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Regular exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. But, like with anything, it is possible to over-do it and exercise too much, forming an unhealthy relationship with exercise. If you’re worried that you’re starting to go down that path, adjust your mindset in these four ways to build a healthier relationship with the gym.


Allow yourself flexibility

There’s nothing wrong with having a plan for exercise and trying your best to stick to your schedule. However, things happen, and it won’t always be possible for you to do a workout. This is okay. One missed day isn’t going to throw off your whole routine. Allow yourself the flexibility to miss a workout and don’t beat yourself up over it. Before every workout, you should ask yourself, “what do I need from this time?” Sometimes, what you need is what you planned. Other times, it will be completely different, and it may simply be rest.


Don’t exercise to eat

You shouldn’t be pushing yourself at the gym so that you can go home and stuff your face with junk food. Instead, you should view food as fuel that helps your body perform and be strong. You shouldn’t be exercising so that you can eat a huge meal. Instead, you should be eating to be able to exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to eat a completely healthy diet all of the time and restrict yourself of foods you love. You should have a healthy balance between healthy and junk food.


Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion

You shouldn’t be coming home from the gym every night to the point where you need to immediately go to sleep because you’re so exhausted. You shouldn’t be so sore that you’re limping around your house for days. You should be able to tell the difference a good burn and genuine pain. You should still have the energy after the gym to go about your day, whether it’s grocery shopping, doing laundry or grabbing dinner with friends.


Don’t fixate on the physical

Many people attend the gym because they want to be happier with their appearance. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, once you begin to obsess over it is when it becomes an issue. You should be exercising not only because of how you look but also because of how it makes you feel. Leaving the gym should leave you feeling refreshed and satisfied. You shouldn’t feel guilty because you still haven’t lost those five pounds or because you don’t have a six-pack. Notice the non-appearance benefits that exercising has given you, like the fact that you’re able to climb a few flights of stairs without running out of breath or that you know have the strength to rearrange your furniture on your own.