When sport can become a problem

When sport can become a problem

Do you feel bad when you have to skip training? Has being in shape become an obsession? In this article we will talk about when and how body care becomes a problem.

When sport can become a problem

Last update: June 22, 2022

Today we are more aware of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. We take better care of ourselves than we did thirty or forty years ago, because we know that this means not only living longer, but also better. But it's not all plain sailing: when can sport become a problem?

Lifestyle changes have in turn made us more aware of the need to reconnect with wellness. We know that maintaining physical and mental health is recommended.

Today we take care of the body and the unprecedented diet. Not only do we have more knowledge about nutrition and sports science, but we also have numerous sources from which to obtain more information. The downside to all of this is that our society attaches great importance to physical appearance.

Playing sports is good for your health, but too much can have serious consequences.

When sport can become a problem

For many people, physical activity becomes an obsession, feeling the need to practice high frequency and intensity exercise almost compulsively to avoid guilt.

It is difficult to tell whether this distress is an obsession or an addiction, as this is a recent area of ​​research and the terms are often confused.

Regardless of whether you label it an addiction or an obsession with sports, it can take some time to realize the problem. The paradox is that since it is a healthy activity, which offers multiple, more than proven benefits, it is difficult to see it in any other way.

How to tell if a sports addiction has developed

Sports addiction shares features with various mental and behavioral disorders, such as dominance over other activities, emotional disturbances, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is good to know the following alarm bells:

  • Feeling the need to train practically every day and start living it as a necessity.
  • If one day it is not possible to do the training, the next day you try to recover.
  • It becomes difficult to fully enjoy free time with other people because it is seen as a waste of time that could be spent training.
  • Feeling bad when training is not possible.
  • Devote much of your time to training. Do not interrupt even if you are sick or if you have an injury.
  • The desire to keep fit leads to arguing with family or other loved ones because they don't understand the need to train and require more attention.

When sport is experienced in this way it causes not only physical but also mental wear. Intense worry about physical activity can also mask more serious problems, such as an eating disorder or muscle dysmorphism (vigorexia).

In the first case, physical activity aims to compensate for any excesses by taking less food and the desired benefit is the maintenance or reduction of body weight. In the case of muscle dysmorphism, the perception of the body is altered, so that the person never feels muscular enough.

In addition to this, sport itself can become an escape mechanism to avoid thinking or facing certain problems. What may initially seem like an antidote to stress ends up becoming a problem when adopted as a preferred coping strategy.

Sport can become a strategy to avoid facing certain situations.

How to deal with the feelings of guilt?

Guilt can easily trap us in the cases described. To manage it, we can keep in mind the following:

  • The body must rest. An athlete is aware of the importance of rest; do not lose sight of this aspect.
  • Be aware of the benefits of physical activity for health and the importance of practicing it in moderation, knowing that it is harmful if performed too often and intensely, such as stress fractures or chronic tendonitis.
  • Remember the initial reasons. We probably started doing sports for pleasure and to get better, not to avoid getting sick.
  • Pay attention to inner messages. Recognizing and questioning harmful thoughts is key. It can be more complicated than it sounds and may require professional help. Do not hesitate to ask for it.
  • Avoid installing applications linked to physical activity, as they can fuel addiction and obsession, especially if they challenge you to achieve certain goals, affecting self-esteem.
  • Sharing results on social media makes exercise competitive and subject to outside opinion. This could cause problems for the most vulnerable.
  • Dedicate yourself to what's really important. Sport helps you feel better and relieve stress. It gives a feeling of well-being thanks to endorphins, but nothing like spending time with the people you love most to have a full life.
  • Avoid races, especially if they become a source of stress.

Dedicating time to ourselves, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, taking care of nutrition and respecting healthy sleep and rest hygiene is the basis of physical and mental health.

However, if we become slaves to a healthy life, obsessed with being fit, with strict eating patterns and schedules, sport can become a problem. The secret is always balance.

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