How to Avoid Exercise Burnout

Changing the way you think about exercising can be the key to making it a permanent part of your daily routine.

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Posted in , Jun 9, 2021

Senior women exercising together (Getty Images)

Consistent exercise is important, but with intense routines and busy schedules, it can be difficult to maintain. How can you keep yourself on track to a healthier body and mind? Try these simple ways to change your outlook on exercise and avoid burnout.  

  1. Pace Yourself 

The most common way to burn out from exercise is to do too much too quickly. This is a common mistake for people who are starting daily exercise or getting back into it after a long hiatus. Doing hours of intense cardio or weightlifting makes it more likely you will injure yourself and fall out of the habit of exercising. Start off with simple, manageable exercises to acclimate your body. Then gradually add on more time to your cardio workout or more weight to your weightlifting. Remember: it’s not a race. 

  1. Nourish Your Body 

Any exercise routine will be short lived if you don’t have the energy for it. The best way to prepare your body for daily workouts is to make sure you are staying nourished. Don’t skip meals and eat plenty of healthy food, making sure to include a mix of proteins, carbs, and fats. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that people who exercise, at any level, should aim to get 50 to 60 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates. Drink lots of water, before, during and after your workouts. You should also drink plenty of water on the days you are not working out. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that men should drink about 15.5 cups of fluids a day; women should drink about 11.5 cups of fluids a day.  

  1. Take Break Days 

Once you get on a roll, it may be tempting to work out every day. But that’s a surefire way to tire yourself out. In fact, break days are necessary to keep your workout effective. Muscles, ligaments and tendons require gaps in workouts to be able to rest, repair, and get stronger. Intense exercise every day also puts your body at risk for injury. Find break days that work with your exercise schedule and stick to them. Use those days to be kind to your body. Stretch your muscles to keep them limber. Go on a walk to enjoy the scenery, not just to see how much you can push your body.  

  1. Be Kind to Yourself 

It's perfectly normal to fall off your workout schedule or miss more exercise days than you had planned. Don’t be disheartened or beat yourself up over it. The next day can always be the day you jump back into it. What’s most important is that you are kind to yourself and make plans to try again. If you had a tiring day and can’t bring yourself to do that intense cardio workout, tell yourself that’s okay. Try to go on a walk or at least do a little of the exercise, as long as it feels right for your body.  

  1. Have Fun 

Try to introduce some fun into your routine so you keep up your workouts. Create an energizing playlist with your favorite upbeat songs to make those runs more enjoyable. Catch up on your favorite TV show when you hop on your exercise bike to keep yourself entertained. Do weightlifting with a friend and encourage each other as you go. Before you know it, you’ll start looking forward to your exercise time and feeling healthier, in both body and mind! 

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