|Fit for failure: working out too much|
|Written by Elizabeth Brei, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:14|
Fitness experts have found that working out too much, or overtraining, can be harmful to the body. It can become an addiction that can have both psychological and physical effects.
Scott Berkowitz, coordinator of fitness at the Student Fitness Center at ISU, said that exercise is meant to keep you healthy.
"It keeps things such as your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight at healthy levels while reducing things such as stress," he explained. "Exercise can be unhealthy when you begin to see an increase in injuries."
Some of these injuries include strained muscles, shin splints, or pain in muscles and joints, which are common when the muscles have been overused.
"People that exercise too much will usually have an obsession with exercise. It might consume their life," Berkowitz said. "They can’t do one thing until they have had their workout in for the day."
He said some people might exercise to the point of physical exhaustion or fatigue. Others might work out for three hours at a time or go to the gym more than once a day to work out for more than an hour each time.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends cardiovascular training 3–5 days a week, strength training 2–3 days a week, and flexibility every day.
"Unless you are training for a marathon, [you are] an athlete, or [have] some other competition, you don’t need to be in the gym for three hours at a time," Berkowitz said. "It is important that we listen to our bodies and give [our] bodies time to rest and recover."
Berkowitz said a good way for people to avoid overtraining and becoming obsessed with working out is to keep one’s goals in perspective and to not compare oneself to others.
"America has painted an ugly picture of what the perfect body is," he explained. "Don’t aspire to look like a certain person."
Genetics have a lot to do with how a person looks.
"We are all different: different body structure, genetics, curves, and tone," Berkowitz said. "Trying to change that is not possible. Being healthy and feeling great is what is most important.
"When you exercise with this in mind, not only are you going to get the toned body you are looking for, you are going to enjoy exercise and do so in moderation," he said.
Being fit and being healthy go hand-in-hand.
"As long as you are at a healthy body fat, weight, and are overall healthy inside, you can’t be too fit," Berkowitz said.
He also explained that those who are obsessed with working out may have underlying psychological problems, such as an eating disorder or body image issues.
"People with eating disorders or body image issues will use exercise to help them get to a specific weight or look a certain way, rather than doing it to be healthy," he said.
One way everyone can avoid these issues is to avoid perpetuating ideas about what an attractive or healthy body looks like.
"When it comes down to it, words are hurtful," Berkowitz said. "Not only can these words upset people, it can be the driving cause of an eating disorder or body image issue. We all need to be more careful about what we say."