You’ve probably heard-many times-from health teachers, magazines, your parents, and your friends that exercise is good for you. And it is. It keeps you trim, reduces stress, and fights off heart disease and other forms of health problems.
However, exercise can turn into too much of a good thing. When exercise and the need to exercise starts to control your life, it can be a bad thing. Too much exercise can damage ligaments, cartilage, and joints and can put added stress on the heart. When it becomes an obsession or starts to control your life, it’s important to get in control.
How can I tell if exercise is controlling my life?
If you’re worried that exercise or the need to exercise might be controlling your life, consider the following signs. If you answer yes to more than one of these, you have have an unhealthy obsession with exercise:
- You won’t skip a workout, even if you’re tired, sick, or injured
- You feel obligated to exercise and feel guilty or anxious if you don’t get the chance or skip it.
- You make up for overeating or missing a work out by doing extra
- You’re losing weight, even if you don’t need or want to.
- You skip hanging out with friends, family, homework, or even school to exercise.
Many times, people who let exercise to control their life have deeper problems, such as an eating disorder or depression. However, you can still exercise and stay fit without it controlling your life. The following tips will help you to stay fit while balancing out a healthy life:
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you to maintain your weight and stay fit without resorting to excessive amounts of exercise. Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and lean proteins should replace refined flours like white bread and cakes and fatty cuts of meat, like steaks and burgers.
- Set aside a specific time for exercise each day. When you set aside 30 minutes or an hour each day, you will be able to fit exercise in because it’s a priority. In addition, having a set time you know you will be working out will ease your mind, so you won’t have to be controlled by the need to get to the gym.
- Be realistic. Know that skipping a workout or not exercising as long as usual is not likely to cause significant weight gain or reduce your fitness level. If you fall off track, just go right back to your scheduled workouts, or do them when you have the time.
How much exercise do I need?
The best way to stay fit without letting exercise control your life is to be informed. You don’t need to work out for hours every day in order to be in good physical shape. Experts recommend those who are working to maintain fitness strive to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3-6 times a week. For optimal fitness and weight maintenance, they recommend 60 minutes.
There are many ways you can fit an hour of exercise in a day without spending all night at the gym. Join a sport or fitness club at school, or play tennis, basketball, or ride bikes with your friends after school. You can also go for jogs around the track after school. The less you worry about exercise and do your best to get in an hour or so every day, the healthier you’ll feel and look.