Too much of anything can become detrimental— yes, even exercise! When you become obsessed with exercising, become so wrapped up in it that you’re always thinking about it, you might be inching towards something called exercise addiction.
Let’s talk about the dangers of exercise addiction— what it is, how it can hurt you, and how you can find balance.
What is Exercise Addiction?
According to ProjectKnow.com, exercise addiction is a “compulsive disorder in which a person feels the uncontrollable need to exercise excessively.”
If you’re addicted to exercise, you may spend a lot of time thinking about exercise, talking about it, recovering from it, and planning for it. You may feel nervous and restless when you haven’t exercised in a while, and you might eliminate other enjoyable activities in your life to make room for more exercise.
- Are you constantly going to the gym?
- Do you work out multiple times a day?
- Are you focused on how skinny you can get or how much muscle definition you can attain, rather than how healthy you want to become?
- Do you feel a lack of control over your drive to exercise?
- Do you constantly push yourself to achieve more dramatic milestones?
If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” it’s time to step back and consider how exercise may have taken over your life and become an addiction instead of a healthy lifestyle.
The Problem with Excessive Exercise
When you’re addicted to exercise, you might run yourself ragged. You force your body to exert itself in increasingly intense ways, but you don’t nourish it enough or give it enough time to recover.
You keep trying for the thinnest possible waist or the most toned abs, instead of focusing on what’s healthy for your body type and your life.
Sometimes, exercise addiction goes hand-in-hand with eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa. If you’re not properly nourishing your body, you may suffer from anemia, lethargy, weakness, and anxiety.
Your body may react against the excessive exercise with sprained ligaments, inflammation, torn tendons or muscles, and joint damage.
Exercise addiction can also steal time from work and career efforts. It can take you away from your family and friends, ruining your social life and damaging relationships.
The Balanced Approach
If you’re concerned that you may be developing an unhealthy obsession with exercise, talk to your doctor about it. Find out what would be a healthy goal weight and BMI for someone of your age and body type.
Discuss your diet with a dietician to find out what your body really needs and the amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you should be getting each day. Nourish your body with healthy foods instead of depriving and weakening yourself.
Exercising every day is wonderful! However, try to be aware of the role that exercise is playing in your life (and in your mind).
If you’re not sure how to stay fit while finding balance, scale back your current regimen of exercise and try some of my lighter intensity workouts instead.
Otherwise, my Lean Legs program will help you find a rhythm of healthy, positive workouts so you can stay strong and fit without overdoing it. And you’ll still have plenty of time for work, studies, family time, and social engagements. After all, exercise is just one aspect