Responses Of The Autonomic Nervous System To Overtraining

The symptoms of overtraining definitely illustrate an imbalance between the sympathetic and para-sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. People who engage in "intensity-related" activities, such as sprinters, may exhibit sympathetically dominant symptoms:

• Increased blood pressure and resting heart rates

• Elevated basal metabolic rate

• Emotional instability and sleep disturbance

• Loss of appetite

The symptoms can be parasympathetically related in people who engage in endurance activities:

• Decreased resting blood pressure and resting heart rate

• Early onset of fatigue

• Rapid recovery of heart rate after exercise Sympathetically related symptoms occur more frequently than parasympathetically related ones. However, similar symptoms can also be experienced by athletes who have not trained excessively; thus care should be taken in making a clinical diagnosis.

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