Here’s How You Can Teel Your Relationship with Fitness Is Actually Unhealthy!

Here’s How You Can Teel Your Relationship with Fitness Is Actually Unhealthy!

Of course, exercising regularly is generally really beneficial for your health, be it physical or mental and is mostly considered a good habit to have or cultivate!

However, that is not to say that the gym is always the best option for you.

As it turns out, working out can sometimes be more harmful than helpful!

That’s right! Sometimes the goals you set for yourself in terms of physical activity can take over other aspects of your life and that should never be the case.

Instead, it should always be simply considered one out of many tools that can help people stay strong, happy and have some fun!

Unfortunately, however, because of societal pressure, sometimes people think of the gym through the lens of how they view their bodies and how they would want to change physically.

That being said, it is really important to always explore your motivations when it comes to exercise in order to make sure that the habit does not become harmful to your mental health.

It’s no secret that constant movement, regardless of the form it may take, is a big part of wellness so the conclusion is definitely not that you should avoid it altogether.

Instead, the main point is that you should try your best to evaluate your relationship with exercise, making sure it’s a healthy one.

Integrating enough movement into your life is able to lower your risk of developing an array of different health problems such as heart attacks, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, exercise has plenty of positive effects on one’s mental health as well, people being able to use daily workouts to navigate negative emotions and manage everyday stress.

Licensed clinical psychologist, L. Kevin Chapman, explains that “Exercise decreases anxiety, increases optimism and leads to an improved quality of life For significant emotional symptoms, exercise is a useful addition to therapy, not a useful replacement. For general stress, exercise is terrific.”

As for how exercise is beneficial to your mental health, here are the main positive effects it can have on your psyche:

– It can boost your confidence and overall mood,

– Releases endorphins that relieve your stress.

– It’s a great way to spend time with your inner circle,

– Keeps you all energized and focused throughout the day.

But, as mentioned before, working out is not the only tool you should rely on if you want to improve your mental health.

In reality, there is such a thing as an unhealthy relationship with working out.

More precisely, some people may develop a dependence on the gym, turning it into a rather destructive coping mechanism that can really affect their mental health.

Chapman mentions that “Exercise can also be a form of emotional avoidance if done in excess. In other words, if I use exercise or other ‘prosocial’ behavior to avoid experiencing of anxiety, this could reinforce the idea that anxiety’s dangerous and the only way that I can manage anxiety is through exercise.”

These things can happen without the person even realizing and they are really difficult to spot which is why it may be useful to have a general guide that will provide you with a few important warning signs letting you know you have an unhealthy relationship with the gym.

  1. When you skip the gym, you feel guilty.

It is totally normal to skip some gym days and there is no reason why you should be too hard on yourself about it.

However, if you often find yourself feeling guilty or anxious over not going to the gym when that happens, this may point towards an unhealthy relationship with exercise.

It’s important for you to never overestimate the negative consequences of missing a workout or two from time to time and most importantly, be kind to yourself no matter what!

Unfortunately, for many people, working out is linked to social standards which is why not doing it constantly may feel shameful because of not reaching preset goals.

Of course, low levels of guilt are normal as well since we’re human and can’t always help feeling the pressure to get fit but, severe guilt that is ongoing is truly a cause for concern.

In fact, it’s more likely that you will end up building a much healthier relationship with the world of fitness if you manage to not let it control your emotions.

  1. You never take any breaks from going to the gym.

Another pretty clear sign that you may have an unhealthy relationship with fitness is if you often push yourself too far regardless of whether you’re sick or even injured.

In fact, overtraining is rather common among gym-goers who push themselves to do even high-intensity workouts without the proper recovery time.

Naturally, this habit puts a lot of strain on your body in general but, depriving your body of the energy it needs can also lead to dysfunctional adaptations in your immune system, hormones and metabolism!

Basically, it is important to allow yourself to rest so that your body gets the chance to recover and your muscles get enough time to grow.

Of course, consistency is also essential but there should always be a balance.

If you don’t want to sit on the couch and binge your favorite show during those rest days, you can still remain active by doing some gentle stretching or going for a short walk.

  1. You’re trying to control your body with exercise.

To find out for sure whether your relationship with fitness is toxic or not, start by considering the reason you’re exercising in the first place.

If you’re trying to be healthier, that’s perfectly fine but what if the real answer has a lot more to do with you wanting to change the way your body looks?

Are you actually chasing an unrealistic standard and destroying your mental health in the process?

Using the gym purely to control your body can become an obsession that comes with feelings of anxiety, exercise addiction and even body dysmorphia.

A telling sign that this may be your situation is if you tend to increase your workout load after eating a bigger meal than usual to make up for the calories you took in.

There is nothing wrong with setting up weight loss goals for yourself.

However, make sure they are achievable and don’t cause significant disappointment when they don’t come quickly enough – or ever.

  1. You use exercise as a replacement for therapy.

Yes, fitness can reduce everyday stressors and many people use it to relieve their anxiety, which is not only fine but also a habit worthy of encouragement.  

However, like pretty much anything else, it can also be harmful in some cases, particularly if you use exercise as a coping mechanism for dealing with more serious problems.

Think of whether or not this habit is actually making you even more distressed or if it tends to impair your normal function in any way.

According to Chapman, if the answer is yes, “that implies that additional assistance may be in order.”

In other words, in some situations, you may benefit much more from therapy than from going to the gym for that short-term release of endorphins.

Some challenges in life need professional help and not a personal trainer and acknowledging that can really help you in the long run.

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