How much exercise is too much?

I have had a full life. I have worked hard and traveled all over the world while raising three sons. I know that many of you can relate to hard work while raising kids also. I used to have a ton of energy and not really think too much about my energy levels. As I aged, I found that I started to slow down and I had to be more selective with how much I could fit into one day. I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue or Burnout in my 40’s and found that a lot of things I used to be able to do were not as easy anymore.

I have always been an overachiever and instead of being pushed, I was always told to slow down and rest in almost all aspects of my life. I have also always struggled with keeping my weight down. I did two really bad things when I was young. First, I would starve thinking that if eating less causes me to lose weight then eating nothing will help me lose quicker…My other bad mistake was thinking that if working out helped me get fit then working out harder and longer will make me more fit and then from that, happier!

Some people didn't understand the “protection” I had over my energy levels. It was a new feeling that started in my 40’s. I had to be selective in what i did each day. I wanted to workout because it kept me in shape for my work and my self esteem but it also could set me back where I couldn't function for the rest of the day. I had a trainer at one point who would push me so hard in 90 minutes, that I would need to come home and take a 4 hour nap. She just couldn't understand my fatigue. Most people say that they have more energy when they work out; not me! I would be wiped.

Trainers thought I was lazy and would push me harder but it wouldn't help me any. I had to learn to be selective in what I did each day and try to rest where I could. I learned that light workouts were okay but the most important thing for me to keep my weight down was for me to watch everything I put in my mouth….that is for another article!

I remember training for the NYC Marathon in 2006. I was 46 at the time and I trained 3 times a week with an ex marathoner. There was a short run of about 8 miles, then a sprint day and then on Saturday, my long run from 16-22 miles. By Saturday afternoon I would be useless. Since I used to be the spokesperson for the NYC Marathon in my 20’s, I felt that I couldn't give up the marathon so I slept a lot and kept at it. By the time the marathon came around 7 months later, I was in shape and able to run but I had gained 15 pounds! I know, it doesn't make any sense but it is true.

So, it comes down to a big question… How much exercise is too much? All people are built differently and some can handle intense exercise and not even limp! Others would prefer to sit on a couch all day and not exercise at all. I would say that the answer lies within you. You have to get out there and do something to keep your body healthy. Only you can decide what motivates you and how to much effort you put into getting your body moving. You may have to carve time out of an already busy schedule, join some kind of a club or make time to step outside and walk.

Yesterday was a beautiful winter day in Colorado. I wanted to do something. I went through a bunch of scenarios. It was either take a long hike (as in 4-6 hours) up high in the mountains but I didn't want to get too cold, go for a run but I actually felt lazy, work out with weights in the gym but I dragged my feet on that idea also so I got a backpack, put in a bottle of water and just started walking. I ended up 3000 feet higher 2 hours later and had a friend pick me up at the top of a mountain. The point is that I got out and did something gentle but continuous and was able to go for a couple of hours. I tell you this so that you listen to your body. If this article motivates you and you want to start moving, start at a slow pace so you don't hurt yourself and get too sore. If you don’t do anything, then I hope this article helps motivate you to get up off that couch!