Are You Addicted to Exercise? 4 Signs You’re Taking Fitness Too Far

We all know that avoiding exercise is bad for our health. But the opposite is also true. It’s possible to exercise too much — and the mental and physical consequences can range from fatigue to heart trouble and more.

Whether you’re trying to get in shape, lose weight, or improve your mental health, it’s important to keep moderation in mind. Even an obsession with fitness that doesn’t escalate to an addition can negatively impact your long-term health.

Here are some possible signs you’re taking your workouts a little too seriously.

You’re in constant pain

Exercise pain

Exercise pain | CentralITAlliance/iStock/Getty Images

You have to stress your muscles over time to continue seeing results. A small amount of burning, soreness, or fatigue during or after a good workout is completely normal. Most of the time, it means you’re working your muscles just enough to make them stronger.

But if you put too much stress on your muscles through constant, intense exercise, they might become tender or swollen. You might feel sharp pain while exercising or experience pain past the normal two-day window following a rough workout. This is not normal. Continuing to work out (“pushing through the pain”) could result in a torn muscle or ligament, or a stress fracture.

The same workouts keep getting harder

Getting fit is a slow and steady process — as long as you keep your workout routine consistent. Over time, you tend to increase the intensity or distance of your workout to continue challenging your muscles and keep them strong.

But if running three miles suddenly feels impossible when it was once a breeze — or 30 minutes of cycling leaves you winded when it never has before — you might be overdoing it. It’s completely normal to vary the intensity of your workouts so that you push yourself harder on some days than you do on others. Every workout doesn’t have to leave you exhausted.

You exercise every day

Exercise

Exercise | iStock.com/jacoblund

When it comes to fitness, it might seem like more equals better. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight or train for something. But just because you work out every day doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you want any faster. In fact, not giving your body time to recover can actually do more harm than good.

One rest day between workouts gives your muscles plenty of recovery time. You’re not going to “lose progress” by taking one day off. You’ll actually make more progress in the long-term if you take at least one rest day per week.

You’re not having fun

Yes, workouts are supposed to be fun — most of the time. People who have a hard time sticking to an exercise routine often struggle because they either keep trying to do workouts they don’t enjoy or push themselves too hard.

If you’re only doing it because you feel like you have to, you’re doing it wrong. Make it a point to exercise three times or more, but don’t stress if you can’t do any more than that. And always choose an activity you’re going to enjoy while doing it — even if it doesn’t burn the most calories.

Physical fitness is an important part of everyone’s short- and long-term health. But your life doesn’t have to revolve around your workouts. Push yourself, stay consistent, and have fun. But don’t take things to the extreme.

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