Woman Addicted to Exercise Works out 8 Hours a Day
Think not getting is the only problem Americans face? People who may be troubled as well. When time is stripped from work, family, and friends to excessively exercise, addiction may be to blame.
Gimme a Break — Why It Matters
This isno addiction: 47 percent of American adults suffer some type of addictive disorder, and exercise can be one of themPrevalence of the addictions: a problem of the majority or the minority? Sussman, S., Lisha, N., Friffiths, M. Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA. Evaluation &the HealthProfessions,2011Mar;34(1):3-56..Inonestudywithinvoluntaryparticipants(read:rats),theonesthatweredeprivedoffoodvoluntarilyranthelongestanddisplayedsymptomssimilartoheroinwithdrawalRunningandaddiction:precipitatedwithdrawalinaratmodelofactivity-basedanorexia.Kanarke,R.B.,D’Anci,K.E.,Jurdak,N.,etal.DepartmentofPsychology,TuftsUniversity,Medford,MA.BehavioralNeuroscience,2009Aug;123(4):905-12..Researchersconcludedthattoomuchexercisemaybesimilartodrugabuseand,insomecases,linkedtoeatingdisorders.Infact,nearlyhalfofexerciseaddictshavereportedhavinganeatingdisorder,andareaddictedtoalcoholordrugsExercise"addiction"inanorexianervosa:modeldevelopmentandpilotdata.Klein,D.A.,Bennett,A.S.,Schebendach,J.,etal.DepartmentofPsychiatry,CollegeofPhysiciansandSurgeons,ColumbiaUniversity,NewYork,NY.CNSSpectrums,2004Jul;9(7):531-7..
Obligatory Exercise — Your Action Plan
But what exactly defines too much exercise? To help diagnose addiction, researchers into six warning signs:
- Tolerance.Is that five-mile run no longer challenging? How about those 20 burpees? Having to increase exercise to extreme amounts to feel accomplished may be a sign of addiction. There is a difference between an increased level of fitness and over-exercising.
- Withdrawal.Does skipping the gym lead to feeling anxious, moody, or make it hard to at night? Taking a break from working out shouldn’t be stressful, so take note if a day off actually creates excessive restlessness.
- Lack of control.Feeling the need to run a daily marathon? Taking a break and putting away the weights shouldn’t be a problem, so be aware if it becomes impossible to stay away from the gym.
- Intention.Today’s workout plan said 50 minutes of yoga, so why tack on an extra hour of running? Going well beyond the workout plan can be a sign of addiction, especially if it becomes a consistent problem.
- Time.Can’t make the dinner date because of an extended workout? Late to work because that post-workout went a little too long? Another exercise addiction red flag is when working out takes away from relationships and obligations.
- Continuance.Do we still hit the gym even if excessive exercise is sparking emotional and physical distress? Continuing to push through workouts even though we know it’s harmful to our physical and mental health is an addiction warning sign.
Although the signs may be clear, there is on exercise addiction treatment. Yet researchers suggest abstaining from exercise entirely isnotthe way to beat addiction. Instead, working out in moderation or trying a new form of exercise may help control the amount of exercise performed. Try swapping swimming for , or for a day of heavy lifting.
And stick to what the professionals say: The amount of exercise recommended for adults is150 minutes of aerobic activity a week, with two or three days of in the mix. and recovering are also important and can help in the long run. So remember to take a break— the roads, dumbbells, and yoga mats will still be there in the morning.
Do you ever find yourself working out too much? What are your tips to slowing down and letting the body recover?
Photo by Aleksandra Flora
This article has been read and approved by Greatist Experts and .
Video: Addicted to Working Out
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