Coaching Q&A “How much exercise is too much?”

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Obsessive exercise puts us at risk for many health problems,
ranging from muscular strains and bone fractures,
to amenorrhea and serious effects of dehydration and nutrient loss.

If you suffer with any form of exercise addiction,
here are some practical steps you can take to
reduce these behaviors and begin to change your thought processes:

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below a very important blog post on exercise by Ali Kerr. Here in Coaching Q&A Ali Answers the post pivotal question regarding exercise. We hope you’ll find the post helpful in your journey to healing and recovery.

 

 

 

Let’s talk about obsessive exercise.

I can remember when my eating disorder was at its worst,
and I would spend hours in the gym compensating
for food I had eaten or planned to eat.

I felt that a day off would cause weight gain,
or that I could lose muscle tone.

I worked so hard to be healthy and fit,
but now I can see that it wasn’t healthy at all.
It was excessive, and often felt like a prison
I couldn’t escape.

I watched healthy people around me enjoying active
lifestyles but taking full days or even weeks at a
time without training.

I watched those people refuel on things
like sports drinks and large amounts
of food that weren’t even considered healthy!

I couldn’t imagine that lack
of discipline. It seemed so counterproductive. 

What I’m describing here is
excessive exercise, sometimes called
exercise bulimia: compensating for food eaten
with intense exercise, or an obsession with
counting calories burned during activity.

Now that I’ve recovered, I eat and exercise intuitively.
Intuitive exercise isn’t often talked about as
much as intuitive eating, but it’s equally important.

Our bodies are designed to move and stay active
in order to be healthy, but they aren’t
designed for intensive training without breaks and proper refueling. 

Obsessive exercise puts us at risk for many health problems,
ranging from muscular strains and bone fractures,
to amenorrhea and serious effects of dehydration and nutrient loss.

If you suffer with any form of exercise addiction,
here are some practical steps you can take to
reduce these behaviors and begin to change your thought processes:

Step 1: See a physician.
By getting a blood workup, you can see if you’re deficient in any nutrients. You can also discuss bone density and cardiac health, which can be affected by compulsive exercise. Your doctor may also have other tests they want to run, or offer good advice about what a healthy amount of exercise looks like.

Step 2: Cut back on your tracking apps.
These can encourage unhealthy habits by rewarding your compulsive behaviors. Try removing them or simply logging in less often.

Step 3: Talk about it.
Tell a friend or family member that you feel like you need to cut back on your intensity or time spent working out. This may help bring the issue to light, and provide some accountability.

Step 4: Tune into your body.
Listen to what feels good and what doesn’t. Maybe hot yoga is too much for now. Perhaps your body does enjoy a good bike ride or a light jog. Just like we practice mindful eating, now you can learn to practice mindful exercise, where you’ll learn what feels good and what doesn’t.

Step 5: Build in rest days.
I cannot emphasize this enough. If a full rest day is too scary, start small with walking and yoga to replace a day of higher intensity exercise.

Step 6: Refuel properly.
Of course, we work on this throughout recovery. But if you spend much time at all exercising, don’t underestimate the importance of proper refueling.

Again, you don’t have to give up your favorite activities
in order to recover from compulsive exercise,
or exercise addiction. You just need to find a
reasonable and healthy routine, which is sustainable over time.

Instead of tearing down your body with too much exercise,
try to nourish your body with the proper amount of
activity you really enjoy. Your body will tell you
what feels good, and reward you with
good energy instead of constant fatigue and soreness.

I’d love to hear your story on
compulsive exercise, and if you find any of these tips to be helpful!

In love and light,

 

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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