Learning about exercise with a past of exercise addiction?

In the past i have made posts answering the question of, studying nutrition when you have a past with an eating disorder, which you can read more about HERE.

But this term i am learning alot more about exercise, infact this whole term is primarily focused on exercise. Which of course is super fun to learn about, and to get a better understanding of exercise and different training programs and what happens in the body etc

However, there has also been a sort of internal conflict of learning about exercise – where we of course learn about the importance of exercising – and also having a personal history and background with exercise addiction.

Image result for importance of exercise

In the course we are reminded of how important it is to be active, but also to get in your daily steps as well as to limit the amount of time being sedentary and still. Of course i already know all of this, and also the rational part of my mind reminds me that it is ok to rest, sit, relax and be still. The recommendations are mostly aimed at those who are extremely sedentary and barely get in a any steps – then it can be recommended for them to think about standing, getting up to move and to really try to get in some daily activity.

For those who already are active, i.e walk, have some form of extra activity as a hobby, and are somewhat active, they may not have to think as much about trying to fit in even more exercise. However, it is recommended for everyone to try to get up and move/stretch after atleast 2-3 hours of sitting and being still – not just for your brain and better concentration, but for your whole body – muscles, heart, blood, oxygen flow.

Unfortunately our society is also built on helping people be lazy and inactive. It’s easier to take the elevator than the stairs. It is easier to take the bus than to cycle or walk. Meetings, school, lectures… everything includes sitting. For the majority of people it’s not easy to do their work while being active – you need to sit infront of a computer or sit and study or sit and take notes in a lecture. It is weird if you stand up.

The biggest problem in our society is that far too many people are inactive. Far too many people don’t reach the recommended 150min/exercise per week. Far too many people are sedentary their whole day.

However, there is also a small amount of people  who exercise far too much than is healthy. People who abuse exercise and overexercise. This is also a problem.

And one of the big problems is that the exercise recommendations and guidelines – the fear of being inactive and the negative health consequences of not exercising – is only being taken in by those who are already active. Whereas those who need to follow the recommendations don’t actually listen to the recommendations.

I can personally say – and this is why i am writing this post – is that it is hard to not want to begin exercising alot more than i am already doing. To begin doing 2 workouts a day. To try to walk more than 10 000 steps a day. To stand and be more active. Slight feelings and thoughts of “not doing enough, not being active enough”. And it doesn’t help that i have already cut down alot on my exercise recently due to lack of time and lack of motivation, so i am already feeling like what i am doing is inadequate and so little compared to what i used to once do. And then to be reminded of that more exercise i better (to a certain extent.)

Also the reminder of how bad being sedentary and being still is, is something that is really getting to me. During my type of exercise addiction, i was so incredibly scared to sit down and would stand (or be active) pretty much all the hours that i was awake. And i would even limit my sleep so that i wasn’t still while sleeping (not to mention i thought i wasn’t burning enough calories while sleeping) – that’s how bad it got for me. So to be reminded that being still – and sedentary isn’t good – is slightly bothering me.

Of course, the rational part of my brain reminds me that daily activity and going to the gym/running a few times a week is ENOUGH for health. And the recommended is 150min a week, i.e c.a 30 minutes moderate intensity exercise 5 times a week (as well as daily movement such as walking, taking stairs etc).

Why am i writing this post… well to be honest and to share my thoughts. I do find it slightly triggering in some sense – not triggering enough to affect me negatively, but it does get me thinking and feeling slightly inadequate with my exercise. And i am writing this, so that maybe if YOU are in a sensitive place or have/do struggle with exercise addiction, then maybe learning about exercise or training to be a PT or something isn’t the best thing to do. Not until you are in a better place mentally anyway.

I know personally that if i had started studying nutrition while still sick in my eating disorder – it would have been done for the wrong reasons. As well as been incredibly triggering, whereas now i am not triggered by learning about nutrition or how food is digested and absorbed. And neither am i triggered by testing different diets, counting calories or making meal plans for others.

I do also want to mention that in my course i am currently tracking my steps for 2 weeks, and i don’t find this triggering. But that is because i already have a step counter on my phone so i already know my average step count – but i do think it could be very triggering for someone who has had a past with exercise addiction/obsession with exercise.

Learning about exercise and exercise physiology and nutrition is very interesting, and a great compliment to all the nutrition knowledge i have. Because exercise and nutrition usually go hand in hand. And i am going to remind myself that i am doing enough exercise to be healthy and don’t need to do more or stress myself to do more when i already have so much else going on in my life.

I would love to know what others think about this, or if you have been in the same experience/situation 🙂

(Also, please don’t interpret this as i am sick/falling into old behaviours – it is just me sharing my thoughts and maybe able to help others!)


Posts about exercise addiction:

The importance of rest and my exercise addiction

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anon says:

    Yeah I get this so much… even though I know that my exercise addiction was really unhealthy it’s really difficult when you hear people saying stuff that seems to support it- I especially find the not sitting down and counting steps triggering.
    It’s hard because these messages are just everywhere and it’s so easy to compare myself to other people who are exercising more and feel lazy, even though generally I feel like I’ve found a pretty good balance of exercise and i know that I am pretty fit.


    1. It can definitely be hard/triggering when all you hear and see is that you need to be more active/move more/sit less etc But it’s also important to think about your own life and what is best for you. I.e if you are already active and have a balanced relationship with exercise then you don’t necessarily need to add more activity. And that the advice is aimed at those who are sedentary and barely move at all.
      But like i wrote in my post… it is most often those are already active who begin to move even more, and those who actually need to move more/be more active don’t.


  2. Yaya says:

    You dont have to worry about that. Like you say, it’s those people who barely takes any steps in a day that this information is aimed for. You are already a highly active person despite your sedentary studying. And also with your background, it’s healthier for you to do what’s best for you in your situation. I can promise you that being a bit sedentary is far more healthy than having anxiety and worrying about it 🙂 So just relax, you can ignore this type of information.


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