Exercise Addiction and How to Effectively Spot the Signs

girl doing push ups on the beach

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Is there such a things as exercising too much? You might be tempted to say no. After all, everybody constantly tells us how great exercising is for our body and mind. Make no mistake, this is all true. However, there can be such a thing as exercising too much. It can even become an addiction if you are not careful enough. Today, we are going to look at what exercise addiction really is and help you identify the signs. Furthermore, we will talk about the effects of this addiction and how you can get help.
girl doing push ups on the beach

What Is Exercise Addiction?

Exercise addiction is the state of compulsively engaging in physical activities, even though we know they are bad for us. As we’ve already established, exercising is great for you. However, exercising too much can damage your health, and your personal and professional life. An exercise addiction entails you focusing on exercising much more than you focus on anything else in your life, even as you notice the negative consequences.
If you stop exercising, you might experience withdrawal and the desire to get back to your usual routine, which is normal in the case of any type of addiction. Exercise addiction is a behavioral addiction that can make you become compulsive, obsessive, and dysfunctional.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Exercise Addiction?

1. The Way Your Body Looks Defines Your Happiness

The first thing you should understand is that what defines us are the qualities we have and who we are as a person, not the activities we engage in or how we look. You might think that it is ambitious of you not to give up on exercising, but it is also incredibly ambitious to know when to quit when something is hurting you. If the only thing bringing you happiness is exercising and the results you get, you might suffer from exercise addiction.

2. You Injure Yourself Too Often

People who exercise a lot are more prone to injuring themselves. If you are addicted to exercising, then you probably exercise every single day. Now, if you get injured once and you don’t stop exercising, it is only normal for your body to suffer the consequences. If you are in pain while you exercise or you’ve injured yourself one too many times, you have to wonder if you have an addiction that has to be looked into.
man in a squatting position due to sprained ankle

3. You Feel Irritable and Depressed

You might wonder how exercising can make you feel depressed, since we all know that it can actually help with depression. It is true, it can, but only if you pace yourself. The moments when you crave physical activity you tend to become irritable and feel depressed, and this is precisely how this addiction can take control over your life. Furthermore, it might happen that you constantly want to do more until you reach your physical limit and nothing will be able to satisfy your desire to exercise. This will leave you feeling sad and helpless.

4. You Lose Touch with People Close to You

People who suffer from an exercise addiction spend so much time focusing on this that they forget to nurture their personal relationships. They stop going out with friends or reconnecting with family members. Again, you have to remember that you should not allow your entire life to revolve around exercising. You are much more than that, and you deserve much more than that.

5. You Don’t Perform as Well at Work

Your personal relationships are not the only ones you’re sacrificing when you become addicted to exercising. This addiction can also negatively influence your professional life. If you are at work and all you can think about is the next time you will be able to exercise, it is quite clear that you won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. Moreover, if you’re irritable as well, you might hurt your relationship with your boss or coworkers.

Exercise Addiction Symptoms

  • You feel hyped after exercising. As in the case of any other addiction, whenever you engage with it, you feel instantly buzzed and hyped.
  • You can’t control your desire to exercise. As much as you try to distract yourself with other tasks, you can only think about exercising.
  • You prepare a lot. If you spend a lot of time preparing for this routine, then it might be an addiction.
  • You can’t exercise less. If you have a certain routine, you can’t bear the thought of exercising less no matter the cost.
  • You go through withdrawal. If for some reason you cannot exercise when you want to, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

How Can You Treat Exercise Addiction?

Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted treatment for exercise addiction. However, there are things you can do to break the cycle. The only thing you have to remember is that it is up to you to want to change something about the way you exercise. You can talk to a therapist that can help you understand why pacing yourself when you exercise is better for you.
girl looking sad and talking to a therapist
The trick is not to stop exercising altogether, especially not all of a sudden. What you have to do is incorporate exercising into your daily routine without allowing it to dictate the way you live your life. A therapist can also help you discover the reasons why you became addicted to exercising. More often than not, people who suffer from an eating disorder also go through exercise addiction. Maybe your exercise addiction comes from the expectations that pressure you to be and look a certain way. Whatever the underlying cause might be, it is always important to seek help.

Summing Everything Up

Exercising addiction can affect your life more than you’d ever expect, which is why it’s best to work on getting rid of it as early as possible. So if you recognize some of the signs that we mentioned above, it is time to reach out to someone and admit that you have a problem. Of course, exercise addiction is not as damaging as other addictions. However, that doesn’t mean that we should disregard the negative effects it has on our life.
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