Exercise is known to be a great way to stay fit and healthy. Although sometimes, people can take it to a certain level where it does more harm than good. Exercise addiction can display similar traits to those with other addictions. Here is an overview of exercise addiction and what to look for in yourself or your loved ones. Exercise Addiction An unhealthy obsession with exercise andl fitness leads to exercise addiction. Some traits that may show up include: Obsessing over the behavior Continuing behavior even when causing harm Engaging even when not wanting to Performing the behavior as a secret The release of chemicals in the nervous system makes the action feel like a reward. Apart if the addiction may be dependent on the pleasure you feel. Weight loss or other health conditions can occur when exercising too much. Causes The neurotransmitters released while using drugs are the same as when you exercise: endorphins and dopamine cause feelings of joy. When exercise is over, they will fade away. You will want to keep triggering these feelings by exercising more. It usually starts with a wanting to get involved with fitness but can steam from other disorders. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia can lead to an unhealthy obsession with working out on top of the disorder. Other conditions like body dysmorphia and body image issues can spark the addiction. Symptoms Symptoms to watch out for include: The buzzed feeling after working out Feeling withdrawal-like symptoms after long periods of inactivity The uncontrollable desire to exercise Making time for exercise and reducing other activities because of it Long periods of preparation and recovery from exercise Can’t stick to a reduced exercise routine Who is at Risk? Many people feel pressure to stay fit for a variety of reasons. If you are overweight and are striving towards weight loss and unhealthy regime can cause exercise addiction. People with eating disorders and body image issues tend to use exercise in addition to their conditions or to help ease them. People with a previous addiction to other things like alcohol and drugs may use exercise to fill the void and create a new obsession. Since the same chemicals are released, they seek their fix in another form. There is a timeline of phases that show how someone develops this addiction. Here are the four phases. Phase 1: Recreational exercise. When exercise is meant to increase health and fitness, you find pleasure in activity while improving your quality of life. Phase 2: At-risk exercise. When you increase the frequency and intensity of workouts, the main reason is to reduce stress and increase self-esteem. Phase 3: Problematic exercise. You begin to organize your life around exercise. Irritability and mood swings can come if the routine is disrupted and they tend to do more training alone. Phase 4: Exercise addiction. Life now revolves around working out. The workouts keep increasing in intensity and frequency. It disrupts other areas of life and only exercise to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Treatment Similar to other behavioral addictions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or motivational interviewing is usually recommended. It helps since the technique recognizes the effects created by the addiction. When the behavior is identified, the problem motivates the person to get treatment and control the thoughts related to the obsessive nature. Professionals can create strategies to manage the addiction and reward from or lower levels of exercise. The Bottom Line Like any other addiction, it takes time to overcome them. It will take a lot of mental and physical dedication to treat, but it will be worth it in the end.
Weight loss is a two-part process. Eating the right foods is the most important step, but you also have to keep an active lifestyle. If you find that traditional exercises aren’t helping your progress, a new routine can get you back on track. Here are seven of the best exercises and workouts that will help you lose weight fast and reach your health goals in no time. Best Exercises for Weight Loss It’s vital to differentiate between “exercise” and “workout.” An exercise is just one part of a workout routine. People sometimes use the terms interchangeably, but you should use them in the right context when creating your fitness plan. With that technicality cleared up, let’s jump into the first exercise. 1. Jump-Rope The jump-rope is a great exercise to lose weight fast because it gets your whole body moving and causes your heart rate to skyrocket in a matter of seconds. Just 10 minutes of jumping rope can burn up to 150 calories, depending on your body weight and the intensity of the exercise. For reference, the equivalent of 150 calories is a light snack. If you like to have a snack between meals, a quick jump-rope session can burn it all away. 2. Kickboxing Have you ever noticed how lean most boxers and MMA fighters are? Their exercise routines revolve around punching and kicking, so why can’t yours? Kickboxing is perhaps the fastest weight-loss exercise on this list. A 45-minute workout can burn over 400 calories, which is the equivalent of a moderate-sized meal. Aside from the quick weight loss, you also get to work on your self-defense skills. This exercise is a win-win all around. 3. Swimming Swimming has many benefits. It can help you recover from injuries, become more flexible and lose weight fast. It’s particularly beneficial for older folks whose joints and limbs can’t handle the stress of regular exercise. Like the jump rope, swimming requires your whole body to work and thus burns more calories. About 30 minutes of swimming burns a minimum of 200 calories and even more if you choose a more challenging style, such as the butterfly stroke. Other low-stress techniques like the breaststroke don’t burn as many calories, but they’re all effective exercises for weight loss. 4. Cycling Cycling offers a fresh change of pace and a more effective weight-loss exercise if you’re tired of walking and running. The average person burns between 450 and 750 calories per hour of cycling and even more if they go uphill, making it one of the best exercises for weight loss in terms of calories burned. Plus, you get to spend more time outdoors exploring your surroundings. You might develop a new hobby out of it. Workouts for Losing Weight and Toning The four above exercises are great additions to your overall fitness routine, but you can do better than one exercise alone. If you want to accelerate your weight loss even further, these three workout styles have everything you’re looking for. 5. High-Intensity Cardio As the name suggests, high-intensity cardio is an intense workout that elevates your heart rate for an extended period. It might leave you wondering why you ever wanted to lose weight in the first place, but that’s the beauty of the workout. It has the same difficulty level no matter how much you get in shape. Cardio consists of any activity that gets your heart rate up quickly and keeps it there. It can be a rowing machine, elliptical, Stairmaster or an incline treadmill. Find a handful of cardio exercises that fit your preferences and create a personalized high-intensity cardio workout. 