What is Exercise Addiction: Signs, Facts and Causes?

Making exercise a big part of your life is fantastic. It is mind-boosting and has multiple beneficial effects on our mind, body, heart, and liver. The fact that it can be hazardous to us seems preposterous. But when your ‘want for exercise’ overpowers your ‘like for exercise’, that’s when addiction strikes.

What is Exercise addiction?

It is a compulsive disorder to exercise excessively and obsessively and unable to resist doing it. For those with exercise addiction, working out is the happiest time of their day. An exercise addict gets hooked on the idea of staying fit and ultimately this causes significant physical and psychological damage along with eating disorders.


Signs you are at risk of exercise addiction?

    1.1 Your Workout or training comes before your health

You no longer have a balanced workout program that gives you time to rest and recover. To make matters worse, you hardly eat anymore. The days when you started working out to stay fit and only to maintain a healthy lifestyle are long gone. You are not afraid of working out even when you are sick or when your body aches to stop.

      1.2 Your Workout and responsibilities part ways

The compulsion to exercise interferes with your normal life. You cut back from the other essential elements of life. You get a sense of satisfaction only by pushing yourself harder and more. Over time, it takes over your ability to perform better professionally. You can no longer find yourself meeting deadlines because your energy is already drained out in the gym.

     1.3 You evaluate yourself based on your workout

You attach your self-worth based on your physique. Having a fitness goal isn’t fundamentally wrong. But when you look at yourself only from the perspective of how much progress you make in achieving your fitness goal, you fill yourself with hatred, anger, and disgust, upon not achieving it. Your life centres around the gain you make at your gym which leads to depression and agitation, to cling onto your life.

      1.4 Exercise is an escape for you

Exercise is surely a way to combat depression and anxiety and give you that ‘feel good factor’. But you feed your addiction more and more when you run away from uncomfortable emotions or situations in your life that are brought upon you. You no longer take advantage of the benevolence that exercise has to offer to reduce stress or to have a balanced mind, you rather consider it as an escape.

What causes exercise addiction?

  • An exercise addict feels joy during or immediately after exercising. This is due to the neurotransmitters endorphins and dopamine. These chemicals are released while exercising. Someone, who has an exercise addiction feels the need to exercise more and more to trigger these chemicals.


Exercise addiction hasn’t yet been recognized as a mental health disorder. Nevertheless, its consequences are still devastating. Therapy has proved to be an effective way to overcome compulsive disorders and to alter negative thoughts into positive ones.

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