Do You Need More Fitness-Life Balance?
If you’re a fitness buff, you have a passion for pushing yourself to the max and testing your limits. But when does pushing become too much? And how do your fitness goals fit into a more holistic plan for self-care?
Fitness is an incredible way to build confidence and self-esteem — not to mention the body you’ve always dreamed of. But for some people, exercise can also become an addiction. Exercise addiction is when working out becomes a compulsion, something you have to do even when you’re injured or have other responsibilities that should take priority. For people with an exercise addiction, working out stops being an enjoyable release and turns into something that must be done at all costs.
Some people may be more prone to exercise addiction than others, particularly those with a history of addictive behavior. For example, while fitness can promote self-healing in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, there’s a risk that the person in recovery will transfer their addictive behaviors from one habit to the other. However, that doesn’t mean exercise should be avoided. It just means you need to balance the role of fitness in your life.
Not sure what fitness-life balance looks like? These tips will help you out.
Schedule Rest Days
Stop thinking of rest days as wasted days. Even Bodybuilding.com agrees that rest days are essential for building stronger muscles and improving athletic performance. Not only that, but there’s a lot you can accomplish on rest days. When you don’t hit the gym, you have extra time to spend with your family, connect with friends, knock a few items off your to-do list, and engage in non-fitness hobbies you enjoy.
Get In Tune With Your Body
Not every workout needs to be running hard or lifting heavy. And ignoring your body when it’s clearly telling you “No” is a great way to overdo it and end up with an injury. Instead of pushing through the pain, listen when your body is telling you to stop. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the workout. Instead, opt for movements that work with your body, not against it. If you spend an hour doing yoga when you planned on doing burpees, it’s not progress lost. It’s doing what your body needs today so you can give those burpees your all once you’re ready for it.
Reframe Your Fitness Goals
What motivates you to work out? Is it losing weight, getting rid of stomach flab, or curbing cravings? While these aren’t bad goals to have, they do encourage you to think about your body in negatives. Instead of focusing on what exercise can add to your life, they point your mind toward the things you’re unhappy with. Instead of thinking about what fitness can help you lose, focus on what it can help you gain: a stronger, more capable body, confidence with your clothes off, and the energy to conquer each and every day.
Adopt Other Self-Care Habits
Fitness alone doesn’t make a healthy mind and body. If you want to look, feel, and be your best, you need to take care of every aspect of your well-being. That means you need to get plenty of sleep and eat well, but it also means taking care of your mental, emotional, and social well-being. Your fitness hobby shouldn’t take up so much of your time that your relationships are neglected, your work suffers, and your mental health is put on the back burner. And men, if you think self-care is only for women, think again — as The Good Men Project points out, everyone feels and performs better when they make self-care a priority.
Fitness is powerful. It not only build stronger bodies, but it makes our minds more capable and resilient too. But take it too far, and it could do the exact opposite. Just like all things in life, a healthy fitness regimen is about balance. If your dedication to exercise is causing other aspects of your life to fall out of place, it’s time to step back and see if these strategies can help.
Author: Sheila Olson