Keeping fit without becoming obsessive

A new year and spring break are two big events with one thing in common: They make us want to rock our best bodies. Many students have been hitting up the ARC and working out to look their best; however, sometimes it is easy to work out too much, and that shouldn’t be a part of the resolution.

Exercising can improve cardiovascular health, help maintain a stable weight and aid in lung function. However, overdoing it can cause muscles to pull or tear, dehydration or fatigue. What, then, causes people to want to excessively work their bodies?

Chris Corey, senior in LAS, works out five to seven times a week. He admitted that at times, he can be a bit of a “workout freak.” He explained his routine, his motivation and why sometimes he feels tempted to take it a bit too far.

“Sometimes I get really into my workout and it can last anywhere from one to two and a half hours, depending on how I’m feeling,” Corey said.

He typically does various chest and abdominal workouts in addition to running. Corey said the energy boost from exercising has helped him raise his grades due to more concentration and a clearer mind. Sometimes, though, he needs to make himself stop.

“If I haven’t worked out for a few days I get anxious and I want to workout more to catch up,” Corey said. “There’s nothing worse than not working out for a long time and then trying to get back into it.”

Jeanette Andrade, a dietician and graduate assistant at the University, agreed that maintaining a steady routine is helpful. Exercising for about an hour a day is a good amount of time to feel satisfied without overdoing it.

“It’s an addictive behavior, if you will,” Andrade said. “It can start consuming you.”

For the people that work out a lot because of what they eat, it is good to remember the importance of a healthy diet. Making healthy choices, such as an apple over a cookie, can make a difference in the energy, as well as the well-being and confidence of the body.

“People should not feel that working out is the reasoning for indulging,” Andrade said.

Moderation is always key.

When asked if he knew people with serious workout obsessions, Corey explained that he constantly sees guys at the ARC taking on more than they can handle.

“Some big guys at the gym just want to lift more than they can, but they don’t always do it right,” Corey said. “They don’t have their priorities straight if they just want to look good.”

Guys aren’t the only ones who are concerned with the way their bodies look ­­— girls are also, if not more, worried about their workout routines.

Mary Lee, freshman in media, thinks media messages contribute to a girl’s obsession with working out. There’s a constant comparison between them and what they see portrayed in magazines.

“Sometimes when I am at the ARC, I feel a little pressured to extend my workouts when I see other girls doing more,” Lee said.

Other factors can include problems with self-image or a need for a distraction from other things going on.

Exercising can work wonders for the body, but too much of anything is never good. A strong balance between working out, eating right and feeling good is the extra mile.