Several years ago, while training for a half-marathon, I was required to record a qualifying 5K time in order to determine what my group training assignment would be. Unfortunately, I didn’t think the situation through, so I ran like a madwoman and clocked a time well above my normal running speed.
When I showed up the next week to meet my group, I found myself the only woman on the team other than the group’s leader, an elite athlete. I ran with an ex-Marine, a 20-something Rambo type, an Iron Man and a frequent marathoner. All my gal pals were in other groups. Seriously, I almost killed myself running that summer.
On one of the 13-mile hill-training excursions, the ex-Marine and I got off course from the group and ended up running 2 additional miles. The following day, as I dashed through the airport in my high heels, I felt my Achilles tendon snap; the pain was riveting. So much for the marathon. But the whole time I had trained, I had thought it odd that I had dropped nary a pound. In the weeks that followed, I limped around, unable to participate in any aerobic exercise, and I lost 7 pounds — while resting.
We are a nation of obsessive exercise “junkies” who experience the same withdrawal symptoms as heroin addicts when they try to stop, with medical findings to prove it. Cooling it when it comes to exercise gives new meaning to the term “cold turkey.” Experts are telling us that withdrawal symptoms are similar in exercise fanatics and drug addicts.
An exercise program usually starts innocently enough with a desire for health and fitness, but can easily become an obsession as strong as taking narcotics — running distances that are too long, lifting weights that are too heavy, spending too many days in the gym each week — especially when the exercise is motivated by a desire to lose weight and keep it off.
When exercise feels like play, the odds of starting and continuing a regular workout routine and sustaining your ideal weight are stacked in your favor! Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, found that low to moderate exercise for only 30 minutes three to four times a week is just as effective, maybe even more effective, than a killer workout regimen for maintaining health, weight and fitness. An overly intense exercise program quite possibly wears the body down, locking metabolism into a survival mode in which fat is stored instead of muscle.
Here’s some advice for transitioning from maniac to moderate:
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