Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Take exercise, for example. I absolutely love it. Together with blogging, it’s the thing that helped me the most to recover from my depression. I can totally see a difference when I have a busy week and no time to take even a short walk. My mood becomes darker and my inner critic stronger.
Exercising is so good for your physical and mental health. But, it can also destroy it just as easily. Here are 5 sure signs that your relationship with exercising has become unhealthy:
1. You exercise to compensate for what you have eaten
“I can eat the cookie. I’ll just have to run a mile afterwards to burn it off.” We say crap like this all the time. It’s so unhealthy. This is a mindset that demonizes food, which is dangerous. No food is ever bad for you, if eaten in moderation. It’s only when you eat too many cookies and too few veggies that problems start.
Besides, this compensation nonsense also ignores the fact that our bodies are genetially determined to weight within a certain weight range and have a certain shape. Even if we exercised 10 hours a day on an empty stomach, our bodies would eventually rebel and go back to a weight they’re happy with. That’s why so many diets fail.
So, eat the cookie. And eat your greens. And do a bit of exercise. Not because of the cookie. But, because it feels as good as the cookie tastes.
2. You exercise even when you’re sick or injured
“No, your legs aren’t that tired. Yes, you can breathe. Keep going.” Crap like this is all over social media and the internet. It’s called fitspo. Only, it doesn’t help you get fit. It helps you to end up in hospital.
Our bodies have limits. It may be good to challenge them SLOWLY, but when you insist on pushing through even when it’s clear your body can’t take it anymore, you’re only going to seriously hurt yourself. Recovery is a very important, and very much needed part of exercise. Don’t ignore it.
3. You feel anxious or guilty if you can’t exercise
We all have days when we can’t exercise. Maybe you’re extra busy at work. Or, maybe, your body needs rest because you ran an extra mile the day before. Nothing wrong with that.
Skipping a day doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re human. As long as exercise is a regular part of your weekly routine, that’s enough to keep you healthy. And, that’s all that matters.
4. You often cancel plans with friends so you can exercise
Ok, maybe we’ve been slacking off for the past couple of weeks and when our bestie calls us to go to the movies, we tell her we need to hit the gym instead. Totally fine. But, constantly cancelling plans with your friends so you can spend all your free time exercising? Totally, not fine.
Working out should be a vital part of your life, but it should never take it over completely. Exercise makes you healthy, but it’s friends that make life worth living. Don’t neglect them.
5. You feel worse after exercising
You know those happy chemicals your brain releases when you exercise, and that make you feel so good, you feel like you can take over the world? Well, if you don’t feel like that after a good workout, there’s a problem.
Maybe you’ve pushed your body to limit, and, rather than energize it, you’ve broken it. Or, maybe, you’re simply doing the wrong kind of exercise (which is any activity you hate) for the wrong reason (to fit into a size zero). How can your body be happy with that? Treat your body with care, ie move it in a way it loves because you enjoy it and without going to extremes, and it’ll reward you.
Do you have an unhealthy relationship with exercise?