Exercise addiction is a state characterised by a compulsive engagement in any form of physical exercise, despite negative consequences. While regular exercise is generally a healthy activity, exercise addiction generally involves performing excessive amounts of exercise to the detriment of physical health, spending too much time exercising to the detriment of personal and professional life, and exercising regardless of physical injury. It may also involve a state of dependence upon regular exercise which involves the occurrence of severe withdrawal symptoms when the individual is unable to exercise.Differentiating between addictive and healthy exercise behaviours is difficult but there are key factors in determining which category a person may fall into.
What are the signs of Exercise Addiction?
- An increase in exercise that may be labelled as detrimental, or becomes harmful.
- A desire to experience euphoria; exercise may be increased as tolerance of the euphoric state increases.
- Severe withdrawal symptoms following exercise deprivation including anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches.
- Exercising through trauma and despite physical injuries.