Escape From Common Sense: When Sports Becomes A Bad Habit

Escape From Common Sense: When Sports Becomes A Bad Habit
Escape From Common Sense: When Sports Becomes A Bad Habit

Video: Escape From Common Sense: When Sports Becomes A Bad Habit

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Everything is good in moderation, and even excessively zealous exercise can be harmful. Previously, professional athletes were convinced of the veracity of this truth, but recently, due to the mass enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle and fitness, too zealous amateurs have begun to face the problem. At what point does exercise that we consider beneficial turn into a bad habit?


BBC reporters met with Valerie Stefan, who started running 10 years ago for general wellness and became physically addicted. Having run herself, the woman wanted to test herself in competitions. First she ran 5 km, then 10, and then a full marathon.

Valerie Stefan

Very soon sports became a priority in Stefan's life and she specially got up early so that she could run an extra half hour.

When I run, I have the feeling that I am conquering some heights, - says the amateur athlete. - I'm getting faster, stronger, it's like a series of small victories.

At the same time, Stefan began to realize that because of her hobby she was changing, and not for the best. No, many can envy Valerie's physical form, but her psychological state began to cause concern for both her loved ones and herself.

I began to realize that training controls me, and not vice versa. And this control quickly grew into an obsessive state. This began to affect my work, my family, everything else. Over time, my exercise became something unhealthy. My lifestyle has ruined my relationships with many people. They just didn't understand why I needed to train so much. I seemed to them a little nuts.

The stronger Valerie's attachment to sports became, the more she moved away from family and friends. At first, Stefan began to be late everywhere and reschedule meetings and events, and then she began to avoid companies altogether. If she had meetings with friends, then she made them at the squash court or in the pool. A woman could relax only by fully completing her daily running norm.

At the same time, the athlete admitted that she really wants to communicate with everyone, as before, but before the meeting, it is imperative to conduct a full training session. If the run does not take place, then Valerie experiences a sense of guilt and discomfort. The constant search for a compromise between sports and human interaction interferes with proper rest.

Valerie did not relax at all and did not spend much time at home. All she needed was to show what a superman she was. Years of such a life at the maximum of opportunity led Stefan to severe depression, which could be got rid of with prolonged quality rest. Therefore, Valerie took a four-month leave from work and only he helped her to recover.

Psychologist Chetna Kang of Priory Hospital in London says Valerie Stefan's case is far from widespread. But unfortunately there are all the prerequisites to believe that pathological dependence on sports will soon become one of the scourges of civilized society.

Dr. Saz Nachman specializes in childhood and adolescent eating disorders. She said that she sometimes meets people who are overly addicted to physical activity. The psychologist noted that so far there is no clear systematization of these states and even a term that would more or less accurately define them. Exercise addiction, compulsive exercise, compulsory exercise - experts call this problem differently.

Generally, exercise is good for a person's mental state, but it works as long as a sense of proportion is maintained. The condition can be aggravated by fitness apps, especially if the person is perfectionist and obsessed with their achievements.

The ability to share successes on social media adds an element of publicity and competition to this obsession, which even more affects the psyche of such a person. But this problem is not purely psychological, as it can cause serious problems with the immune system, osteoporosis, decreased libido in men and digestive problems.

Is it possible to fight the obsessive craving for physical activity on your own, without referring to psychologists? Martin Turner is a sports psychologist at the Metropolitan University of Manchester who has worked with athletes for over 10 years. He has repeatedly encountered cases of excessive cravings for loads and is sure that addiction to sports is of the same nature as many other habits, including bad ones. Therefore, giving up the portion of endorphins and adrenaline that athletes are so used to is not easy at all.

Valerie's workload reduction was very difficult. She felt anxious, insecure, and even guilty. The woman also developed some other unpleasant symptoms:

I feel very anxious when I cannot exercise. I cannot sleep, I suffer from headaches. On days without sports, I feel like I'm in prison, trapped.

An important point for Valerie Stefan was also her habit of using applications for monitoring physical activity and sharing her achievements with like-minded people. Surprised, the young woman noted that she was seriously addicted to comments and positive responses. As a kind of self-esteem injection, they only made Valerie more addicted to sports.

Psychologist Martin Turner believes that the worst thing is when achievements have an impact on a person's self-esteem. He can cite many examples where the readings of the application, which indicate a decrease in results, plunge a person into depression and make him feel like a failure.

Turner believes that the first step to solving the problem of physical activity dependence is defining a schema. Athletes need to be well aware of their goals, understand their thoughts and motives in order to direct them in the right, constructive direction and fight destructive sports for the sake of stress.

You have to be realistic and you need flexibility. Tell yourself, “If I don’t work out today, it’s bad, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. And I didn’t become a worthless loser just because I decided to do without training today.” Such thoughts are more related to reality and do less harm.

Valerie herself, who is still on her way to getting rid of her unhealthy addiction to sports, believes that it is very important to let go of the situation, get rid of obsessions and convince herself that it is not at all necessary to become the best of the best to be admired.

See also - 7 Ways to Burn 100 Calories Without Sports and Diet. You will be surprised!

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