Exercise: It’s Okay to Rest

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Post - Katy - rest and fitspirationExercise in this day and age is considered healthy and we are told to do some form of exercise every day. Don’t get me wrong, exercise is indeed healthy but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

My history with exercise obsession goes back to 2006 when I started exercising in secret and then eventually starting going to a gym. I became completely obsessed with exercise; I was exercising for over 2 hours a day and would skip social events so that I wouldn’t miss a workout.

Exercise is something that I have struggled with the most throughout my recovery. Eating more and facing my fear foods was fun to me and I did that really easily. I no longer suffer from food-related guilt and that is something I am very proud of, but I still struggle with exercise-related guilt. In fact, I’m struggling with it right now but I’m listening to my rational side.

You see, I’m in the middle of my exams right now and a lot of my energy goes into cramming the information into my brain. I tend to go for a walk every day in order to relieve some stress and help with my anxiety, but today I really don’t feel like moving. The stress and lack of sleep is really taking it’s toll on me right now. But I still hear this voice telling me that I should exercise and that I’ll feel better if I do.

You know these Fitspiration quotes that say “You never regret a workout” or whatever. It’s these quotes that really get to me on days like these. Deep down, I don’t want to workout. I don’t want to get up from this chair because I simply don’t have the mental capacity to do such a thing. But then I go on Facebook or Twitter and there are some idiots posting Fitspiration images or quotes and they really get to my head. But you know what? It’s okay not to exercise if you’re just too tired.

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It’s okay not to exercise if you just don’t feel like it. If you feel like exercising at that moment is being fueled by your eating disorder then don’t do it.

We need to learn when to take a step back. Those in recovery from eating disorders are exceptions to the exercise rule. Even though health experts say that we need to exercise every day, there should be a little note down the bottom that says, “but if you’re in recovery, check with your doctor first.”

Not only is exercise good for us (in moderation) but so is rest. We need to rest in order to feel strong enough to exercise! And it’s not just exercise that zaps energy from us. Day-to-day activities such as grocery shopping, cleaning, studying, etc. require energy as well. Rest is good not only physically but also mentally.

Remember if you feel compelled to exercise because you have to, then it’s probably best that you don’t do it. You don’t want to fuel the obsession any further. Learning to sit with feelings of not exercising is a good exercise in and of itself and requires strength in order to do.

There can be a lot of anxiety associated with not exercising so here’s a list of all the things that you are probably anxious about.

I’m going to reassure you:

  • You will not get “fat”. You just cannot balloon up from not exercising for one day. You just won’t. Especially if you’re tired. Your body needs the energy you would have used to repair itself and energize you for the next day!
  • You are not out of control. In fact, if you chose to exercise when you know you shouldn’t then you are actually out of control. The same goes with restricting, etc.
  • Nothing bad will happen. When I used to think about skipping a workout, I always thought that because I didn’t follow my routine, that my world would implode or something. Silly, silly thoughts.
  • Most importantly, you will be ok. Like I said, nothing bad will happen.

And if you’re in the beginning of your recovery, know that exercise is definitely not good for your body. Your heart is under a lot of stress and any exercise and added stress could have dire consequences. Rest, build up your strength and know that you are doing the right thing.


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Katy has an honours degree in meteorology and an undergraduate degree in geophysics and mathematics. Katy chose to recover from her eating disorder in May 2010 and has never looked back. Throughout her recovery journey, she has struggled with crippling anxiety, which she has now learned to manage and by writing at Libero, she hopes to help others to manage their anxiety, have fun with recovery and learn to live again.

1 Comment

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  • Thank you so much for this post. I'm in recovery from anorexia, and I struggle with the compulsion to exercise. I have been looking for a place online that addresses this very issue, and I'm constantly amazed and frustrated by how pushy our culture is about exercise.I am so glad I stumbled upon this site, which is no doubt helping a lot of people like me.


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The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.