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Definition - What does Overtraining mean?

Overtraining is a situation that occurs when a person engages in excessive exercise or physical activity without allowing his or her body adequate time for recovery. Overtraining stresses the body's systems to such a degree that the individual may experience physical and mental harm. This condition is sometimes called overtraining syndrome.

A person who has overtrained may feel physically fatigued and mentally exhausted. He or she may suffer from anxiety or have mood swings. Once the body has been weakened by overtraining, it may take weeks to recover.

SureHire explains Overtraining

Overtraining is often associated with high-performance athletics. However, employees engaged in physically intense work may also experience overtraining. The initial stage of overtraining involves overreaching. A person may intentionally overreach by increasing the training load in incremental steps to improve performance and endurance. If carefully managed and alternated with appropriate rest and recovery time, this method can enhance performance.

But when an athlete or employee engages in excessive training or exertion without allowing adequate time for rest and recovery, the body begins to lose these performance gains. Individuals who have overtrained may find their muscles weakened, sleep disrupted, and immune system compromised as the body diverts resources to attempting to repair damage. When designing training programs for employees who will engage in physically intense tasks, it is important to incorporate scheduled rest and recovery periods as well as limiting the amount of training increases to prevent instances of overtraining. Additionally, the physical demands of a task should be considered when deciding how often to schedule duty breaks for employees.

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