I have to admit that I sometimes find it amusing when someone knows I am a trainer and proceeds to elaborate on the hours that they spend in the gym. One example was a few years back when I was introduced to a nice young women, who proceeded to tell me that she went to the gym twice a day, an hour each time. Unless this second hour was spent in the jacuzzi or making up for lost time due to chatting with fellow gym-goers during the earlier timeslot, I would be leary. Instead of being impressed by her exuberant enthusiasm for working out, my thoughts were that one of those hours might be better spent in a counseling office. Excessive exercising is unsafe and a sign of other deep-rooted problems. So, the question remains how many ticks on the clock should pass before you head for the locker room? And what compels a person to go way overboard in their exercise routine?
First off, if you are one of our valued clients, you already know that the Mom Looks Great program utilizes the thirty to forty-five minute workout. If you have even an inkling of exercise information in your noodle, you atleast know that even twenty minutes a day can benefit your heart. So why are some people intent on doing more, especially when there are serious consequences?
The most common problem with over-exercising is injury to muscles and joints. The idea of regular exercise is to appropriately stress the muscle during exercise. This stress places small tears in the muscle, which upon repair, grow in size and strength, also known as hypertrophy. When the muscle is over-exercised, it goes beyond what is appropriate and can actually damage the muscle. Common areas of injury are legs, feet, back and shoulders as well as joints problems that include knees, ankles, elbows and wrists. This can lead to a lifetime of recurring injuries.
Another negative consequence to over-exercising is the compulsion that usually accompanies it. Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and other body starving diet tactics are dangerous enough. When you add an addiction of too much exercise to an already detrimental dieting tendency, you are left with the possibility of heart damage from insufficient fuel and nutrients to sustain the workout. While the aforementioned health issues are serious enough, an individual can also develop frequent headaches, loss of coordination and various stomach problems.
Over-exercising is not a physical disorder. While it will affect you physically, it is more of a symptom of depression or other mental illness. And if you think about it, over-exercising, eating disorders, feelings of inadequacy due to poor body image, poor judgment when evaluating priorities are all symptoms of depression. The bottom line here is when your choices begin to compromise your health, happiness or safety it is time to seek out effective counseling.
A lifestyle incorporating exercise is nothing but beneficial in many aspects. People exercise with a goal in mind whether it is to feel better, defuse stress or build muscle. Luckily, in addition to using an appropriate weight (intensity) during your workout, over-exercising can easily be detected with a simple time evaluation. I advise my clients not to go beyond one hour a day five days a week in a formal gym-type setting; and that is extremely generous. It is also easily controlled when you follow a specific routine. With the Mom Looks Great Fitness Program, you are guided to work different parts of your body throughout the week and have a variety of activities within your exercise regime. And just for good measure, remember that you cannot possibly overdo it by simply strolling your baby in the park or games of tag with your preschoolers. These forms of exercise are most welcome any time.
About The Author
Sherri Dodd is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant. She is also the creator and author of Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Post Partum Women. With over fifteen years of exercise experience, she is dedicated to a life of fitness as well as encouraging others to seek healthy habits and a better quality of life.