Can You Become Addicted to Exercise?
Have you ever noticed an avid exerciser at your local gym — someone who is always running on the treadmill for long lengths of time or hovering around the weight room well after others have showered and called it a day. Perhaps you’ve even felt lazy and out of shape by comparison, and have admired this person’s dedication and motivation. But did you ever stop to wonder whether this person’s commitment to exercise might have turned into an addiction?
Recent research is revealing that there is a point at which too much exercise may have detrimental physical and psychological health effects and turn into an addiction. How can you tell if someone may be addicted to exercise?
People addicted to exercise continue to keep going despite injuries, mental issues, social obligations, and physical exhaustion. They may even watch their careers crumble, and their family and friends drift away because exercise is their top priority. In other words, physical activity engulfs an exercise addict’s personal, professional, and social life, and is experienced by the addict as difficult to control or reduce in frequency — even in the face of illness or injury.
It’s difficult to separate healthy exercise from an addiction. A lot of people with a healthy attitude towards exercise choose to become personal trainers, work at a gym, run marathons, and even ultra-marathons. It’s when exercise becomes all consuming — when you start losing friends, forgoing social activities or reneging work opportunities — that your workout schedule becomes cause for concern. For most of us exercise is great for the body, the soul, and the mind. But for a limited number, it can turn into an addiction.
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