Physical fitness is something everyone should strive for. Fitness is important not only for medical reasons, but also for mental health reasons and for overall quality of life. Although these advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, the truth is that there are a few things to consider about being in "your best condition ever."
Fitness Sometimes Comes at a Price
People exercise for lots of reasons. But, all that exercise could also causes issues that often go unconsidered. Sometimes, fear of these complications could even stop someone from ever starting to work out in the first place.
To understand some of the problems you might in encounter on your quest for physical fitness, it's important to understand one basic truth: Exercise damages your body. This damage, though, is a good thing. In response, your brain starts a cascade of biological processes that rebuild the affected tissue stronger than it ever was before.
The problem, however, is that stress can become too much if you exercise too hard or too often, denying your body the chance to recover properly. When you run, for example, your knees deal with impact forces that are four times your weight with each step. Running every single day, then, puts your joints through more than they are prepared to handle safely.
As a result, you could face any variety of overuse injuries. Used as an umbrella term, overuse injuries can include anything from tendonitis - like tennis elbow - to small stress fractures in the bone.
Very closely related to overuse injuries, you could also develop an oft-ignored condition called overtraining syndrome. As the descriptive name suggests, overtraining syndrome occurs when an athlete repeatedly exercises beyond their capacity or tries to push progress too quickly. While overtraining syndrome could - and often does - occur along with overuse injuries, the two conditions are very separate.
Unlike overuse injuries, which impact a particular joint or muscle, overtraining syndrome can affect many aspects of your general health and well-being. Some of the most common symptoms of overtraining include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Decreased physical performance
- Lack of mental focus
- Extreme thirst
- Lack of appetite
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Increases pain in joints and muscles
Changes In Appetite
Along with all the other stuff it does, exercise can have a powerful impact on both your appetite and the way your body uses the energy from your food. Unfortunately, those changes might not be what you think they are. In fact, even the experts aren't entirely sure how exercise can affect your level of hunger.
In some cases, exercise appears to decrease appetite. This is particularly true during or immediately following intense workouts. Unfortunately, there is also some evidence to suggest that those same workouts will leave you feeling hungrier later on as your body attempts to recover the fuel you burned up at the gym.
For the most part, it seems like the type of workout you're using, as well as the overall composition of your diet, will control whether you experience more or less hunger as your fitness level progresses.
Frustration and unmet goals are a very really part of the fitness journey. As you work to progress and make chances in your life, things will likely get in your way. Sadly, this could become a major problem for some people.
Frequently, individuals who have made many attempts in the past to lose weight or reach some other goal simply give up when those goals are not attained. But the same can also happen to those who have been exercising for years and are already relatively fit. This individuals may find that their progress has slowed or that changes in their circumstances have made it difficult to keep up with the old routine. All of these factors could contribute to discouragement and even depression and anxiety.
It may sound like a bit of a joke but the reality is that becoming more physically fit could affect your social relationships. Fitness is not just about eating a certain way or exercising a few times each week; it demands a complete change of lifestyle. This could make it difficult for you to maintain existing relationships for a variety of reasons.
Your new lifestyle could require you take on a new schedule that conflicts with your friends' plans to go out. Or you might chose not to eat the same foods anymore. It's also a possibility that your friends might be a bad influence on you, even encouraging you to make decisions that conflict with your fitter lifestyle.
One of the most often cited reasons for not exercising is that people are already too busy. Having to carve out an extra 30 minutes to an hour for exercise could be a real challenge for many people. While it is completely possible to do so, it will require you to make some changes.
Often, though, people find they spend a lot of time doing non-essential things - like surfing social media or watching TV - that could be converted to workout time. Or, your only free time might be at a difficult point in the day like before you go to work. This would mean that you'd have to get out of the door earlier than you normally would. Still, it's possible.
Wherever the time to exercise comes from, it will have an effect on other aspects of your day.
The Benefits Outweigh the Drawbacks
Although there are some distinct disadvantages to physical fitness, they really are minimal when compared to the potential benefits. Often, these drawbacks can even be avoided altogether through careful planning, setting appropriate goals and following a well-designed program.