Fitness: A Healthy ‘Addiction’

by Barry Hill
Fitness: A Healthy ‘Addiction’

Substance abuse and addiction to drugs and alcohol is extensively damaging to our bodies and our health. It “dramatically alters the diet and in most cases, it leads to irregular eating patterns and poor nutrition. As a result, previously healthy adolescents and adults may begin to experience significant health problems shortly after the substance abuse begins,” as noted by Dr. Karen Vieira, PhD and MSM for the Coalition Against Drug Abuse.

But as detrimental as addiction usually is to our health, is there a healthy addiction to have? What about an addiction to fitness and daily exercise?

There are numerous resources available that highlight the benefits of daily exercise. The top noted benefits of fitness ‘addiction’ are weight loss or weight control, boosted energy, immune system improvement, and better sleep. For those of us in the 50-plus community, daily exercise is a particularly healthy ‘addiction’. For those of us over age 50, daily fitness offers several psychological benefits – even just 30 minutes of exercise per day can have some pretty significant effects.

So what would a healthy ‘addiction’ look like? I envision that a beneficial addiction to fitness would be daily or almost daily exercise with a balanced workout regimen and a nutritious diet that is rich with vitamins and fresh foods. Your ‘addiction’ would likely be more about how much better you feel and the improvements to your life and health, than to the actual exercise, itself.

It is important to note that excessive exercise can also have detrimental physical and psychological health effects. Over-exercising is a legitimate condition and has been found to advance into the realm of actual addiction, as U.S. News has reported.

As you set your regular workout regimen, a healthy dedication and/or enjoyment from daily exercise is certainly a healthy ‘addiction’ to have. Just don’t allow it to become an unhealthy actual addiction with damaging psychological and physical consequences.

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