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Exercise can be an incredible tool to improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, diet-culture has co-opted exercise and turned it into a way to punish and control our bodies instead. It can be tricky to figure out if your relationship with exercise is disordered in a world where a disordered relationship with exercise is encouraged and praised. Here are 6 signs that your exercise might be disordered.

  1. You have to push yourself to max effort at all times and have difficulty slowing down and listening to your body.⁣
  2. You keep working out even when you injure yourself and have trouble taking days off or deviating from your usual exercise routine.⁣
  3. You feel the urge to exercise more if you ate something you feel anxious about.⁣
  4. You still exercise on days when you haven’t nourished yourself appropriately.⁣
  5. You only count it as exercise if it’s extremely vigorous and makes you super sweaty. So for example, you don’t consider walking or most yoga classes as exercise because it isn’t “hard enough.”⁣
  6. You prioritize exercise over friendships, relationships/connection, and work.

If any of this is familiar, you may want to consider reevaluating your relationship with exercise and find a way to do movement in a way that aligns with your values. For some, that might mean taking a break from exercise completely and for others it might mean incorporating joyful movement into your life as opposed to the kind of movement that feels punishing and exhausting.

We are also taught to believe that exercise only “counts” if we are sprinting on the treadmill or doing a HIIT class in the gym. But walking your dog, having a dance party in your living room, or going on a gentle hike are all examples of exercise as well.

What’s your favorite way to move your body in a way that feels joyful as opposed to punishing?

rainbow leggings exercise and eating disorders joyful movement

Photography thanks to Kelly West, check out her instagram and facebook page.

Leggings (XS-4X): c/o K-DEER