier.

1. Frequent Soreness

If you notice muscle soreness that lasts more than a few days, it’s likely a sign you’re muscles aren’t getting the time they need to recover. Your body should be able to build muscle gradually and bounce back from the strain of each workout. If that’s not happening, it’s a sure sign you’re overdoing it.

2. Sleep Problems

Training too hard can cause insomnia and other sleep problems by affecting your hormones, nervous system, and simply by leaving you over-tired and overstressed. Sometimes over-exercising is related to mood issues – either anxiety is pushing you to train too much, or you’re using exercise as a way to combat depression. Sleep disturbances can also be related to mood swings, as anxiety and depression impact sleep. You can find yourself in a negative loop, as overtiring sabotages your sleep and being poorly rested undermines your training. The solution: Build regular rest days into your routine and when you do, really rest. This doesn’t mean substituting a barre or yoga class, it means taking a day off from intense physical activity.

3. Dehydration

Does it seem like nothing quenches your thirst? Working out puts your body into a catabolic state and too much of this leads to dehydration and deprives your body of essential nutrients. Drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, not just when you workout.

4. Weight Changes

If your body-mass index (BMI) drops too low or you are changes that are much more rapid than what is considered safe.  Monitoring BMI is one way to keep track of whether your training schedule is becoming unhealthy.  Women can develop something referred to as the female athlete triad. When you’re not consuming enough nutrition to sustain the expenditure of energy, it affects menses and bone density.  In both men and women, we other stress factors affected.

5. Getting Sick

When we’re extremely fatigued or possibly overtraining our immunity drops.  Our body diverts its energy expenditure for exercise instead of focusing on resolving illness or injury.  Anytime you’ve got a health problem or injury that isn’t getting better, look at your activity level – are you getting the rest your body needs to heal? you are not healing in the expected time frame, consider the possibility you may be overtraining.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.