Who is at Risk for Exercise Addiction?

While exercising is important and good, getting addicted to it is not cool because even when the body is in pain, someone addicted to exercise still feels like working out.

This content will give you the information you need on who is at risk for exercise addiction. Read till the last dot to get the whole details.

Who is at Risk for Exercise Addiction
Who is at Risk for Exercise Addiction

Overview: Who is at Risk for Exercise Addiction?

Before we get to find out who is at risk for exercise addiction, let’s talk about what exercise Addiction is.

What is exercise addiction?

Exercise addiction is a situation where you have a constant desire to work out or engage in physical fitness and exercise.  It can also be said to be an obsession one has for exercise. That is to say, when someone is addicted to exercise, the person always wants to engage in exercise no matter what.

Most often, people get addicted to exercise because of body image disorders as well as eating disorders. People addicted to exercise show the same traits as people addicted to other things will do.

Here are some of the traits of addiction:

  • Obsession behavior
  • Engaging in the behavior even when it causes physical harm
  • Engaging in the behavior even though there is a desire to stop
  • Engaging in the behavior secretly

When you exercise, there is a release of some chemicals in the nervous system and the chemicals makes one have a feeling of pleasure or reward.

Exercise addiction may cause extreme weight loss as well as health conditions related to weight loss.

So now let’s get to know the causes of Exercise addiction.

What causes exercise addiction?

When you exercise endorphins and dopamine are released. These are the same neurotransmitters released when someone is using drugs.

Someone who is addicted to exercise feels reward as well as joy when engaging in exercises and when they stop the exercise, the neurotransmitters go away.  To trigger the release of the chemicals, an exercise addict needs to engage in more exercises.

Addiction to exercise starts mostly with the desire for physical fitness. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia can as well result in an unhealthy obsession with exercise. A body dysmorphic disorder, or body image disorder can also result in exercise addiction.

Who is at risk for exercise addiction?

People who are bothered with staying in shape are at risk of getting addicted to exercise. Also, people that are overweight and begin their weight loss journey with extreme weight loss regimens may get addicted to exercise.

Researchers at the University of Southern California speculate that about 15 percent of those addicted to exercise are as well addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, or illicit drugs and an estimated 25 percent may have other addictions like sex addiction or shopping addiction.

In some cases, those who were formerly addicted to drugs or those who abuse alcohol decide to engage in exercises as a replacement for their past addiction.

Symptoms of exercise addiction?

Here are the symptoms of exercise addiction:

  • Feeling buzzed after exercising
  • Having the signs of withdrawal after long periods of no exercise
  • Having uncontrollable eagerness to exercise
  • Reduction of activities in other areas of life in order to have more time for exercising.
  • To spend long periods of time preparing for as well as recovering from exercise
  • Being unable to keep up with a decreased exercise routine

How exercise addiction is diagnosed?

It is not easy to detect exercise addiction. Most of the people addicted to exercise don’t think there is anything wrong with their being addicted to exercise.

The diagnosis is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and this means no specific diagnostic criteria are available to be used for its diagnosis.

When someone has an enhanced desire for fitness and reduced social activity this might show that the person is addicted to exercise.

In order to know if your exercise patterns are normal, the doctor may ask you to keep a journal of your workout routines as well as social activities.

Treatment options for exercise addiction?

Most of the time, self-control is the treatment required for you if you are addicted to exercise. First, if you are addicted to exercise just like every other addict to any other thing will do, you need to accept that you have a problem and then take the right steps that will help you control your exercise activities.

If you are addicted to exercise, you may need to stop engaging in exercises for some time so that you will be able to control the desire you always get to exercise.

How to prevent exercise addiction?

For you to avoid getting addicted to exercise, you need to avoid going to the gym excessively because if you go to the gym excessively, you will always want to work out and this might then get you addicted to exercise.

Another thing you need to do to prevent getting addicted to exercise is to curtail your workout time and the exercises you engage in daily.

You can as well take breaks from exercising for a week so that your body can get the needed rest. If you find out you are becoming addicted to exercise or have a desire for exercise all the time, you can talk to your doctor so you will know what to do about it.

Long-term outlook?

Addiction to exercise can be treated with mental as well as physical dedication. People who are addicted to exercise should stay away from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, as well as other substances that they can get addicted to.

How serious the condition is will determine how long it will take to correct it.


With the information here on who is at risk for exercise addiction, you will get it done right to avoid getting addicted to exercise.

So, while you engage in exercise activities, remember to take part in social activities too so it will be balanced so you don’t get addicted to them.

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