Exercise, like many other things, is best done in moderation and at an appropriate level depending on your age and health condition. The majority of people enjoy a regular amount of exercise while others, like athletes or professional trainers, may have a habit of hitting the gym more frequently.
Although there are some professionals that require more frequent exercise than others, exercise addiction is a very real issue that needs to be addressed.
What is exercise addiction?
Exercise addiction is defined as a form of over-exercising that may cause a person to continually workout to the point of pain or exhaustion. Unfortunately, exercise addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), making it difficult for people to receive proper diagnosis and treatment options.
People who suffer from an exercise addiction typically have an obsession with fitness, withdraw themselves from social activities in order to work out and take part in physical activities and workout multiple times throughout the course of the day on a daily basis. This is due to the fact that exercising releases endorphins, making the person feel rewarded and happy at the end of their workout session.
Who is at risk?
Those who have body image issues have an increased likelihood of suffering from an exercise addiction due to feeling pressured to look good or stay in shape. People who have dealt with past addictions or already show signs of addictive behavior may also have a higher risk.
Common symptoms of exercise addiction are similar to those of common addictions like drugs and smoking such as:
- Obsessive behavior
- Engaging in the behavior continually, even if it causes physical pain
- Continuing to take part in the behavior despite wanting to quit
- Secretly engaging in the behavior
What are the treatment options?
People who suffer from addictive behavior such as exercise addiction may have a hard time acknowledging that there is a problem. Self-control is vital to treating an exercise addiction and needed in order to take the necessary steps to stop it. Logging your daily routine to help you become more mindful of your habits and avoiding excessive trips to the gym may help. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not enough. If you or someone you know needs professional help, do not hesitate to seek it. You are only a step away from leading a healthier mental and physical lifestyle.