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Exercise Addiction: How to Tell If You Can't Stop

Exercise addiction can be tricky to identify. Exercise is generally thought of as a healthy activity. When you work out regularly, you experience greater strength, energy and an emotional boost. It is possible, however, to become addicted to exercise. What was formerly a healthy activity can turn into an unhealthy addiction, damaging your body, your emotional well-being and even your social relationships.

The Impact of Exercise on Mood

Exercise causes physiological changes in your body that make you feel happier. Many runners become addicted to what is known as a “runner’s high.” This feeling is not limited to just runners. You may feel this after an aerobics class, cycling for hours, hiking a steep mountain or any activity that raises your heart rate. When does exercise turn into an addiction?

How to Identify an Exercise Addiction

Some people find that they get addicted to this feeling of happiness. They want to exercise all the time and don’t feel happy unless they do. This is often a sign of exercise addiction. If you find that you don’t get pleasure from any other aspects in life besides exercise, this might be a sign that what was a previously a healthy activity is now a form of addiction.

One of the ways to determine if you are addicted to exercise is to examine other aspects of your life. Are you avoiding spending time with your loved ones, choosing exercise over them? Are there any hobbies that you have neglected to engage in because you are spending too much time exercising? Do you exercise even if you are feeling sick or fatigued?

How To Deal with Exercise Addiction

If you find that you’re suffering from exercise addiction, it might be time to scale back. Try to spend more time with family and friends, and get involved in community activities. Try to invest time in other hobbies that you enjoy. If you find that the compulsion to exercise is too overwhelming, consider consulting with a professional counselor.

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