Exercise and movement are important parts of a healthy lifestyle. There are SO MANY BENEFITS like lowering stress, supporting a healthy heart, supporting blood pressure, blood sugar management, building muscle, building bone strength and so much more!
But just everything, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Exercise can be toxic for not just your physical health but also your mental health when it's not coming from a place of love.
Here are just 3 common ways exercise can become toxic to be on the lookout for in your own life.
When you do it as punishment
Exercise is something you GET to do. When it's turned into something you have to do, to burn calories, stay in shape, to meet a certain physical outline it no longer brings the same joy and endorphin benefits. Be on the lookout for how you approach exercise. Are you looking forward to it or dreading it? Do you feel empowered or drained? Do you feel drawn to the workout or feel forced by outside expectations?
If you are typically toward the ladder, then it might be time to re-evaluate!
When you are chronically stressed and go for high intensity (cortisol spike)
Exercise and movement create stress on the body, but a good kind of stress that supports your immune system, blood flow, metabolism, etc. BUT when the body is already stressed (think work, relationships, lack of sleep, or any other form of perceived stress) this can lead to chronic stress with already high levels of cortisol running through the body. on When cortisol is chronically pumping through the body, it puts the body into fight-or-flight mode.
This puts a pause on digestion, disrupts the gut, and impacts sleep just to name a few. Instead, lean into less high-intensity workouts that still give you movement with the drastic cortisol spike (your body already has enough) like walking, pilates, light strength training, or yoga.
When its solely for burning calories/earning food
This comes back to the mindset and your relationship with food. Related to punishment, exercise isn’t something to be used in order to earn or burn off food. Food is something you never have to earn, therefore exercise isn’t something that deems you worthy of eating. Instead, movement and exercise are a tool to help you body feel good and support optimal health from a place of love.
Try forgetting about food when you are exercising or enjoying movement and instead focus on how you want to feel after. What is going to bring you the most joy or benefit?
Save this for those days when you are struggling with exercise or movement & come back to moving from a place of LOVE.