What is exercise addiction?

Exercise addiction is marked by obsessive, compulsive tendencies to exercise to the point that it causes dysfunction within someone’s life. It often accompanies an eating disorder. Signs and symptoms of exercise addiction include unhealthy increases in training volume, dependence on exercise to attain euphoria (through endorphin release), and showing withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, tension, loss of appetite, insomnia, and headaches following lack of exercise.

Judi Hollis
Health Education

Watch as Dr. Judi Hollis discusses exercise addiction.

I did not know there was such a thing as exercise addiction! But I guess as with anything there is such a thing as too much. Perhaps exercise also falls under the phrase "Too much of a good thing ain't good for you." 

I think that exercise would be considered an addiction when its something that you just have to do no matter what else needs to be done.  When you put exercise above the more important things in your life and neglect other responsibilities then it could be an addiction.

Engaging in exercise is a healthy behavior that promotes health and an overall sense of well-being. However, exercise addicts may neglect family, friends, work or social events to workout. According to the American Psychiatric Association, exercise dependence is not recognized as a primary disorder. Moreover, excessive exercise or addiction is known to be a symptom of bulimia nervosa (binge eating -consuming a large amount of food in a 2 hour time frame) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Seek professional or medical assistance if you or someone you know maybe experiencing these symptoms. I hope this helps.

Continue Learning about Substance Abuse and Addiction

Investigator: Prince Died of Opioid Overdose
Investigator: Prince Died of Opioid Overdose
Singer Prince died of an opioid overdose, an anonymous law enforcement official told reporters in June. He was 57 when he passed away on April 21, 201...
Read More
Why has there been a rise in the use of opioids?
Eric Egeler, PharmDEric Egeler, PharmD
There has been a rise in the use of opioids because a federal government policy asked the medical co...
More Answers
What is addiction?
Dr. Mike Dow, PsyDDr. Mike Dow, PsyD
There are 2 physical hallmarks of addiction: tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is needing more and...
More Answers
Can Accountability Help Recovering Addicts?
Can Accountability Help Recovering Addicts?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.