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Exercise Addiction: A Compulsive Habit Going Unnoticed

Even if you find yourself working out at the gym on a daily basis and notice yourself feel a loss of control if you miss a specific time for exercising, you still may not jump to the conclusion of assuming you have an exercise addiction. The severity behind the dependency is usually unseen as well, because working out is typically viewed as healthy. At what point does exercise become an unhealthy addiction then?

Exercise Addiction

The major difference between an overly active fitness trainee and someone suffering from an exercise addiction is that the addict feels compelled and unhealthily obsessed with working out. It may become so severe that it comes between work, family, or relationship commitments. Anxiety can even form when the habit isn’t consistent or if the exerciser misses part of their regimen. An exercise addiction may even overlap with an eating disorder, especially if the addict is exercising out of guilt and shame. There are other physical aspects to an exercise addiction as well. After the body adjusts to a routine of demanding exercise and the person stops their regular maintenance, withdrawals may actually occur. The exerciser may grow depressed, in addition to feeling weak and exhausted.

Exercise addiction remains difficult to see in both other people and the eye of the beholder. Working out can often be seen as a stress reliever. Adding more confusion, it has similar symptoms to other addictive substances and behaviors. As previously stated, exercising is put on a pedestal by many, so believing that the obsession can be negative can be challenging to grasp. It’s even true that working out can alleviate anxiety and depression. However, even good things can be bad when taken in excess. A good tip would be to create a workout routine that offers flexibility and isn’t focused on one particular exclusive type of exercise. Variety is said to reduce the addictive aspect when it comes to an exercise addiction.

Seeing results can be addicting. When you work out you may feel better on a day to day basis because of how you may feel better about yourself, knowing that you were motivated enough to even get to the gym. Then over time, you may notice results of weight loss, toning, or muscle gain, and feel even better about yourself. Just seeing that you were the person who had control to physically make a change in yourself can trigger you to want to keep going and do more. When this happens, an allergy can be sparked and your work out routine can transform itself into an exercise addiction that wraps you so far in an unhealthy trance that you can’t seem to pull yourself out of.

Just like anything else in life, balance is key. Make sure that you have balance in your life when it comes to family, friends, work, exercise, eating, and living in general. Without balance a trigger to excessive working out, drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, shopping addiction, gambling, or even a sex addiction can be sparked. If you think your exercise routine has gotten out of control, try seeking help from a professional to see what underlying mental health conditions might be blocking you off from living a healthy balanced life.

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