Over-Exercising is Stressing You Out in More Ways Than…

I often see women who take my barre class (aka leg day workout) as their warm-up or cool down to their intense spin or step classes. Or they think they still need to go run on the treadmill afterwards to “get their cardio in” because surely 55 minutes of squats, lunges, planks, core and weight lifting can’t be enough. *face palm*

But here’s the deal: Spending multiple hours and doing cardio every day to lose weight is so unnecessary! Aside from the strain this type of schedule can put on your life and relationships, it simply isn’t good for your body to dedicate multiple hours at the gym.

Did you know that over-exercising is perceived as physical STRESS to your body, and stress causes your body to hold onto fat? Much like the side-effects of emotional stress, your body naturally flips into “fight-or-flight” mode and stores extra fat to ensure you’re properly fueled should danger erupt. We aren’t meant to live life with that much cortisol coursing through our bodies! I think we often chalk stress up only to drama in our lives, but it can be self-inflicting if we’re over-exercising throughout the week in the hopes of losing weight.

The best approach you can take to fitness is finding what movement brings you joy. What do you truly enjoy doing? Just because your neighbor set up her garage as a CrossFit gym, doesn’t mean you have to achieve health. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to go to Zumba. You don’t have to take barre class. But if you love doing any of those things or something else, then that is what you should be doing! Exercise shouldn’t be punishment. It should be something you willingly do for your enjoyment and therefore your health.

Where are you finding joy in movement? Let me know in the comments below!

Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps chronic dieters heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image. She is also the creator of Gain Wellness, a 5-week behavioral change program to unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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