They say too much of a good thing is bad. But who knew this could be true of something as beneficial as exercise? Incorporating at least three (if not five) days of 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day can help maintain a healthy heart, blood pressure, and more. Exercise is also credited with an improved mood an overall sense of well-being. But what happens when your love of exercise turns to an obsession? When you start pushing your body past healthy levels and your exercise regime is actually harming your health instead of helping it? Keep reading to discover signs that you might be addicted to exercise and how to handle it.
1. You Run to the Gym After Every Meal
In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. It’s a simple math equation. But that doesn’t mean you should be running to the gym after every meal. If you are, it might mean that you have an exercise (or weight loss) addiction. If you’re on a healthy weight loss journey, you’ll consume the right foods at the right time. This helps fuel your body and provide the energy you need to push through your workouts and recover afterward. You shouldn’t feel immense guilt over indulging once in a while. Did you have a cupcake at that birthday party? Or accept a glass of wine while visiting a friend? One small “misstep” in your diet won’t throw you that far off track — not if you recover and return to healthy eating habits. The minute you view exercise as punishment for indulging in certain foods, it’s a sure sign that your relationship with working out is taking an ugly turn.
2. You Skip Social Events to Exercise
Were you invited to a friend’s birthday party or even a getaway weekend? Is your excitement over the event quickly replaced with thoughts like this — “Does the hotel have a gym?” “How will I fit my workouts in?” “I can’t go. I need to stay on track with my exercise and diet.” While some people may view this as discipline, these thoughts are actually signs that you’ve taken your weight loss goals a little too far. Life is about more than just running on the treadmill and lifting weights. Sure, these are two excellent ways to maintain a healthy weight, build lean muscle, and boost your confidence. But what good is living a healthy life if you can’t enjoy the life you’ve created? Avoiding social events out of fear they’ll interfere with your exercise routine is a sign that you might be obsessed. If you’re worried about staying committed while on vacation, research if the hotel or location has a gym. Grab a friend and go for a relaxing morning run on the beach. Have a big party coming up this weekend? Hit the gym a little earlier on a Saturday morning so you don’t feel guilty about indulging that night. There are positive, healthy ways to support your fitness goals without sacrificing your social life.
3. You Exercise Even When You’re Sick or Hurt
Sometimes, you just need to know when to say enough is enough. There are a few times in life when your doctor might recommend taking a break from exercise — when you’re sick or injured. Exercising at your normal intensity while injured can result in a long list of complications. Not only can you hurt yourself further, but you’ll also set back your recovery time, only making things worse for yourself in the long run. Some people think pushing through a workout even when you’re hurt or ill shows dedication and discipline. This may be true in some cases, but not when it means compromising your health or safety. If your body exhibits these signs it means stop pushing yourself and take a break! The same goes for working out when you’re sick. If you have a fever, body aches, respiratory issues, or a stomach ache, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down and take a break. Trying to exercise when you’re either dizzy or congested may lead to difficulty breathing or even passing out. Are you feeling completely worn out or exhausted? Once in a while, it’s okay to hit the “snooze” button on your alarm and opt for sleep over hitting the gym. In fact, adequate sleep is an essential part of any weight loss regime. It helps your body to rest and recover, resetting your metabolism. So don’t feel guilty about sleeping in once in a while — it’s actually the perfect way to promote your efforts, not curtail them.
4. Your Exercise Sessions Are Too Long
How long are you working out for? One, two, maybe three or more hours? Are you working out multiple times a day. If exercise is consuming a large portion of your day, it’s likely a sign your love of the gym is turning into an unhealthy obsession. Did you know that you can actually exercise too much? Over exercising can break down healthy muscle and push your heart and lungs too hard. Ideally, your workouts should last between 60 and 90 minutes. This helps challenge your body. Anything longer won’t necessarily give you better results. Not to mention, pushing too hard for too long one day might make it difficult to exercise the next day. Burnout is a common side effect of intense exercise for long periods of time.
5. Exercise is No Longer Fun
Exercise (despite what some people might think) is supposed to be fun! Choose activities that are enjoyable. Things like hiking, rock climbing, yoga, and paddle boarding are all popular and pleasurable activities that double as effective exercise. Some people truly enjoy lifting weights at the gym, running, and performing other exercises that to others, seem like work. If you once found your exercise routine pleasurable but now dread the minute your alarm clock goes off or approach your run or yoga class with disdain, it might be a sign that exercise has now become an obligation instead of a choice. While you should motivate to exercise at least three times a week, it’s important to make it a positive experience. If you’re forcing yourself to work out every single day and hating every minute of it, you might want to reevaluate your motivation.
Who knew that you could actually exercise too much? If your exercise routine has become a full-time job, is interfering with your social life, or leaves you feeling guilty, you may have an unhealthy relationship with working out. This may also be a sign of an underlying eating disorder. Be mindful of how often you exercise, for how long, and what drives you to do so. And remember, it’s okay to take a break — it will do wonders for your mind and body.
Article Submitted By Community Writer