In the United States, overexertion is actually the third leading cause in accidental injuries.

Overexertion is very common during a workout, especially if you’re starting a new exercise regimen. However, it can be easy to prevent especially when you are aware of the signs.

Are you overexerted, or just a little tired? How can you tell? Read on to learn about the top signs of overexertion.

What is Overexertion

If you’re trying a new exercise or starting over in general, you may not even know what overexertion is.

Overexertion is when you push your muscles and joints past the point where it is comfortable through some repetitive motion. Many people end up accidentally injuring themselves because they push themselves too far or they may not know how far they can go.

Overexertion can be so dangerous because you don’t know that you did it until it’s too late. You’ll know when you feel the injury or pain, however.  Instead, it may be better to know the signs so you can stop before you injure yourself.

Signs of Overexertion

There are many different signs of overexertion, but sometimes they can be difficult to catch if you’re not aware of them.

However, recognizing the signs are the only way to stop overexertion and a potential injury before it occurs.


One of the first symptoms that you should look for is soreness, an aching joint, or a pulled muscle.

Just because you feel soreness doesn’t necessarily mean that you have overexerted yourself, but this is your body’s way of telling you that these muscles have gone through a lot of work and may need some time to heal and repair themselves.

Take a break from the workout so your muscles can take a minute to heal. If they don’t heal, you may want to talk to your doctor.


Feeling tired is a very common sign that you’re on the path to overexertion, but it could also mean that you had a productive workout.

Try to figure out how strong your tiredness is, and see if there could be another explanation. For example, did you wake up early to get to your workout? Is it late at night after you worked all day?

You may just be tired rather than overexerted.

Also, recognize how you feel after a workout. Exercise releases endorphins which normally give you a boost of energy and a feeling of happiness. If you don’t feel this way and just feel exhausted, then you may be working out too hard and should take a few steps back.


If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy during your workout, this could be another sign that you’re overexerting yourself. It could also be a symptom of not eating enough food or being dehydrated.

If you do start to feel dizzy, sit down and take a break while also focusing on your breathing. You can also try drinking water. If the dizziness disappears, you can go back to an easier workout.


If you’re hydrated and not hungry, fainting during a workout really only happens during high-intensity workouts.

This is a very obvious sign that your body can’t handle the workout you’re putting it through, so you should scale it back unless you want to hurt yourself.


You should be drinking water before, during, and after your workout to make sure that you are staying hydrated. If you’re sweating a lot during your workout, you need to make sure that you are replacing those fluids, especially in hot weather.

Dehydration has symptoms of fainting and dizziness, but it’s also a symptom of overexertion. If you are experiencing muscle cramps along with the other symptoms, you need to drink some water and give your body a rest from the workout.

Difficulty Talking

While you are working out, how hard are you breathing? Can you have a fluent conversation with someone or are you gasping for air in between every few words?

If you find it difficult to talk and have a normal conversation, you’re probably workout out too hard.

Your body is trying to catch your breath and give you a signal that it’s time to slow down.


Pain may be a sign of overexertion and could also be a sign that you’re doing something wrong.

You may feel uncomfortable during your workout, but if you’re feeling any sharp pain, tightness, burning, or throbbing, you should stop immediately to avoid injury.

How to Avoid Overexertion

The best way to avoid overexertion is to know how to prevent it. If you follow these tips, you should be able to avoid accidentally hurting yourself and have a safe, fun workout.

Stretch and Warm Up

Many people tend to skip the warm-up because they are eager to get their workout done.

But this is an important step that you need to do. This helps your body realize that it’s done resting and will need to be used for physical activity.

Doing stretches is a good way to wake up your muscles and avoid hurting yourself.

Go Slowly

Some impatient people want to hit the ground running. But this is one quick way to hurt yourself. Instead, start slow and work your way up to achieve your goals.

Have Good Posture

If you’re new to a workout, you may want to hire a coach or a personal trainer.  It can be hard to know how to do different workouts correctly, and if you have bad posture, you can hurt yourself.

Cool Down

The cooldown is just as important as the warm-up. The cooldown will return your body back to the relaxed state and ease off the intense workout you just put it through.

Sign Up For a Workout Class

Now that you know the signs of overexertion, you are ready to start hitting the gym safely.

If you are looking for a high-intensity workout but don’t know where to start, you can sign up for a beatSTRONG class that helps you reach your fitness goals.

If you want to see if it’s for you, sign up for a free class here.

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