Nutrition and exercise are two important foundations for good health. In fact, promotions abound that living a healthy lifestyle requires daily exercise. The “more is better” adage has become the norm leading many to wonder how much exercise is too much?
A person may have good intentions when they begin an exercise routine. They use fitness apps or wearable devices to keep track of their progress. These tools may drive them to compete with themselves and quickly spin their good intentions out of control.
Such extreme behaviors are not good, but rather a red flag for unhealthy behaviors. Exercising for one hour a day is not enough to satisfy their needs. Now, being healthy takes on a new meaning where excessive exercise takes over their life. They begin to neglect family, friends and other activities.
How Much Exercise is Too Much?
Understanding how much exercise is too much requires recognizing that a person may have other struggles. Frequently, excessive exercise is a symptom that the person has an eating disorder. If an eating disorder does not exist first, compulsive exercise may cause them to develop the illness.
Undergoing eating disorder treatment may reveal a person has anxiety or an obsessive-compulsive disorder. The person might begin limiting their food intake while simultaneously exercising a lot.
They use exercise as a form of self-medicating, which resembles the pattern of addiction. Too much exercise under these circumstances can lead to serious medical complications or death.
Warning Signs of Compulsive Exercise
A common hallmark that a person has compulsive exercise disorder is they prioritize exercising above everything else. They do not include exercising in a balanced lifestyle.
Their need to exercise significantly interferes with important areas. For them, an inappropriate setting or time to exercise does not exist. They may even continue exercising through an injury or medical complication.
Other warning sign that the person does not know how much exercise is too much include:
- Intense anxiety, guilt or depression if they cannot exercise
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Using exercise to purge calories
- Managing emotions by exercising
- Feeling discomfort in a state of rest or inactivity
Types of Treatment for Exercise Addiction
A person diagnosed with having a disordered relationship with exercise may need to refrain from all forms of physical activity. Although this is temporary, it can be extremely challenging for the person.
They will need counseling from qualified exercise disorder professionals. Therapy can help them develop healthier coping skills for the future. They gain tools to have a balanced life.
Some treatment facilities may also offer training by an exercise physiologist. They will help the person determine an appropriate duration and schedule for exercising.
Get in Touch with Steps to Recovery
If you or a loved one engages in unbalanced or unhealthy exercise, Steps to Recovery has the help you need. We help you understand how much exercise is too much and how it prevents you from living fully.
Our Pennsylvania addiction recovery services include:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
Compulsive exercise should not control your life. Contact us today at 267.719.8528 and hit reset on your health.