Overtraining syndrome: burned athletes

The practice of physical exercise produces both psychological and physical benefits. But in some cases hSports steel can also be counterproductiveAnything taken to the extreme can be harmful.

Exercise addiction is one such phenomenon that has captured the attention of psychologists, but Lack of freshness He Overtraining syndrome. This syndrome has been observed more in athletes, but not exclusively.

Overtraining syndrome leads to decreased athlete performance

As we saw in the article on runnorexia, Excessive exercise can lead some people to severe addiction. On the other hand, in other cases, excessive physical training can lead to the contrary, for example: sensations of fatigue, lethargy, loss of vigor, insomnia, depression, etc., and this is what is happening in Staleness.

Coupled with these symptoms, overtraining syndrome (SSE) is characterized by a decrease in athlete performance, caused by stressors that result from excessive training and a lack of adequate recoverya. Other extracurricular stressors (social, professional, economic, nutritional, etc.) also favor the appearance of this syndrome.

Overtraining syndrome is associated with prolonged and / or excessive training and inadequate recovery

the sports planning correct is very important because it allows the athlete to adapt to the general adaptation syndrome, i.e. it allows the athlete’s body to adapt to training and stimuli that cause stress (physical, biochemical or mental).

Therefore, good planning helps to increase athletic performance and the alternation of work and rest allows a sufficient recovery and an improvement of the physical qualities of the individual.

Overtraining syndrome: burnout in athletes

Any training session is likely to cause (acute) fatigue, but noor acute fatigue should be confused with overtraining syndrome, Which refers to chronic and generalized fatigue and also exhibits psychological symptoms, such as emotional fatigue, listlessness, or depression.

The mechanisms of acute fatigue depend on the duration and intensity of exercise, but when fatigue is prolonged, there is a sharp decrease in athletic performance, accompanied by a set of physiological and psychological symptoms of exhaustion. . In many cases, this can lead to the abandonment of sports practice.

Some authors use the term Burnout or “being burnt out” (more commonly used in the workplace) to refer to Staleness, as both are characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal growth.

Symptoms of overtraining syndrome

Many studies have been conducted to provide information on overtraining syndrome, and it was concluded that the symptoms described so far vary from subject to subject.

However, the American Physical Therapy Association has established a number of symptoms that commonly occur when an individual suffers from Staleness. It is important to stress that not everyone will show up. Symptoms of overtraining syndrome are as follows:

  • Physical and physiological: Blood pressure increased and heart rate increased while resting, breathing problems, high body temperature, hypotension, weight loss, loss of appetite, increased thirst, gastrointestinal problems and muscle pain.
  • immunological: Vulnerability to infections (especially of the respiratory tract) and reduced body defenses, decreased ability to prevent injury, decreased speed of healing, decreased production of red blood cells (increased fatigue).
  • biochemicals: Increase in cortisol (stress hormone), adrenaline, serotonin, increase in plasma fatty acids, decrease in muscle glycogen, hemoglobin, iron and ferritin.
  • psychological: Mood disturbances (for example, depression), lethargy, anxiety and irritability, decreased motivation, lack of concentration, low stress tolerance, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, loss of libido, sleep disturbances and feeling of exhaustion (physical and emotional).

The importance of psychological indicators in the diagnosis

For both psychopathology and sports psychology there is a lot of interest in stagnity. Psychological indicators turn out to be very important for the diagnosis.

Previously, in addition to the decline in sports performance, other physiological variables had been suggested as possible markers of this syndromeFor example, a decrease in heart pressure or an increase in cortisol levels. However, these markers have not proven to be reliable markers.

Over time, experts have realized that the best indicators of this syndrome are those of a psychological or psychophysiological type. A very useful and widely used tool in the world of sport and physical training is the “Mood States Profile (POMS)”.

A questionnaire that assesses the following emotional states: stress, depression, anger, vigor, fatigue and confusion. The normal population generally scores lower on negative emotions (confusion, fatigue, etc.) and higher on positive emotions (vigor). This is called the “iceberg profile”. Conversely, people with an SSE score conversely.

Unlike physiological markers, the POMS tool is less expensive, scores are easy to obtain and its determination is not invasive. So it becomes an ideal tool for the diagnosis of Staleness.

Causes and consequences for the SSE organism

Due to the complexity of this phenomenon, focusing only on physiological factors would lead to a bias on this condition. The causes of obsolescence and the damage it causes to the body are not yet entirely clear.

neurological factors

Following the model of Armstrong and Van Hees, the hypothalamus seems to have an important functionAs the sympathetic-adrenomuscular axis (SAM) involving the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex (HPA) axis would be activated. The purpose of this article is not to explain this pattern, as it can be quite complex.

Now as an idea it is important to understand that neurotransmitters play an important role in this syndrome. For example, Serotonin, which seems to play a very important role in Staleness.

Psychological and physiological factors

Regarding the body’s immune response, another complementary model seems to indicate that due to overtraining, lack of rest and other factors favoring the onset of the syndrome (For example, psychosocial stress or the psychological problems of the individual), what is called Smith’s “cytosine pattern” would occur.

This pattern indicates that excessive and prolonged training associated with other causes, increase the number of cytosines caused by trauma to skeletal muscle, bones and joints caused by overtraining. These changes are linked to a depression in immune function and can put the individual at an increased risk for infections and diseases.

Treatment of overtraining syndrome

Treatment should be used on the different symptoms that the patient presents, and usually begins with the physical appearance, treating the physiological symptoms. Once the physiological symptoms have been treated, psychological symptoms, which require the presence of a psychologist, may be treated. It is also very important to take back control of sleep hygiene and good nutrition.

With regard to physical training, and although some specialists propose the total suspension of physical exercise, it is more effective to regulate it well and not the total suspension. Initially, it is important to work on regenerative endurance, by swimming, cycling or jogging. Gradually, the volume and intensity should be increased, and there should be an appropriate relationship between the progressive load of training and recovery.

Bibliographical references:

  • Kellmann M. (2002). Infra-recovery and overtraining. In: Improve recovery, avoid low performance of athletes. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1-24.
  • Palmer C. and Mitchell JL (2015). When (or how) do the Olympics become “stale”? Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 18 (3), 275-289.

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