In order to see results, hitting the gym and eating right are essential. However, there is a fine line between being dedicated and wanting to get healthier, and being obsessed with being in the gym and working out.
It sounds a little strange, but there really is a bad kind of good habit, and exercise addiction may just be one. Having the words “exercise” and “addiction” uttered in the same sentence, doesn’t seem like a bad thing, however scientific research has shown that those that suffer from addictive behaviors, such as drinking or smoking, are more susceptible to becoming addicted to the endorphin rush most gym-goers are supplied with. These people are especially at risk if they are in the process of kicking one of these other dangerous addictive habits.
So, how do you know if you’ve crossed over into your exercise becoming an addiction? Well, the daily recommended amount of exercise for an active individual is around 30 minutes. Granted, most workouts last at least 45 minutes to an hour, which in this case is fine. Anything excessively beyond the range of this time frame begins to become obsessive. Being addicted to something also means that the individual has become or is dependent upon the feelings of euphoria that are a result of the exercise.
Exercise addiction isn’t actually officially defined under medical terms, but upon first glance it would appear to be a maladaptive behavior. This means that it is used to reduce anxiety or feelings of sadness in order to achieve happiness and sometimes includes neglecting the body’s natural need to rest. This over working of the body and the lack of rest needed to build muscle, deprives the muscles time to heal and for the body to take a breather. Excessive exercise can actually come with some serious negative side effects like increased susceptibility to injury due to over stimulation of muscle tissue, joints, ligaments and tendons, as well as constant exhaustion, headaches and mood swings.
This being said, knowing your limits is a good way to avoid damaging your body. Exercising about three times a week is normal, anything above that should be light weight and stress free on the body. Outside of being a professional athlete, nobody should put their body through so much with so little time to rest.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.
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