A Healthy Mind, a Healthy Body: How Does Excessive Exercise Affect Us Psychologically?

    Physical exercise is extremely beneficial for physical and mental health. However, if excesses are exceeded, it can have serious repercussions onphysical and mental health

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    For the reason above, we spoke with SaúlChacaliaza, a psychologist focused on the study of physical activity and sport, from the Institute of Sport (IPD) and explained how a lifestyle characterized by excessive physical activity affects us emotionally.

    The expert mentions that, first of all, the concepts of physical activity, exercise and sport must be distinguished:

    Physical activity- It can be from the mere fact of walking, going for a walk with the dog, playing with the children, which implies caloric expenditure,

    Exercise- It is a systematized activity with the objective of developing a specific muscle group.

    Sport- It is considered as a regulated physical activity, which has or is universal, that is, it has regulations for all countries in different environments and contexts.

    Signals that the mind gives us to recognize excessive exercise

    If it is a person who does not do a sport competitively, but for aesthetics or wants to lose weight, there are some mental indicators that tell us that we are committing an excess. Chacaliaza mentions some of them:

    Exercise becomes the most important activity in life- It refers to those people who isolate themselves from their friends, no longer spend time with their family, or no longer have a life outside of exercise.

    Exercise is the only method to generate satisfaction in oneself- Just to be happy or satisfied “I need to exercise”, the person has replaced all other hobbies or pastimes for the happiness that sport generates.

    They feel the need to increase the intensity of the exercise more and more- Generally, you start with a rhythm, but little by little we feel the need to go for more, since the initial exercise is no longer satisfying or filling.

    Rest is not allowed- When doing an exercise routine as a complement, you should rest well, since the muscles, in order to increase, must have a period in which they do not make effort. This excess can cause the person to be constantly injured.

    Mood swings- The person may feel irritable, because he cannot exercise one day. “Sometimes, exercise addiction is related to Eating Disorders (TCA). There is a term called vigorexia, it implies increasing muscle mass to generate or reach a body image that is often distorted, many times this excess begins with this or another eating disorder”, he adds.

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    Tips for maintaining stable mental health when exercising

    To finish, Chacaliaza gives us some tips to train in a mentally healthy way:

    Ask yourself what the objective is when training- A high-performance athlete will not have the same objective as a person who is going to do physical activity or sport recreationally. In this case, it is best not to time the activity or not to do it as a performance activity but doing, more than anything else, for enjoyment.

    Go at your own pace- Many tend to compare themselves to other people who have started exercising before and want to look the same way. This ends up generating greater stress that really should not be, since the purpose of the exercise is to relax.

    Take breaks- We live in a performance society, where the whole pace of life is accelerated, therefore, if you have other activities besides exercise, there should be breaks where the body relaxes.

    Exercising progressively- It is not right to start exercising abruptly, but to start with a low weight and gradually increase it to see better results.

    Choose an exercise that generates interest- The exercise that is carried out must generate interest, because if there is not, it will not be done that there is no enjoyment of that exercise. There are different options to go to the gym where various muscles of the body are also stimulated.

    Resonance Costa Rica
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