In high school, you could find me running track and cross country all year round, through oppressive heat and full-blown snow storms. Afterwards, I would head home to eat all the bread I could manage, all while staying rail thin. Exercise has always been a huge pillar in my life, and has seriously shaped my work ethic and attitude.
Since becoming a Health Coach, I’ve discovered that one of the most important components of a balanced lifestyle is ensuring that I’m not exercising too much. Appropriate duration and intensity vary from person to person, but it’s important to stay open to the idea that less may be more — try to tune into your body and follow your gut.
Many people, especially those in the United States, wear intense workout habits as a badge of honor. Use these checkpoints to make sure your efforts aren’t working against you:
Are you exhausted even after eight hours of sleep or more?
When your body is fatigued from too much exercise, it doesn’t get the chance to repair and reboot. Try reducing the amount of time you exercise, or decreasing intensity, until your sleep and energy is in balance, and you feel alert throughout the day.
Are you always a little sore?
It’s good to feel sore after exercise, but if it’s been more than three days and the pain is persisting, it may be time to take a real break. Try a gentle form of yoga to stretch out your muscles and renew your body — meditation can also work wonders for restoration.
Is your appetite voracious?
If you find yourself reaching for extra snacks — or meals — and you’re not a serious athlete, it may be time to ease up on your routine. Many people have trouble losing weight because they’re overcompensating for energy spent. We usually feel like we burn more calories than we actually do, and therefore indulge in rich foods that negate our weight loss efforts.
Do you feel pressure to maintain an intense workout routine? Do you intuitively feel like your body may be out of balance? Open up to the idea that it may be time to readjust, and experiment with different forms of exercise to find your balance. How will you check in with yourself this week? I’d love to hear from you @lulabellebr.