6. Strength Training Strength training brings us back to the basics. Bench press, squat, deadlift and other strength-based exercises will help you lose weight and tone your muscles. A 30-minute training session burns between 180 and 250 calories, but only if you work out with the right intensity. Take your weight loss journey seriously and push yourself. Put together a routine that fits your preferences. If you don’t like squatting, gyms have several other leg-training exercise machines. If you have a bad back and want to avoid deadlifting, you can easily find different exercises that won’t put you in a vulnerable position. Strength training has many possibilities. 7. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) High-intensity interval training (HIIT) takes the elevated heart rate component of cardio and the equipment of strength training and rolls them into one of the best workouts for losing weight that you can find. Studies have shown that short interval training is more effective for adult weight loss than steady-state training, such as walking or running. It requires you to do multiple strength exercises in quick succession, followed by a short rest period. For example, a HIIT workout could have you do five minutes of intense exercise with two minutes of rest. HIIT helps you burn more calories and retain your toned muscles as you lose weight. Revitalize Your Weight Loss Journey Weight loss won’t happen overnight, but you can speed up the process by eating a healthy diet and doing the right physical activities. These exercises and workout styles will get your heart rate up, burn a ton of calories and move you one step closer to reaching your goals. Revitalize your weight loss journey with one of these fantastic options. Cover photo courtesy of Total Shape
Do you need a new fitness regimen? The new year is here, and that means it’s time to set your resolutions. Have you considered the life aquatic? Getting in the water offers a host of advantages over land-based workouts. Here are eight benefits of swimming for exercise that will have you donning your bathing suit in no time. 1. Burns Calories You can torch as many calories swimming as you do on land. A single 30-minute workout burns 300 calories if you hit it hard. You don’t have to move as quickly as you do on land to work your muscles. The water adds extra resistance, making it akin to strapping on weights around your arms and legs. It takes considerably more effort to walk 25 yards across an Olympic-sized pool than it does to perform the same trek on the shore. 2. Won’t Leave You Sweaty Why do water-based workouts seem so much easier, then? The perception stems from the fact that you don’t sweat. In reality, you perspire in water-based workouts, too. However, the water immediately whisks it away, leaving you feeling cooler. Plus, water has a higher heat capacity, meaning that the pool or lake temperatures remain more stable than those on the surrounding shore. While you might need to shed layers halfway through a run, you won’t face the same problem when submerged. 3. Great for Those With Chronic Pain One substantial benefit of swimming for exercise is making movement more comfortable for those with chronic pain. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the mere thought of going for a run might make your knees scream. However, chest-level water supports 80% of your body weight, making it more comfortable for you to stand. Even if you wouldn’t dream of doing jumping jacks on a hard surface due to the pain, you could find them a piece of cake once submerged. 4. Safe for Pregnant Women Maybe you heard about the recent viral Tik Tok video of a 9-months- pregnant woman who ran a mile in an impressive time. Please don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you can’t imitate her feat — it might not be safe. Exercise does help reduce the risk of complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes among pregnant women. However, their shifting center of gravity can leave them feeling unbalanced on land, and they don’t want to fall on their belly. Water workouts eliminate risk and impact while letting mamas-to-be get the movement they need. 5. No Age Limit If you visit nearly any aqua aerobics class, you’ll see participants of various ages taking part. Water workouts benefit the young and old alike. Swimming for exercise has considerable benefits for seniors who face mobility challenges. Like pregnant women, they may fear falling — but the water cushions them if they trip in the pool. 6. Speeds Recovery Many physical therapy centers have pools for a good reason. The water's buoyancy of the water makes it an ideal tool in speeding recovery. Letting sprained and broken limbs rest is necessary for healing. However, it can cause the muscles surrounding the injury to atrophy, making it more likely you can get hurt again if you jump back into your previous routine. Instead, try taking your workouts in the water. Let the buoyancy support your body weight as you walk or jog your laps. You’ll build back the muscle tone you lost, making your return to land-based workouts less hazardous. 7. Improves Chronic Diseases Having a chronic illness presents a Catch-22 for many. Conditions such as ME/CFS and newer syndromes like those experienced by COVID-19 long-haulers can cause debilitating fatigue. However, physicians often recommend mild physical activity to improve energy levels. How can these folks reap the benefits of movement when they can barely get out of bed? Swimming for exercise offers one solution. Aquatic workouts don’t kill your motivation before you start by making you dread the pain that follows. 8. Eases Anxiety and Depression Finally, any workout helps to ease anxiety and depression. Exercise increases your body’s flow of feel-good endorphins, natural opioid-like substances that kill pain and give you pep. Additionally, exercise also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. All three neurotransmitters play vital roles in regulating your mood. Reap These 8 Impressive Benefits of Swimming for Exercise As you can see, swimming offers tons of physical and mental health advantages. Reap the benefits of swimming for exercise today to look and feel your best.