DISORDER OR SYMPTOM?
Exercise is generally a healthy behavior that promotes physical and mental well being. However, some individuals become addicted to physical activity and engage in compulsive, excessive frequent exercise that is extreme and both psychologically and psychosocially impairing. When exercise becomes the most important priority in your life, all other obligations and responsibilities such as families, careers, and social engagements suffer. This addiction is referred to by a variety of names such as exercise dependence, exercise addiction, obligatory exercise, compulsive athleticism, compulsive exercising, and exercise abuse.
People who are addicted to exercise may have various motivations for their behavior, including a desire to control their body weight or shape. Feelings of inexplicable dread set in if exercise is not performed as the need to achieve n exercise-induced endorphin high to get the “endorphin fix” or “runner’s high” becomes life controlling.
Exercise addicts may have a very rigid workout schedule, and compulsively exercise alone to avoid attracting the attention of others, while some will even exercise when sick or injured. This typically leads to other potential problems such as missing work, school, or other social obligations just to exercise.
IF YOU’RE AN ADDICT, HERE’S THE CURE
If you find that you’re addicted to exercise and working out excessively, sustain your current workout frequency but try to cut the volume down by performing shorter workouts. If shortening the duration of your workouts does not help and your family and friends still think you’re obsessed and addicted, then you may want to look into a 12 step program or yourself into rehab.