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When Exercise Isn't Healthy

Our culture is fitness-obsessed. Scroll through your Instagram feed, and you will find photo after photo of people being active, eating healthy, and rocking the latest athleisure wear. While physical health is important, our fitness obsession can compromise our mental health. When considering your relationship with exercise, ask yourself the following: 

  1. Do you feel guilty if you don’t exercise? Sure, we might all feel like exercise is something we should do, but if you’re consumed by guilt for missing one workout, that’s a sign that your mental health is being affected.

  2. Do you skip meaningful events to exercise? Think about times when friends invited you out to dinner or co-workers invited you to happy hour. Did you miss something you wanted to do in order to hit the gym?

  3. Do you compare yourself to others when exercising? Physical fitness is mentally healthy when we do it for ourselves, not for other people. Ask yourself if this activity is something you enjoy.  

If you’re getting the impression that your approach to exercise is impacting your mental health, try to skip your next workout and replace it with something that brings you joy. Remember: mental strength is just as important as physical strength!


Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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