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Signs of Exercise Addiction

How to Tell If You're an Exercise Addict

I've heard myself tell people, "I'm addicted to running," but really what I mean is I love it. I crave hitting the trails and pavement because of how good running makes me feel, both during and after a workout. I shouldn't throw my words around so lightly though, because exercise addiction is a real condition. There's a big difference between running complementing your life and running being your life.

Learn the signs of an exercise addiction when you


  • The intensity, duration, and/or frequency of your workouts are above and beyond the recommended 30 minutes a day.
  • You're compulsive about getting in a workout, regardless of other commitments, the weather, or personal pains or injuries.
  • You're fanatical about keeping track of your progress (distance, calories burned, mileage, etc.) in an exercise journal, and are obsessive about meeting or exceeding goals that are often above your physical abilities.
  • You feel guilty or anxious when you miss a workout, and beat yourself up about it.
  • You constantly talk, read, research, and think about exercise.

There's nothing wrong with needing to go for a run or craving a good yoga session for your physical and emotional well-being, but when exercise begins to have negative effects on your spirit and your body, then it's time to get some help. Talk to your doctor, a personal trainer, a therapist, or a fellow exerciser if these signs sound familiar.

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warriorsaint warriorsaint 5 years
At one point in my life I did capoeira (martial art) 4 evenings a week. I knew I was in trouble when I got (another) cortisone injection in my shoulder and then trained that night. After an exhausting trainng vacation in Brazil I was thoroughly burned out, cranky, and an insominiac.. I now teach and take Pilates and do the occasional capoeira class. Sure feel alot better!
Beckafit Beckafit 5 years
I'm an exercise addict and am perfectly ok with it!
Jody76 Jody76 6 years
Believe it or not, there is thing called way too much exercise. And it can be a problem. Especially more prone to injuries (knees, hips, ankles, hip, and etc.). But there's no need to worry about working out 6 days a week (or even 7), as long as you know a short-long day type routine. Every other day I do a long day (90 minutes) and others in between I'll only go 45-60 minutes.
RunningOnCoffee RunningOnCoffee 6 years
I guess according to this criteria, I'm an addict too. -For the past month or so, I've been exercising 4-4.5 hours a week. -I guess I'm compulsive about my workouts, as I schedule them in -- so yes, I work around other commitments, and weather is no excuse not to run unless it's too cold (<15), too icy, or too hot (90+) -I keep track of my progress via my Garmin Forerunner and upload all my major workouts to Garmin Connect -I feel a little anxious when I miss a workout, mostly if it's while training for a half marathon -And I read about running... I subscribe to Runner's World, I read running blogs, and other "health" related sites such as this one.
deafitmom4 deafitmom4 7 years
Its impossible to feel good with JUST 30 mins of exercise! You need MORE to feel that you actually had a great workout. 30 mins of exercise is like eating a bagful of cookies--you feel like you have cheated yourself, and feel absolutely lousy and you beat yourself up about it. When I go for a 2 mi walk with a friend who doesn't exercise, I have to slow down for her, and by the time we are done, I don't feel like I have accomplished anything, but better than NOT doing anything at all. So I make up for it the next day by doing a longer cardio, or more intense workout. If I don't get a workout in, sure I'll moan and groan about it, be in a bad mood for the rest of the day, but that doesn't make me an addict. Working out is "me time", I need time away from my 4 kids&hubs, time to unload stress, time to feel good, so does that make me an addict, or any of us? You are an addict if you eat, breath, and drink exercise, with no time for other things in your life. Other than that, 60-90 mins of exercise 3-5 times a week is the perfect plan in my book, with much time left in your life for work, family, spiritual, and recreational activities, PERIOD. But 30 mins?? That's a laugh!
livewell360 livewell360 7 years
I think that ultimately, it's not about the number of minutes you exercise per day or week. Whether or not something like exercise is helpful or hurtful really just depends on how you feel about it and WHY you do it. If you exercise because you feel like you have to, and you feel really really bad about yourself and your body if you don't, then it is hurtful, but if you exercise because it makes you feel good, inspired, and alive!, but you still feel ok about youself if you take a couple days off, because you know it's not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, then you're ok. It's easy to get caught up in the details, research, etc but the bottom line is, only YOU know the answer for you, you just have to stop and listen for it.
secretagentspy secretagentspy 7 years
I agree with all above I'm considered an addict! Ridiculous!
dania_r dania_r 7 years
I think 30 minutes isnt enough... so im a addict!;)
Spectra Spectra 7 years
30 minutes a day is about the bare minimum they recommend for cardio health. For people that have lost a lot of weight and want to keep it off, they say that 60-90 minutes is more like what you need. I usually do 90 minutes or so of cardio a day, plus strength training. It doesn't interfere with my life, but I really do miss it if I don't get my workout in.
missyd missyd 7 years
Yeah I'm pretty much in agreement with everyone above. I have this one friend, though, that is SO FRIGGING ANNOYING about his working out/fitness. Its all he ever talks about/post on facebook (I had to 'hide' him on my facebook cause it was nauseating), reads about etc. He's not exactly 'modest' about his accomplishments either. He used to be pretty overweight, so I think losing it and getting in good shape has become his life. I wish he'd realize though - his life is not EVERY ONE'S life. No one wants to listen to you talk about your weight lifting or running 24/7. He sees nothing else and never asks how anyone else is. Him him him, and his fitness. TRES annoying. I honestly believe he has a problem.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Haha, so according to this I need to contact F.A. Fitness anonymous. lol. But losing weight and training for a race doesn't come easy!! lol. However, I don't track my every move as often as I would like to, and I would never run when injured.
Berzerker Berzerker 7 years
Anon 15 sounds allot like myself as a teen: I even once ran over an hour on a sprained knee (Caused by running) and was so weak I couldn't even hop on one foot, but somehow would still push myself out the door, otherwise that night I would have nightmares all night about missing a workout. I also was dangerously underweight and had no period for years; Fortunately I was able to snap myself out of it - I can't even remember how, but I still have a weak left knee and sometimes miss periods to this day. So, I believe it is a real condition; Once exercise starts to interfere with your life and is damaging your health, rather than improving it.
TammyO TammyO 7 years
I don't think I'm addicted to exercise...but I can't do JUST 30 minutes on a workout. I might do 30 minutes of only stairs and then do maybe another 30 minutes to something else. But I just feel like 30 minutes is not long enough for me.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 7 years
Ya baby, I am all those and I am alright with that! I make exercise a part of my day, it doesn't REPLACE things in my day.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I think it becomes an unhealthy addiction if it negatively interferes with your life. Based on the above, every triathlete I know would be an "addict."
Spartygirl03 Spartygirl03 7 years
perhaps the mental health industry came up with these guidelines because if everyone who fit this criteria actually went to a doctor to 'get help' then they'd all be millionaires and have more patients than they could handle!
michlny michlny 7 years
3 outta the clear :)
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