Exercise Addiction

Exercise is an enjoyable way to relieve stress and increase energy levels, however, when participation becomes extreme, exercise can turn into an addiction that must be performed every day. If an exercise-addicted person cannot exercise, he or she will experience a great deal of guilt and anxiety over the inactivity.

Symptoms and signs:

  • Exercising to the detriment of every other element of their lives
  • Exercising despite serious physical injuries
  • Missing work, school, and time with loved ones in order to exercise
  • Depression, low self-esteem, repressed anger
  • No matter how much they exercise or achieve in other areas of their lives, they believe they should do more.

    Because some sports demand a certain body type (such as gymnastics or ice skating) or depend on the weight of the athlete (such as wrestling or horse racing), exercise addiction often develops in elite athletes like dancers, ice skaters, gymnasts, jockeys, and wrestlers, in their mission to excel at their sport.

    Exercise addiction is common in anorectics and bulimics, since they think that excessive exercise can help them get thin. Bulimics will often use compulsive exercise as a method of purging.

    Compulsive exercise can cause many painful injuries, such as stress fractures, damaged bones and joints, and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

    The injuries may become more serious as many compulsive exercises will continue their routines despite their injuries.


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