5 Warning Signs of an Exercise Addiction
It's beneficial to be committed to healthy living and choose to make fitness an integral part of your routine, but that passion for fitness could turn into an exercise addiction if you are susceptible to disordered eating behaviors. Being physically active is important for stress reduction, balanced emotions, hormone regulation, and optimal body functions. However, fitness can become more harmful than helpful when the need to work out feels driven by compulsion instead of enjoyment and wellbeing ("Compulsive Exercising"). Here are some indicators that your passion for exercise has turned into an exercise addiction—or an extension of your eating disorder.
5 Exercise Addiction Warning Signs
If any of the following behaviors describe your current relationship with fitness, it would be advisable to seek out both treatment and support for a possible addiction to exercise.
- You continue to workout in the midst of an illness or injury. When the body is in a weakened state, the immune system's functions are amplified in order to heal the infected or injured area. But when you decide to workout simultaneously, the immune system is forced to overexert itself which can deter the healing process and lead to more severe complications. If you are willing to risk your health just for the sake of a fitness routine, this is problematic.
- You prioritize fitness over social activities or work obligations. In order to experience the most vitality in life, you need to find a balance of well-rounded pursuits and activities. This means to invest in relationships, actualize career goals, undertake new hobbies, and practice self-care. But if drastic amounts of time are spent exercising and these other commitments are sacrificed or overlooked, both your professional and personal spheres will suffer as a result.
- You feel anxiety or remorse when you're unable to exercise. There will be instances when a vacation, work deadline, family matter, or situation outside your control might prevent you from squeezing in a workout. This is normal for even the most serious and dedicated athletes, but if you feel an extreme sense of guilt whenever your fitness routine is postponed, that's often an indication that your mind and body are dependent on the chemical "high" of working out.
- You compensate for eating with intense, rigorous movement. One common eating disorder tendency is to punish the body with exercise instead of using it to build stamina and strength. Physical activity should be approached as a ritual for wellness, not a form of abuse. So if you tend to work out after a meal to purge the calories you just consumed and numb the discomfort of eating, then fitness has become another means and deprive yourself of nourishment ("Compulsive Exercise in Eating Disorders").
- You don't allow time for the body to recover post-workout. Rest is a crucial aspect of any fitness routine because this enables the body to restore its depleted reserves of energy, and it fortifies the muscles, tissues, bones or nerves that were exerted during your workout. When you don't allow for an adequate recovery process to occur, this is known as overtraining, and it will increase the likelihood of both injury and fatigue the next time you exercise.
Schurrer, M. (2018, November 28). 5 Warning Signs of an Exercise Addiction, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2018/11/5-warning-signs-of-an-exercise-addiction