Written by Deirdre
Not too long ago I wrote an article about dieting and the possible consequences of it. Like I mentioned it’s often, if not always, coupled with regular exercise. Well, just like dieting, exercising can get a little out of control. Yes, yes, exercise is wonderful. You feel healthier, happier, and motivated (I hope), but like everything else in this world too much of it can have the exact opposite effects.
Naturally, those who have an obsessive personality (ahem… like me) are more susceptible to exercise addiction. In a way, exercise can be like a drug: once you start, you feel the need to keep doing it.
For athletes, especially professional ones, exercise is a must. They have to build up their cardio, strength, and many other aspects of their body to become almost inhuman. Think of Michael Phelps… you know, some athlete who won a few Olympic medals. Around times of competition, he says he trains for five or six hours six days a week.
But one of his main tips for training is taking an adequate amount of time to rest and recover. The best way to benefit from heavy, intense training sessions is actually to recover from them. In fact, ask any athlete you know; they’ll tell you that recovery is just as important as conditioning. You won’t get anywhere if all you do is push yourself past the limit every single time you work out.
One without compulsive athleticism could work out just as much as one with the addiction, but it all just depends on how exercise is viewed. If you find yourself depending on exercise, making it your main priority, setting unrealistic goals, ignoring injuries and signs of fatigue, then you may have exercise addiction.
If you do find yourself or someone else with these symptoms, please don’t ignore them. Take my usual advice and go talk to someone about it because working out for hours every single day every single month can do quite a lot of damage to you, not just physically but socially and psychologically as well. You could damage your joints, end up neglect your relationships, or even develop depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder.
Shall I remind you of the times when I had the addiction? My depression got even worse, I developed an eating disorder, and I damaged a lot of relationships. I now also have bad knees and a bad back. I’m twenty and I’m basically like an old person… and not even the kind who scales Everest.
So just try to be mindful of yourself. Exercise is supposed to be beneficial and fun, not a detrimental obligation.