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Effects of Over-Exercising


Exercise is typically thought of as a good thing, but did you know that there is such a thing as too much exercise? If something is good, more isn't better. Over-exercise is sometimes the activity of "undoing" something that has been eaten or ridding oneself of guilt from a binge.

While exercise has it's obvious benefits, over doing it can be detrimental to your health and put yourself at increased health risks.


Exercise recommendations change according to a person's health, body weight, and emotional state. Exercise is not necessarily a one size fits all approach. What is a healthy amount for one person can be a very unhealthy amount for a different individual. Exercise is one of the best physical activities you can do to increase your health, but there is such a thing as too much. By exercising too much, you can disrupt the chemical balance in your body, which can cause certain health problems and stress on the immune system. Over-exercising can also fuel an unhealthy relationship with food. When eating something that is high caloric, punishing yourself for hours at the gym until you are mentally and physically fatigued is not the answer. The goal is to learn to enjoy these finds in combination with a healthy lifestyle, like exercising for about 30-60 minutes a day 3-5 days a week.

  • Dehydration

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Amenorrhea

  • Increased cortisol and pro-inflammatory chemicals, which can cause tissue damage and promote premature aging.

  • Free radical release, which is linked to cellular mutations and cancer

  • Muscular atrophy

  • Skeletal injuries - bone fracture, arthritis, damage to cartilage and ligaments

  • Heart Problems

  • Stroke


The way you view physical activity is just as important as what activity you are doing, how long, and how often. Exercise should be something that you enjoy doing and not something you have to force yourself to do. You should feel better after exercising. Red flags of over-exercising are the following:

  • Viewing the activity as something you have to do not something you enjoy

  • Using physical activity to compensate for something you ate that day or plan on eating

  • Exercising to the point of exhaustion - not allowing yourself to rest or listen to your body when it is telling you to stop

  • Interferes with your relationships

  • Affects your mood

  • Disconnecting from your body during the physical activity

  • Feeling guilty if you cannot exercise


Think about some activities that you feel joy during whether that is swimming, playing tennis, going to yoga, walking in the park, or going to a boxing class. You will not get the added bonus of stress relief if you hate what you are doing. Including family and friends in your exercise can also make physical activity and exercise more enjoyable. Ask yourself if you are in control of your exercise routine or is it controlling you? Big difference!

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