Exercise is Important – But Not Too Much!

Exercise (c)  the Well blog/NYTimes.com
Exercise (c) the Well blog/NYTimes.com

Submitted by Bedford Youth and Family Services

In this day and age we are continuously trying to improve upon ourselves. Fortunately, technology provides us with the resources that allow us to better ourselves with the click of a button. Want to learn how to complete a home improvement project on your own? There are countless apps available to help you to achieve this task. But what about the websites and apps you have seen to track exercise and calories lost or help monitor your food intake by having you write down everything you’ve eaten for the entire day? They have you set weight loss goals and the only way to keep your goal if you’ve reached your food limit is to exercise more.

Yes, it’s important to make time in your day for exercise. Exercising regularly has numerous benefits for both your body and your mind. In our world today, it seems that 5K’s, color runs and marathons are the trend. But where do you do draw the line between being healthy and over-exercising? There are many telling signs that you have unhealthy exercise habits, including:

  • You exercise for the wrong reasons. You ate a huge meal and feel guilty about it and the only way you can reconcile it in your mind is to hit the pavement and spend a few hours burning off the calories you ate.
  • Exercise becomes a compulsive behavior. You are often driven by body dissatisfaction or obsessions about your weight.
  • Your desire to exercise completely trumps your other commitments which can result in canceled plans with friends or even exercising when you are ill.
  • You feel extreme guilt when you miss a workout. You double your efforts to make up for it the next time you exercise.

Websites like MyFitnessPal.com or the RunKeeper app are meant to help individuals lead a healthy lifestyle, but what about those who start with the goal of losing 10 pounds and become obsessed? It’s easy to develop tunnel vision once you start counting calories and eating disorder awareness advocates are concerned that this could easily turn into anorexia or bulimia.

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. Bedford Youth and Family Services (BYFS) offers free, anonymous online screenings at https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/BYFS to help assess whether any symptoms are consistent with those of an eating disorder. Take a few minutes to track your mental health symptoms—it’s just as important as your physical health!

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