Overtraining Syndrome Symptoms
There is no clear diagnostic to identify Overtraining Syndrome, therefore Overtraining Syndrome can only be proven after all other possible explanations of the symptoms have been ruled out. Early confirmation of Overtraining Syndrome is almost impossible because the only key symptom is underperformance, usually combined with Mood State changes. It is important to understand that Overtraining Syndrome is not just a physiological problem, but includes aspects of psychology. An overtrained athlete is unlikely to have all of the symptoms, but they may have several. Over 90 symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome have been recorded.
- Unexpected underperformance. An unexplained reduction in performance is a key symptom of Overtraining Syndrome. This underperformance can also manifest as an inability to maintain training loads, an increase in the effort required to maintain training load.
- Mood State changes. Changes in Mood State are one of the key characteristics of Overtraining Syndrome. In many ways Overtraining Syndrome is remarkably similar to major depression. In fact, increased training stresses can produce a relatively rapid change in Mood State. One study showed significant changes in Mood State after only 3 days of increased training.
- The major Mood State change with Overtraining Syndrome is depression. However, anxiety, or a mixture of depression and anxiety also occurs.
- Mood State changes can lead to behavioral problems or conduct disorders. See [[Types Overtraining Syndrome]] for more details.
- There can also be changes in Self Talk such as an increased negativity.
- There is often a lack of Motivation or a change in Motivation so that a fear of failure is the dominant driving force rather than a desire to succeed.
- General fatigue. This fatigue could be seen as a general feeling of weariness, or the desire to sleep more. This could be fatigue due to an illness, depression, or muscular fatigue.
- Heart Rate Changes. A number of changes to Heart Rate have been considered as symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome.
- Elevated Resting Heart Rate. Changes in Resting Heart Rate have been associated with many cases of Overtraining Syndrome. While this can be a useful symptom to monitor for early detection of Overtraining Syndrome, it is not reliable as an elevated Resting Heart Rate is not always seen with Overtraining Syndrome, and in sometimes Overtraining Syndrome decreases Resting Heart Rate than increasing it.
- Heart Rate Variability has been suggested as another measure of recovery and Overtraining Syndrome, but studies to date do not provide evidence of its usefulness. Measuring Heart Rate Variability requires a relatively expensive Heart Rate Monitor and is less convenient than checking Resting Heart Rate which can be measured with a Pulse Oximeter.
- Orthostatic Heart Rate uses the difference in Heart Rate between lying down and standing up to detect Overtraining Syndrome. There is little evidence to support this metric.
- Resting SpO2. It has been suggested that the resting blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) may be useful in detecting Overtraining Syndrome, but there is no evidence to support this.
- Infection or illness. Like a major depression, Overtraining Syndrome tends to suppress the immune system resulting in more infections and illnesses, especially Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (colds). This can also manifest itself as a slower healing of minor cuts, or a swelling of the lymph nodes. However, many of the symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome could be due purely to an illness, so it can be unclear if the illness is a symptom of Overtraining Syndrome or the symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome are actually just symptoms of the illness.
- Insomnia or disturbed sleep. Overtraining Syndrome tends to interfere with sleep, which in turn impairs recovery and rest, leading to a positive feedback cycle.
- Pain. Muscle soreness, joint pain, headaches, or gastrointestinal problems are all symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome.
- Unexplained weight loss. Changes in Mood State can often result in a loss of appetite leading to a drop in body weight.
- Thirst. While hydration is obviously an important part of recovery, I suspect that it's possible that an increase in thirst indicates some more profound imbalance in overtrained athletes.
- Clumsiness. It is been noted that overtrained athletes seem to have impaired coordination and a general sense of clumsiness.
- Menstrual disruptions. Overtrained female athletes may have disruptions to their menstrual cycle.
- Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/tejs/2006/00000006/00000001/art00001
- Overtraining in athletes. An update. [Sports Med. 1991] - PubMed - NCBI http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1925188
- Taylor & Francis Online :: Adjustment Disorder: a new way of conceptualizing the overtraining syndrome - International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology - Volume 2, Issue 2 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17509840903110962
- Physiological Perspective of Endurance Overtraining – A Comprehensive Update http://ajms.alameenmedical.org/article_vol05-1-jan-mar-2012/AJMS.5.1.2012%20P%207-20.pdf
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- Overtraining In Sport, Kreider, Fry, O'Toole, Human Kinetics
- Restwise.com web site http://restwise.com/