Exercise has many health benefits, but what happens when take your exercise routine to an extreme level? Did you know that exercise can become an addiction? Let’s take a look at the warning signs of exercise addiction.
According to an article at home.bt.com, “Signs of Exercise Addiction”
We live in a health-conscious society where we’re told over and over how important exercise is to our overall wellbeing. Those endless #gethealthy and #personalbest posts on social media posts with people showing off their gym-honed bodies don’t help either.
Lucy Mecklenburgh has spoken about her addiction to exercise (Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
However, exercise addiction can often go under the radar because it isn’t officially listed as a disorder. As Chris Hall, a nutritionist and personal trainer and founder of Hall Training Systems, puts it: “Exercise addiction isn’t currently recognized as an illness but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a real problem – it can have severe physical and mental effects.”
But could over-exercising be a sign of addiction? Celebrities like Lucy Mecklenburgh have spoken about their battle with the obsession with fitness, but how do you know if you’ve overstepped the mark?
Here are the signs to look out for.
1. You lie about how many times you visit the gym
You might skip work because you want to exercise
“You would be likely to turn down social events to exercise, or even skip work,” says Hall. “As the individual spends more and more time on their exercise, their relationships can begin to suffer.
“It’s not uncommon for individuals to lie about their activity to hide how much they are exercising, and begin to alter their thinking habits to justify their workouts.”
2. You exercise to relieve stress
Exercise addiction might have a strong link with other addictive disorders, such as body dysmorphia
Fitness blogger Carrie Arnold has written candidly about how workouts and gyms dominated her life.
“I started exercising regularly when I entered college,” she wrote on Psychology Today. “My initial goal was fitness and stress relief – nothing to do with weight loss. As the stresses of college began to pile up, exercise provided one of my only ways to relieve the pressure.
“I didn’t cross the line into exercise addiction until the onset of my eating disorder. If I ended up eating ‘extra’, well, I also felt compelled to exercise to relieve the anxiety I had over those few extra calories.”
Hall explains: “There is a strong link with addictive disorders. Exercise addiction is most often seen in those who suffer from an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, or those who are obsessed with a healthy diet. It is also common in those who suffer from a body image disorder, such as body dysmorphia.”
3. You judge your day as good (or bad) depending on whether you’ve exercised
Sufferers exercise to escape negative feelings
Basically, your life depends on exercise. And no one knows this better than Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, who has written extensively on exercise addiction and developed the Exercise Addiction Inventory.
“Addicts do not simply exercise to experience the joy of it,” he says. “It is rather to escape negative, unpleasant feelings and everyday difficulties.” To read the entire article click here.