There are people who only run if they miss the bus: sedentary lifestyle is harmful to health. However, too much exercise is too. And, since many exercises, such as running, can cause addiction, we must approach them with moderation and without obsessing ourselves.
Perseverance VS Exhortation
The physical and mental benefits of running are indisputable. This is especially true for long-distance runners, as they tend to increase their training load and become increasingly competitive. However, you can go from one healthy perseverance ("I want to run") to a sickly exhortation ("I have to run").
The danger with this last situation is that your self-esteem begins to depend on the amount of exercise you do. Running now is part of who you are. If you stop running or reduce the race, all those nice things you are experiencing will disappear. People value you and you value yourself for your exercise. A belief is formed: "I have to keep running or I will not be anyone useless."
And although these illogical beliefs may seem motivating, come with considerable emotional and physical exhaustion.
There are three main reasons why these beliefs are illogical. First, they hinder well-being instead of improving it. Second, they reflect a short-term and fault-based motivation. Third, they are not consistent with reality: you have to breathe, eat, hydrate and sleep, but you don't have to run.
Death to run
James F. Fixx It was the New Yorker responsible for jogging around the world. His biggest obsession was physical exercise, especially running.
Fixx started running at age 35, when he weighed almost 100 kilos and smoked about two packages of tobacco a day. He lost 30 kilos, quit smoking and wrote a book about the feat, Complete Book of Running, which was 11 weeks in number one on the list of best-selling books, making him a rich and popular man. However, on any given day, after your daily marathon session, Fixx died of a heart attack.
The study Addiction to sport: the danger of exercise overdose ensures that 18% of sports practitioners are unconscious addicts. The incidence of sudden death in running is very low, but it happens. What is more common are physical injuries due to running too much, or to exercise in excess in general.
Research suggests that people who identify strongly with exercise (including runners) and who are obsessed with their physique are more likely to become dependent on exercise. And people whose self-esteem depends on success are more likely to have a weak psychological well-being.
If you feel that you are at risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with exercise, remember the following: running is an option, like other physical activities. Not achieving a goal or losing a training session can be bad, but it is not terrible. In addition, your physical achievements do not define you: you are much more than a runner.