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Working out and staying active can hardly seem a problem, right? And while this is true, an active and exercise-focused lifestyle is a healthy one that brings lots of benefits, when pushed to the extremes, the situation can change. Paracelsus said it best with “ Sola dosis facit venenum” which roughly translated to “The dose makes the poison”. In other words, too much of anything can harm you. And exercising is not excluded from the list. In this article, we’re exploring exercise addiction,  a growing concern among health specialists and fitness experts. So, if you want to find out more about the addiction to exercise and the main signs indicating that someone is suffering from it, just scroll down and keep reading!

What is Exercise Addiction?

Since this is not a very common addiction, before talking about the main indicators that someone you know may be suffering from exercise addiction, we should clearly define it. It’s very interesting that there is a pre-existing link between exercise and addiction recovery. Many patients struggling with addiction or that overcame various unhealthy behaviors find balance and comfort in working out regularly and living an active life.

However, just like many addictions, the one focusing on fitness and exercising comes from an unhealthy obsession with working out and the inability to stop even when injured or feeling pain. Even though the phenomenon is getting a lot more attention these days, it’s not yet classified as a mental health disorder, even though it has a strong link with eating and body image disorders.

Exercise Addiction Key Signs

Next, we’ll explore some most-obvious signs of exercise addiction that you should look for if you think you or a friend may be at risk. We can’t really call them symptoms of exercise addiction, since there’s no formal diagnosis just yet for this issue. However, it’s crucial that you know how to properly identify this affection and start taking action in case you notice too many of these signs apply to you.

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Inability to Control the Desire for Fitness

In most cases, when you’re just feeling too tired from not sleeping well the previous night, or when you’ve caught a cold, the normal response is to skip the gym session and focus on getting some rest. Maybe get a hot soup and relax, enjoying your favorite no deposit slots for entertainment.  However, if you’re suffering from exercise addiction, even if you know you’re not physically capable of going through the workout, you’ll want to attempt it anyway.

Exercising Regularly is Healthy but Watch Out for Fitness Addiction
Signs of Unhealthy Addiction to Fitness – Exercising Regularly is Healthy but Watch Out for Fitness Addiction – Photo Credit – Lake View Health

Similarly, if you manage to convince yourself to reduce exercise levels or take a short break but seem unable to keep your word, you may want to talk to someone about an ongoing addiction to working out.

Anxiety and Depression

If whenever you’re forced to skip a gym session or the daily jog you start feeling depressed and anxious, you could be suffering from exercise addiction. While it’s natural to feel better after a workout, you shouldn’t chase the feeling or change your mood in the opposite direction when you can’t exercise. Strong feelings of guilt are often associated with anxiety and depression for people that are prone to fitness addiction.

If whenever you’re forced to skip a gym session or the daily jog you start feeling depressed and anxious,
Signs of Unhealthy Addiction to Fitness – If whenever you’re forced to skip a gym session or the daily jog you start feeling depressed and anxious.

Self-Esteem Imbalances

Another one of the most common exercise addiction symptoms is the tendency to have low self-esteem. People that are obsessed with fitness and working out will always measure their progress in terms of speed, strength, or size, and eventually, start to have unreal expectations. Up to the point where no matter if their results are excellent for their age and fitness level, they’ll feel they need to accomplish more and improve.

Biased Body Image

Individuals suffering from fitness addiction will often develop various forms of body image disorders. In most cases, it leads to eating disorders fueled by the belief that exercise alone isn’t enough to get the body they want.

Refusal to Miss a Workout

No matter if there’s a very good reason to just skip the training session altogether, people addicted to exercise will often prefer to dismiss other appointments or plans to go to the gym. For example, you agree to go out with some coworkers sometime next week, but later realize it’s overlapping with your workout. If you’d rather spend time in the gym than interact with other people and socialize, it’s time to ask some serious questions.

A Defensive Attitude

In most cases, people that are addicted to exercise will deny it or become very defensive when questioned about the time spent working out. It’s one of the common symptoms in all addictive behaviors.

Constant Tiredness

Your body isn’t really designed to endure lengthy daily workouts with minimum rest. So, if you’re constantly feeling tired and find it hard to do anything apart from crawling towards the gym and back, that’s another sign you may be at the point where exercise and addiction come together.

Final Thoughts

It’s actually a very good thing that there’s so much more interest in exercise addictions these days. Many people could be suffering from it without even knowing, and high-profile examples like the one Adele gave can only help develop better ways of dealing with fitness addiction. Let’s continue the discussion in the comments section, where you’re welcome to share your personal experience with exercise addiction or any other info that could help others. We appreciate your feedback, and getting involved is the only way to really make a difference.

About the author:

Thomas Glare is a writer (aka fitness and nutrition writer) who has been writing about all things health and fitness for over two years. He writes about general fitness issues, fitness techniques, workouts, workout equipment/equipment, nutrition, and much, much more.

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