Beware Of Becoming An Exercise Addict
Beware of exercising to the point of it being unhealthy. I know, it sounds weird because society lets us believe that more exercise is always better. And yes, there’s no denying it. Exercise is great for you, but it’s also very possible to overdo it.
Sometimes too much exercise gets to the point where it becomes a compulsion, rather than a regular heart-healthy activity during the day. If you’re spending long periods of time at the gym, exercising at inappropriate times or struggling to find control over your exercising patterns. You could be developing an exercise addiction and it may be time to seek help.
If it goes untreated, the addiction can become dangerous over time. Here are a few silent signs that your workout routine might be problematic. If you’re experiencing any of these, it might be time that you contact a professional for treatment.
Beware Of The Signs
There are many different factors that might cause you to experience exercise addiction. Experts say that it can be because you are hooked on the high and release of endorphins that are experienced after exercising.
However, according to Popsugar, it can also be your increased levels of fitness. The more you exercise, the more you increase in intensity, and the more your body adapts. Therefore, you feel you need to exercise more at a higher intensity to achieve the same euphoria.
Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts are chasing this sensation because it feels good which compels them to seek more. And it doesn’t matter whether or not their long workouts at very high intensities, are interfering with their daily lives or developing injuries and illnesses. There is a very small group of people that this continual chase becomes obsessive.
What Are The Causes?
However, other experts believe that the problem can stem from control issues. For example, you might feel as if there are areas of your life that are falling apart and fitness is about the only thing you do have control over. Another culprit is a deep desire to control one aspect of your life when you feel like everything else is out of control. This does have a lot to do with specific personality traits, physiological factors, and genetics. Depending on your persona, these may or may not make you more predisposed to developing the condition.
A lot of the time, like any other addiction, people find it difficult to deal with emotional issues like negative emotions, stress, or depression. And exercise is a way for them to cope with these uncomfortable emotions.
How Can You Identify It?
Beware of your attitude to exercise. Experts explain that the biggest difference between a healthy exerciser and an addicted one is their attitude towards it. Usually, an addicted person has a very rigid attitude to their workout routine.
Whereas a person with a healthy relationship to exercise keeps very active but doesn’t allow it to take over their life. They see it as highly important and a great way to manage stress healthily. But it’s only an aspect of their life and not a priority over other things like their health, family, friendships, and work.
On average your workout should stay between 30 to 90 minutes. Of course, the 90-minute marker is more for fitness professionals and athletes. Then it is vital to get rest afterward.
A healthy athlete will not exercise again for another 24-48 hours so that their body has a chance to recover and heal the small muscle tears. However, experts say that an ‘addicted’ person will find it very difficult to stop exercising for more than six hours.
Beware if you’re working out twice a day, without splitting it into two small workouts. That’s when you need to sound the alarm. A good example of this is if you want to do cardio and strength on the same day. However, you choose to split them into two sessions. One cardio session early in the morning and one-afternoon strength-training session.
This is the correct way to do it and the healthiest. But, if you are spending way too much time exercising and it exceeds the time you’ve scheduled for, then you may have a bigger problem to concentrate on.
Your Social Life Takes A Turn
Feeling the need to squeeze in a workout can also interfere with your relationships and daily life schedules. This is probably the best way to identify an unhealthy compulsion with exercise. Your behavior starts to become more and more dependent on exercise. This is often to the point that it is now your only priority. In cases like this, getting in a workout becomes more important than things like social engagements and work. So whilst you think you’re being super dedicated and healthy, you’re actually a bit obsessed and the situation is no longer neutral.
Beware of this if you feel that you are experiencing these signs.
Particularly if you find it really difficult to stop exercising and to take rest days or to prioritize other important life matters.
You also need to evaluate the amount of time that you spend on thinking about, planning, and participating in exercising. If you are wasting a large amount of time doing these things, then that is a huge indication that something bigger is happening, Doctors say that an exercise addict will most likely prioritize a workout over social events and family or friends. They will also push themselves in the gym or at a fitness class even if they are sick or injured.
Beware Of The Risks
Trying to build muscle? Nope. That’s definitely not going to happen for you if all you’re doing is running yourself to the ground. When you exercise, you tear muscle fibers apart and they need adequate time to recover. Approximately 24 to 48 hours to rebuild. Ironically, your hard earned efforts in the gym will only work against you. Not only will you be destroying your muscle gains, but you’ll also increase your risk of injury! The most common injuries, in this case, are joint inflammation, damage to joints, loss of lean muscle mass in favor of fat storage (think ‘skinny-fat’), sprained ligaments, and torn muscles or tendons.
However, that’s just one aspect. In fact, your mental and emotional well-being takes a much harder knock and it isn’t as easy to repair. Experts state that the side effects of exercise addiction can cause tremendous anguish, low self-esteem, irritability, and isolation. Because you have such a high dependency on exercise, even the smallest change to the daily workout routine can cause unbearable anxiety. Moreover, withdrawing from one’s usual social life can cause feelings of major isolation and loneliness.
The tricky thing about this addiction is that you cannot simply abstain from it. Exercise is a huge part of living a healthy and happy lifestyle. Everybody needs it, in moderation. However, not to an excessive point where it becomes the be all and end all in your life. The best way to deal with the problem is to slowly wean from extreme durations, or frequency and intensity and seek therapy or prescribed medication.
The first step to treating the addiction is to actually accept and come to terms with the fact that you may have a problem. Of course, this is much easier said than done, because denial is often a large part of addiction, Beware of how you react when people ask you if you’re overdoing things.
The second step is to evaluate your relationship with exercise. You can test this by skipping a day of exercise or changing up your normal routine. If the thought of this is almost impossible or attempting to do so causes overwhelming anxiety, your best option would be to seek professional help.
Regular exercise is a vital component to living a balanced lifestyle and by no means should you avoid it. Moreover, if you are big into fitness and thoroughly enjoy it then continue to do so! However, if it starts to control the finer aspects of your daily life, then it might be time to sit back, reflect and then seek help.
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