In a world full of fitbits, exercise apps, and a general health craze it is hard to believe that there is such a thing as too much exercise. Chloe McLeod accredited practicing dietitian and sports dietitian states in an article on the HuffPost: “From my perspective, the positive impact on mental health is one of the best health benefits of physical activity. When you’re physically active your body releases more hormones, which can help with improving mood, particularly serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone. Then there are the physical benefits of exercise. Other than that, training is good for cardiovascular health, can help improve metabolism, manage weight, manage blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and manage stress and its free. If you want to spend money on a gym or a class, go right ahead. But you don’t have to”.
It is true that exercise does have all these and many more positive factors to it. However, as the saying goes: “Too much of anything can make you sick.” A sports psychologist at the University of Birmingham, England Ian Cockerill states: “Healthy exercisers organize their exercise around their lives, whereas dependents organize their lives around their exercise. Excessive exercise, like extreme diets, attracts people who feel an extreme need for control in their lives. Like weight reduction, improved athletic performance is readily observable.”
So, when exercise turns out to be the primary goal of your life and takes the form of an addiction, this should serve as a red flag and a sign that maybe you should bring it down a bit. According to the WebMD: “Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity is enough to help prevent things like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Exercise addicts tend to think that a two-hour run makes them four times as healthy. It doesn’t work that way.”
Jessica Spendlove, a sports dietitian, and a nutrition consultant state: “Over-exercising can cause an energy imbalance (between the amount of energy consumed and the amount of energy expended during exercise). If you’re in an energy deficit for an extended period, it can cause many health issues. Too much exercise can lead to injuries, exhaustion, and hormonal imbalance.”
Therefore, the next time you feel that you are pushing your body to the extreme remember that sometimes less means more and even excessive exercising can cause you severe damage.
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