What better time to focus on overexertion than at the beginning of warm (hot) weather?  Those who haven’t been exercising during the winter season may have decided to start working out to get back into shape.

Usually the first thing we think of is “no pain, no gain”.  But this is not the correct way to reach our goals.  Going beyond what our bodies can do usually brings about harmful results.  If you are working out at home or a fitness center, get some good advice from a trainer and pace yourself.  When exercising, if you are breathing heavily for a lengthy time, stop, and try something else.  Know your limits.  Swimming is an excellent aerobic activity.

Health problems can also be brought about because of overexertion.  Heat stroke can occur when a persons’ body cannot control its temperature.  If you are exerting yourself physically, there is a danger of heat stroke at a temperature as low as 75°, if the humidity is high.  Although not as serious as heat stroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion also can pose threats when a person perspires heavily and becomes dehydrated.  One needs to get in the shade, drink non-caffeine or non-alcoholic drinks, and if possible, take a cool shower or sponge bath.  Because the body loses salt through perspiration, cramps happen.

Other forms of overexertion, such as back strain, are a leading cause of workplace injuries, resulting in almost 3.5 million injuries per year.  Overexertion is sometimes linked to overachievement.  Doing a physically exhausting job too long harms our bodies.  Employers should consider the temperature extremes their employees are exposed to.

The following ideas are usually included in safety training of employees, but let’s review them:

  • Proper lifting techniques.
  • Have carts, wheelbarrows, or other equipment available.
  • Use of gloves for better grip.
  • Push, don’t pull load.
  • Good footing.
  • Don’t reach too far for something.
  • Don’t try to jump.

There are many other suggestions to help avoid overexertion.  The main thing is to use common sense.  Your body has a great warning system, and will let you know when you are overdoing it.  Pay attention!