Home > Common Addictions > Beating an Addiction to Exercise

Beating an Addiction to Exercise

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 7 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Exercise; Routine; Punnishing;

Exercise occurs when the individual places most of their emphasis on the exercise routines. The thought of missing a session or spending time on other activities becomes frustrating and disappointing even to the point of becoming angry. Exercise addiction becomes the focal point of everyday life coming before family, friends and employment. It is often associated with eating disorders as weight and calories become an issue.

How Does It Happen?

It is a rare disorder but can occur as people find themselves achieving a ‘high’ after exercising. This grows into feelings of self appreciation when completing a punishing regime. The feeling of euphoria gradually becomes less and less until the routine becomes a gruelling task that MUST be achieved to gain satisfaction.

Exercise addiction is becoming increasingly accepted as a legitimate addiction and experts are finding convincing research indicating that the effects on the brain are very similar to those experienced by sufferers of substance addiction.

Beating The Addiction

As with all addictions, motivation and determination are key to achieving success.

Keep a strict diary to see when exercise is taken; it helps to see it in black and white how much exercise is being done.Decide on activities to fill your spare time and STICK to them.

It is very difficult to overcome any addiction without some external help so seek counselling if needed, also speak to your GP about managing depression and anxiety. Giving-up an addiction can cause feelings similar to bereavement.

Try deep relaxation or meditation for helping manage stress. This will also help to control breathing and regulate the heart rate and manage anxieties caused by giving-up your addiction.

Try amending your exercise routine to other unfamiliar activities such as yoga or pilates; these are less demanding exercises that will also help introduce you back into a social circle.

Take every day individually and congratulate yourself for each day that you have control over your exercise regime.

Distance yourself from like-minded individuals who may be unsupportive and want you to continue training.

Set realistic goals and reward yourself every time you achieve one.

Do not weigh yourself more often than once or twice a month.

Re-educate your mind to issues of pain; pain exists to tell us something is wrong. Most injuries are exacerbated by heavy exercising; most exercise addicts ignore their pain.

Take walks in the fresh air, borrow a friends dog or children so running is not optional. Make these occasions pleasurable and educational, stopping to take photos, draw pictures or discuss nature. This is a perfect way of keeping fit and enjoying quality time.

Talk to your Gym and find out about other classes or team sports you can play when you have overcome your addiction. This way, efforts are limited and training is done at set times as a team. This is also good for your social life.

Taking the Addiction to Exercise Seriously

Exercise addiction can be as worrying a problem as substance abuse and should be taken just as seriously. Severe injuries can result from over-exercising as most sufferers punish themselves for experiencing pain and work thorough it and ignore it.

As with all addictions, therapy from a qualified professional may be the most beneficial option if self-help measures are failing.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Jils
    Re: Addiction to Shopping
    I buy things to make myself feel better, ie low esteem, anxiety and depression,I shopfor clothes that after a week I don't want, I've had…
    22 July 2020
  • Dr Bob
    Re: Medical Help to Beat an Addiction
    FAO: John re Codeine addiction. As someone who has suffered from codeine addiction, I hope this helps; or, at least, will…
    18 July 2020
  • peeps
    Re: Addiction to Shopping
    I have a shopping addiction, I buy stuff and sneak it in the house and put it in my wardrobe with the labels still on, I have lied to my…
    13 July 2020
  • Weasel
    Re: How to Assess The Level of an Addiction
    I hope this isn't seen as trivial, as to me it really matters. I am addicted to sugar. I have had two addictions in…
    8 July 2020
  • Kat
    Re: How to Assess The Level of an Addiction
    I amaadicted to spending and now im in debt. Where can i find help to stop spending
    7 July 2020
  • taylor100
    Re: Medical Help to Beat an Addiction
    I have a problem with addiction. I smoked a lot cannabis for a long time. Toyed with LSD for a bit , that ended badly, which…
    12 May 2020
  • Leanne
    Re: Is my Son Addicted to Shopping?
    My son has been diagnosed with a shopping obsession but I feel it is an addiction as he has to physically buy things to feel…
    10 May 2020
  • Kev
    Re: Recognising Alcohol Addiciton
    I've always been quite an active person, and my job requires me to be at a certain standard of fitness, I've always drunk quite…
    4 May 2020
  • Gaby
    Re: Beating an Addiction to Drugs
    Hello, I need some advice/help.. its quite urgent and really need some help. The problem we have is rehab is around 6k or 12k a…
    27 February 2020
  • A.M1166
    Re: Beating an Addiction to Chocolate
    I have been addicted to various substances for as long as I can remember, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin,…
    27 February 2020