9 Signs You’re Exercising Too Much

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Runner man resting with music after running training for triathlon ironman on Hawaii. Male fitness model and triathlete relaxing looking with earphones listening to music. From Big Island, Hawaii, USA

Too much of a good thing can be bad.

Here’s an interesting paradox. Many people struggle with starting exercise routines. But of those who manage to do it, a good percentage may also suffer from what’s called compulsive exercise. Those are the people who spend every free minute at the gym, or at least lacing up their trainers and running through every block possible. They don’t have rest days. Every day is an opportunity to go to dance class or to swim or to hike or to bike. You get the drift.

For these people, the love of exercise and the drive to stay healthy is already swinging dangerously towards addiction. And any healthy activity taken to excess can end up being harmful.

But how can you tell if you’re already dealing with an addictive behavior? Could you just really love sweating it out?

Here are the signs you may be overdoing it.

  1. You feel guilty and depressed if you failed to exercise every day.
  2. You judge your days as good or bad depending on how much exercise you managed to do.
  3. Exercise leaves you feeling sick and tired instead of alert and energized.
  4. You are getting sick more frequently and take longer to recover.
  5. You get cranky more often.
  6. Your self-esteem and self-worth is tied closely to how much you exercise.
  7. You can’t get enough sleep.
  8. You are sore for days at a time.
  9. You exercise to compensate for eating.

If you found yourself nodding to one or more of the statements above, exercise may have just become a problem for you.  Don’t worry, though, there are ways to get back into a healthier relationship with exercise.


Do Away with the Rigid Schedule

People who exercise too much usually have a strict exercise schedule they follow. It certainly helps towards achieving their goals. But when exercise starts to become a problem, the rigid schedule can just be detrimental.

Try not to follow the schedule for a couple of days or so. Instead, listen to your body before working out. Try to see what feels fun and nurturing for your body, not what would burn the most calories.

Try Something New

Many people who over-exercise run through activities that leave them feeling tired and beat up. The goal is to feel strong and powerful. But these grim sessions will just end up leaving them drained and depleted. When that happens, it’s time to try something new. Find an activity that your body enjoys.

Find Meaningful Motivation and Inspiration

What is your motivation for exercising? Is it to burn calories? Lose weight? Change how your body looks? Unfortunately, if these are your only motivating factors, you’ll never be happy.

That’s because the moment you stop exercising, it’s inevitable that your physical appearance will change again. So instead of focusing on just these things, try to achieve clarity and creativity. Aim for more energy. This will help you view exercise in a more healthy manner.

Exercising may be a healthy habit. But only if done properly and in moderation. Many people suffer from a lack of exercise. But it’s easy to get lost in exercising once you do manage to get going. When it becomes an addiction, when you’re doing too much too intensely and too frequently, it’s time to stop and reassess why you exercise in the first place.

Remember, as the intensity of exercise increases, the intensity can be diminished. There’s no need to keep going at the same rate if you’re exerting more effort. Reducing the frequency of sessions will give your body time to recover in between sessions and help maintain your exercise at a productive level.