Many of us can get caught up in the competitive aspect of sports and fitness. This is similar to an eating disorder if you get carried away comparing yourself to others. Competition, whether it’s individually or as part of a team is motivational in itself as long as it is fun. But if you’re pushing yourself too far each time you exercise then you are likely to burn out or get injured.
Competitive sports are great when you’re having fun; but the moment that you “take one for the team” or go beyond your limit, you’re not benefiting your long-term health. Unfortunately, our bodies aren’t made to take the continuous impacts and strains that are associated with many of the sports we love. Strengthening and stretching are important to prepare us for such impacts to help prevent injuries. Most importantly, however, we need to stay connected to what our body is saying and listen to it instead of aggravating or creating injuries. Remember that you won’t be able to contribute as much from the sidelines!
Similarly, many popular fitness programs like Crossfit thrive on emphasizing competition. Exercising with others on a team is motivating and can distract you so it helps pass the time, however they can also lead you to be careless with movements or push yourself too far. And those scores and rankings will not matter if you can’t come in to compete!
Also, it’s important to realize that you will have bad days and good days, so keep that in mind when you aim for your personal best. Accepting that you will not always be exceeding your prior achievements can help you to slow down and focus on your form, which can help you exceed your personal best when you are feeling great!