When it comes to being healthy, there are a lot of factors involved. Diet and fitness are just two of the key pieces that make up a healthy lifestyle, with finding a healthy balance between enjoying life and practicing healthy habits making up the third.
For some, that last, seemingly simple ingredient can be the most difficult to achieve as temptation to go overboard in extreme dieting and fitness routines can become too much to overpower, leaving some addicted to exercise or struggling with disordered eating.
In a recent article from The Today Show, Geralyn Coopersmith – the national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute – said that there’s danger in overdoing it when it comes to exercise because it leaves the body battered and bruised and opens the door for other unhealthy behaviors.
“Exercise is like a drug,” she said. “If you don’t have enough, you get no benefits. If you have too much, you have problems.”
One of the primary risks of over-exercising is being left more susceptible to injury. Just a few of the most common injuries include shin splints, heel spurs, and tendonitis. Some common indicators of a workout routine that’s too intense are extreme fatigue, irritability, moodiness, an elevated resting heart rate and fever.
Another common indicator that you might be overdoing it is if you’re working out more than once a day. California-based group fitness instructor Amy Dixon says that ‘if you’re working out morning and night, you’re over-trained and your body is getting beat up.’
Dixon said she had one client who would come in before her spin class to workout on the treadmill for an hour, then take her class, and afterwards she’d ride longer before getting on the elliptical for almost another hour. This, she says, is grounds for addiction.
But it’s not just your everyday gym rats who are inclined to become exercise addicts. Fitness professionals are in danger of doing so, too. “A lot of group fitness instructors fall into that category because it’s our job. I know instructors who teach over 30 classes a week” she said.
But beyond just surface symptoms, Dixon says workout addiction usually points to something deeper. And it’s not uncommon for over-trained individuals to be referred to psychologists for professional counseling.
To avoid overdoing it, Coopersmith recommends working very intensely some days, and opting for a lighter workout on others. Doing this, she says, is a good way to avoid injury and keep the body healthy and strong for a lifetime of activity. “We’re a super sized society,” she said. “But we shouldn’t be super sizing exercise.”
We think this is great advice, as overdoing it can be just as dangerous as doing too little. So be sure to use this insight to find a healthy balance between the two in your routine.