Are You Addicted to Exercise?
The Tell-Tale Signs
The following are some of the telltale signs of exercise addiction:
1) You feel like exercising every day even if it’s not necessary.
2) Your exercise habit gets worse over time.
3) You don’t want to stop your current activity because you’re afraid that you won’t get enough rest or sleep while doing so.
4) You have trouble focusing during your workout due to exhaustion.
5) Your physical appearance changes when you start exercising regularly.
6) You experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping your regular exercise routine.
These include headaches, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite and more.
7) You have difficulty concentrating at work or school due to your poor concentration and inability to focus.
8) You feel guilty about exercising frequently.
For example, you may avoid going out with friends or socialize with others when you would normally do so. This results in feeling lonely and depressed which leads to depression.
What Is Exercise Addiction?
Exercise addiction, also known as compulsive exercise, is a condition where you constantly feel the need to work out excessively. While exercise offers many health benefits, it becomes an addiction when it interferes with your responsibilities and daily life. It can also be dangerous when people push themselves to their limits while exercising. This can lead to muscle strains, fractures and other bodily harm. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the signs and symptoms of exercise addiction include:
1) You spend an excessive amount of time working out.
2) You work out even when you are injury or sick.
3) Your priority is to work out instead of taking care of your family and children.
4) You experience loss of appetite because all you can think about is exercising.
5) You experience muscle pain and fatigue.
6) You become short-tempered and irritable at home.
7) You become preoccupied with the thought of working out and exercising.
What Causes an Exercise Addiction?
There are several factors that might cause exercise addiction in a person. While some people may have a genetic disposition for it, there are other factors contributing to this disorder. The following are some of these factors:
1) A need for control in your life.
2) You are over-exercising for weight loss.
3) You are using exercise to help heal an injury or disease that is not responding well to traditional medicine.
4) An attempt to eliminate mental health problems such as depression and stress.
5) Difficulty concentrating due to concussion or brain injury.
6) The need to find a sense of purpose in your life.
7) A need to have a sense of achievement and success.
The Dangers of Exercise Addiction
Exercise addiction can be extremely dangerous to one’s health and well-being. It can lead to life-threatening injury, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, skeletal and muscular conditions and more. The following are some dangers of exercise addiction:
1) Decreased hormone production.
2) Muscle loss.
3) Loss of bone density.
4) Loss of appetite or hypoglycemia.
6) Mood swings and depression.
7) Heart problems.
8) Blood clots.
9) Respiratory complications.
10) Cardiovascular collapse and death.
How to Treat an Exercise Addiction
If you feel like you may have an exercise addiction, you should seek medical intervention immediately before it worsens. The following are steps you can take to help treat an exercise addiction:
1) Stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor.
2) Admit you have a problem and are ready to do something about it.
3) Tell your friends and family you have an exercise addiction so they can help keep you accountable.
4) Get involved in therapy and counseling to address any traumatic experiences or mental health problems you may be repressing.
5) Get involved in support groups for exercise addiction.
6) Limit your social media use.
7) Stay away from stores that sell exercise equipment or workout videos.
8) Do not engage in risky sexual behavior after workouts.
9) Avoid workout partners who have a bad influence on you and encourage you to over-exercise.
10) Take part in aerobic exercises other than those that involve lots of repetitive movement.
11) Get an occupation that’s not physically demanding.
It can be difficult to overcome an exercise addiction because it’s such a fundamental part of one’s life, but it is possible to achieve sustained recovery if you seek help and make the necessary lifestyle changes.
Sources & references used in this article:
Analyzing the quality of counseling conversations: the tell-tale signs of high-quality counseling by V Pérez-Rosas, X Sun, C Li, Y Wang… – Proceedings of the …, 2018 – aclweb.org
Drugs, booze, fags… and exercise? by A Ellis, T Villanueva – Student BMJ, 2004 – search.proquest.com
Are you a Tech Addict? by U Karmarkar – 2014 – nopr.niscair.res.in
Have you seen me? Recovering the inner child in late twentieth-century America by M Ivy – Social Text, 1993 – JSTOR