Exercise Addiction – Sound familiar?

Since we got home last night and I got quite a bit of sleep, I was feeling pretty good this morning and I decided instead of a day off, I would run a practice 5K. Nothing crazy, I just wanted to get my legs moving a bit faster and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to because it’s been so hot.

I ran the first mile in 9:47, the second in 9:06 and the last in 8:53 with the final .10 at a pace of 8:13.

Total time 28:37

It wasn’t bad but it is definitely nowhere near my best. Fortunately I realize that it’s really hard to run fast in the summer in Florida so I don’t stress about it too much. That being said, I am going to be doing some speedwork again. I think I’m used to the heat now and I’m ready for it…as long as I keep the runs short!

As I was getting ready to head out this morning I said goodbye to MacGyver and he said, “Goodbye exercise addict.”


I am so not an exercise addict! What the hell? So, I spend a good 10 minutes giving him a piece of my mind and explaining all of the reasons why I am not addicted to exercise. You know, like how I hate swimming and I don’t really particularly like strength training and how I never want to go on bike rides with him and that I really just like running.

Even God Rested

But when I was out running I started to think about it and why would he even think such a thing…And then I came home and did what any red-blooded person with an internet connection does and I googled it.

So, what exactly is an exercise addiction?

I found a lot of information on the internet regarding exercise addiction and the symptoms of it but it seems to involve 3 main symptoms which are:

Making Exercise your number one priority

People with an exercise addiction will place such importance on exercise that they will often skip social functions, miss work or workout longer. If exercise was once something you liked to do and now something you feel like you have to do, it could be a problem.

Being depressed or upset because you can’t exercise

Working out releases endorphins and anyone who has seen Legally Blonde knows that endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands…but seriously, exercise releases endorphins which boost your mood, so of course, it makes you happy. Adversely, when you don’t exercise you may not feel as happy. If you are addicted to exercise, not working out may leave you angry, depressed or beating yourself up over it.

Exercising even when it’s painful

What’s the saying, no pain, no gain? Playing a full game of soccer with the stomach flu or running 10 miles with a stress fracture is not a good idea but the exercise addict does it anyway. Exercise addicts push themselves to the point where their bodies fight back and their performance suffers but they refuse to take a day off because the thought of it terrifies them. They do not give their bodies sufficient time to rest and recover.

Over Exercising

Exercise addiction can also be coupled with other addictions such as disordered eating and body dysmorphic disorder. It also tends to be more common in runners than in other sports.

I can see where MacGyver might think that I run a lot but after doing my research I can safely say that I am not an exercise addict but that being said, I do think that there are times when I walk a fine line and I have been known to overdo it. I’m also pretty sure that some of the runners I know may be addicted to exercise.

Moving forward I’ve decided to evaluate my exercise habits at least once a month just to keep myself in check because while I think it’s good to hold yourself accountable to exercise and eat right, I think it’s also wise to hold yourself accountable to rest and recover.

What do you think? Do you think you have an exercise addition?

Do you know someone who has an exercise addiction?

Do you think exercise addiction is real?

9 thoughts on “Exercise Addiction – Sound familiar?

  1. I may be borderline obsessed… Haha! But my husband is a workout junkie so at least he can’t say anything to me about my “issue”..
    There are much worse things to be addicted to..

  2. 20+ years ago I had a phase that got me through a bad bout of heartbreak and in the best shape I’ve ever been in. While all I did was work and exercise, it was actually just what I needed at that time.

  3. I did have an exercise addiction from about 2003 – 2009. It started innocently enough where I realized that when I worked out, I was able to escape the sheer sadness I was having over my mom dying of cancer. It turned into 2 hours per day every day for years. Lots of injuries, lots of giving up fun things to go workout, lots of stress when I could not work out. I finally decided I was over it and it’s not been easy but it’s been so worth it. I am now able to take 1-2 complete rest days per week and I only workout 45 minutes to an hour (sometimes an hour 15 if I spend extra time on weights). I know I can still fall back into it…I mean, I do love to workout and it makes me feel awesome and it will always be a healthy way for me to deal with stress, but I remember how sad and lonely those years were and I really never want to be that person again. I can’t say I regret it because I live my life with no regrets, but I learned from it.

    Thanks for posting about a very important topic.

    • Wow, Susan thank you so much for opening up and sharing. I do think this is a problem for several people and I know I tend to lean toward obsessive behavior as a sufferer of OCD so I try to be aware of my habits and tendancies and ‘pick my battles’ if you will. That being said, I also have a hard time admitting when I’m going overboard and I admire you so much for overcoming and working through such a tough time. I’m sure you are so much stronger for it and I for one am proud of you. 🙂

    • I must admit, I have. But I’ve also known some runners who are. I think it’s like all things, moderation is key and some people just can’t moderate 😉

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