This morning I grudgingly crawled out of bed to go down to our building’s gym for my morning workout ritual. Once inside, I passed a woman who I see working out once a week or so, and she called out to me, “You go to the gym too much!” Not really knowing what to say to that, I smiled and said, “No, not at all.” I’m not really sure WHAT the right response would have been. Maybe just a polite smile? Maybe a little laugh? Maybe a cruel and judgmental, “No, actually YOU don’t go to the gym ENOUGH!” The reality is, it is all about perspective, isn’t it?
If you go to the gym for a 1/2 hour, 1 – 2 times a week, it might seem like too much if someone else goes for 1/2 an hour to 1 hour, 5 or 6 times a week. On the other hand, if you are regimented, it may seem like a person who goes once or twice a week isn’t enough. Personally, I tend to get in 3 days or so of cardio and 2 to 3 days of strength training. That said, I’d hardly consider this ‘too much.’
There IS such a thing, however, as overdoing it. And believe it or not, exercising too much can be both physically and mentally damaging. Here are a couple of ways to know if you are overdoing it:
- Excuses are Unacceptable. Sure, it is great to push through and exercise, even if you feel a little tired or under the weather, but if you take this to an extreme, it can be detrimental. Further, if you feel guilty when you miss your routine, you may have unrealistic expectations. If you are injured, have a fever or haven’t been getting sufficient sleep, you have a right to take a day off. Life happens, schedules get crazy, and sometimes, we just don’t ‘feel’ like exercising. Cut yourself a break once in awhile.
- Exercise is an Obligation. Although you may not always find exercise to be the most fun activity, it shouldn’t become an obligation. Exercise has a lot of benefits and if you are doing it at appropriate intervals, you should enjoy it.
- Weight becomes an Obsession. If you weigh yourself several times a day and obsess over a pound or two here or there, you might need to adjust your attitude. Exercise has a lot to offer, beyond weight loss. Focus on you cardiovascular health, your muscle mass and your energy levels instead.
- Calories Become the Enemy. If every time you consume food, you calculate how much exercise it will take to burn off the calories, you are probably obsessively exercising. Further, if you don’t like to relax and sit still because you are afraid that you aren’t burning any calories, that isn’t good either.
- Dramatic Weight Loss. If you have been overweight and started exercising, it will most likely result in weight loss. That said, if you are losing more than three pounds a week, you probably are pushing yourself too hard.
- Lack of Diversity. If you tend to work out two or more times a day, give up activities you love, turn down time with friends and neglect responsibilities for exercise, you need to slow down and take a step back. There is more to life than just exercise. Life is about enjoying many things.
- Constantly Injury Prone. If you are constantly injuring yourself or find that you have a lot of chronic pain, you could be overworking muscles and/or joints. Rest is just as important as exercise itself. You need to give your body the time it needs to recover from the exercise you do.
- Loss of Energy. Although exercising can give you more energy, if you overdo it, you will most likely feel tired and worn out from pushing your body too much.
Make sure that exercise is balanced and you take a healthy approach to your workouts. Working out more than an hour a day, seven days a week is most likely too much. Make sure you are eating enough to provide your body with the nutrients it needs as well.
Have you ever obsessed about exercise?