When exercise becomes harmful

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Do you follow an extremely rigid fitness schedule and are you unwilling to make any compromise on the exercise front?

Do you exercise even if you are sick or injured? Do you keep checking your weight every day? Do you let social, work or party obligations pass, just so you can hit the gym? Then, chances are that you may be suffering from exercise addiction.

Regular exercise might be healthy but the trouble begins when individuals become so addicted to physical activity, that exercise becomes the most important priority in their lives. “If there is a rise in body temperature or fever due to over-exertion, it’s time to take stock of the situation. Exercising beyond a limit can not only affect your sleep, but can also increase your heartbeat and affect eating habits,” begins John C. Rajah, a fitness consultant.

So, why do people get addicted to exercise? “The primary reason is to look good. Be it Aamir Khan’s eight pack or Kareena Kapoor’s size-zero, celebrities have inspired youngsters to pump iron. The emphasis on appearances and fitness has increased leaps and bounds. After all, looks do matter,” says Akash N., a fitness freak.

Though these youngsters might go all out to work out, they do not know how much time they should spend on exercising and how. “The biggest hitch is that people do not understand that celebrities do not sport six packs or size zeroes forever. They gain or lose weight for a film and then get back to their normal shape. These fads are not good for health,” stresses Karthik N., fitness instructor.

“An average athletic male should have 14 percent body fat and an average female, 18 percent. This fat helps protect the internal organs and is good for the body. If the fat percentage is very low, an individual might be susceptible to internal injuries,” adds John.

So, is there something like an ideal exercise regimen? “Never push yourself. If you are able to do only ten push ups in a day, then limit yourself to ten. Do not exercise beyond your capacity.

Siding him is John who sums up, “Before you start exercising, check your medical records. Discuss with your fitness trainer what exercises will suit you. An ideal exercise regimen irrespective of age, consists of three types – cardiovascular activity to strengthen heart and lungs, muscular activity to tone up every muscle in the body and flexible activity to keep the body fit and agile. And last but not the least, eat right.”

Seven warning signs of exercise addiction

*Working out alone; isolated from others.
*Following a rigid exercise pattern.
*Exercising for more than two hours daily, without a break.
*Fixation on weight loss or calories burned.
*Exercising even when sick or injured.
*Exercising to the point of pain and beyond.
*Skipping work, class or social plans, for workouts.

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