When Exercise Isn’t Healthy

Are you compulsively exercising?

Although eating disorders are commonly understood now-a-days, exercising disorders aren’t. Even experts in the field agree that people can overdo it. And it can be detrimental.

In my experience, I’ve come across a lot of obsessive-compulsive exercisers who do tremendous damage to their bodies.

One individual I knew would exercise in the morning, at lunch and at night, at least six days a week. That is 18 times a week!

I have also known people who would calculate how much they would have to exercise with every calorie they would ingest. These people suffered from an exercise disorder.

Related: Could You Go a Year Without Dieting?

Maintaining our weight and a healthy exercise regimen is important. When we do so, however, and are truly mindful, our bodies know how much is healthy. 

If we overdo it, our bodies will find a way to let us know. Paying attention to how our body feels and how we think is a must to stay in a healthy range of exercise.

Here are a few signs to look for:

1. No Excuse is Unacceptable. Although pushing through exercise, even if you feel a little tired or under the weather is okay, it can be taken to an extreme.  If you feel guilty when you miss your routine, you may be overdoing it. If you are injured, have a fever or haven’t been getting enough sleep, yet getting to the gym is crucial, it might be a problem. Life happens, and schedules get crazy.  Take a day off when you need it.

2. Exercise is an Obligation. Although you may not always find exercise to be the most fun activity, it shouldn’t become an obligation.  Exercise has a lot of benefits and if you are doing it at appropriate intervals, you should be able to enjoy it.

Related: Body Mass Index vs. Weight -- Which Is More Important?

3. Calories Become the Enemy. If every time you consume food, you calculate how much exercise it will take to burn off the calories, you are probably being obsessive.  If relaxing or sitting still causes you to feel guilty because you are afraid you aren’t burning any calories, it might be a sign of obsession.

4. Dramatic Weight Loss. If you have been overweight and started exercising, it will most likely result in weight loss.  If you are losing more than three pounds a week, however, you may be pushing yourself too hard.

5. Lack of Balance. If you tend to work out two or more times a day, give up activities you love, turn down time with friends and neglect responsibilities for exercise, you need to slow down and take a step back.  There is more to life than just exercise. 

6. Constantly Injury Prone. If you are constantly injuring yourself or find that you have a lot of chronic pain, you could be overworking muscles and/or joints.  Rest is just as important as exercise itself.  You need to give your body time to recover.

7. Loss of Energy. Although exercising can give you more energy, if you overdo it, you will most likely feel tired and worn out from pushing your body too much.
Have you ever fallen into the obsessive realm of exercise? Do you know anyone else who has?

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Brett Blumenthal is bestselling author of 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You and writes at www.sheerbalance.com. She regularly speaks on topics of wellness and personal development. She has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spa Magazine, Stuff Boston, American Fitness, The METRO and Organic Spa Magazine, and has appeared on NBC, FOX and CBS, as well as on Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Radio Show – on Sirius Radio. She is a regular guest on Better Connecticut (WFSB – CBS, Hartford, CT) and MyFox – 25 in Boston.
 

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