When it comes to exercise the amount that is right and what is balanced depends on the person, but also at what stage of their life they are in.... for example when i was in recovery from anorexia no exercise was the best exercise, then at a stage in my life i could workout 6 days a week and that was balanced for me, i wasnt tipping over any edge... but then that 6 days a week got to much when i had other things to balance in my life. And now the amount of times i workout in a week varies and in all honesty, i dont actually keep track of how often i workout. Its not important to me how often i am at the gym, but of course walking and running is also exercise and working out - so those count as well. But i just wanted to start off by reminding you all that life changes and what was balanced before might not be balanced later on in life because sometimes you have more things to juggle and other times less things to divide your time amongst.
Also, when it comes to exercise addiction my best advice is to stop completely with exercise. I dont believe in the "workout a few times a week" recovery from exercise addiction. Maybe i am just biased, but for ME i had to stop completely with exercise to learn to be ok with resting. I had to learn that it was ok to rest completely, to take naps during the day if i needed them, learn that i could eat all the energy my body needed and not do anything and not necessarily gain weight. Later on when i was a healthier weight and mindset i was allowed to begin going for walks with my dog and later on shorter runs, but it was still a struggle because i so badly wanted to do more... and also there was a time a few months after being allowed to exercise where i began to do alot more cardio than what was necessary and it did become a sort of "Must/have to". I have written about this before, but at the time in 2012 i didnt necessarily realise what i was doing, but afterwards i realised that the mindset i had started to have wasnt the healthiest. So its important to be aware of your own thoughts and know why you exercise. But also one of the key things i notice if i do too much exercise is that 1) normal workouts feel alot tougher, 2) i dont feel positive or energetic after a workout, instead i just feel tired, 3) i would workout and then have no energy for the rest of the day. And that is not how it should be if you are just a normal, healthy person who workouts to be healthy. The workouts should give you energy and make you feel positive but also it shouldnt take so much energy that you are left lying on the sofa the rest of the day.
So.... how does exercising less help/change you physically? I can only talk about my own experience (and lets be clear, i know i still workout often compared to others, so no need to comment about that.).