How to Tell if You Are Addicted to Exercise

Even something as healthy as exercise can be bad for you – here’s how to figure out if your relationship with working out might be problematic

Doing anything excessively can be harmful. Even exercise.

It can be really difficult to notice the signs, because we live in a culture that glorifies being thin – so when we exercise and lose weight, people praise us. They rarely ask if we are exercising too much. And yes, addiction to exercise is a thing.

Every day there seems to be a new fitness vlogger telling us how to achieve the “perfect” bod – which doesn’t actually exist because your body is already perfect. Often, these narratives are based around pushing your body to its absolute limits.

If we just ran an extra mile, or lifted heavier weights, apparently we would be healthier and happier.

Inspirational quotes are plastered over Instagram telling us to exercise hard: things like “no pain, no gain,” or “pain is weakness leaving the body”. Right, let’s be clear here. If your body is in pain and you cannot exercise that is a sign you should stop and rest. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Constantly putting your body through extreme exercise and pain can actually be pretty bad for you. I know this seems really hard to believe, but if you don’t let your body recover between exercise it can lead to physical injuries and even illness.

Over-exercising can also negatively impact your mental health. Again, this might be hard to believe. But if you exercise too much it may interfere with your daily life. Perhaps you cancel social plans to exercise or feel anxious and stressed if you are unable to exercise.

If you’re concerned about exercise addiction, below are some signs to look out for:

🏃 Are you constantly cancelling social plans to exercise?
🏃 Do you feel anxious or stressed if you’re unable to exercise?
🏃 Are you exercising even if you are injured or unwell?
🏃 Do you exercise every day or multiple times a day?
🏃 Have other people commented on the amount you exercise?
🏃 Has your work or school performance suffered due to your exercise routine?

Did you answer ‘yes’ to some of these signs? You may be addicted to exercise. If you think you might be struggling with this, be sure to talk to someone you trust about it, so you can get support.

You could also try limiting your exercise to a few times a week, and let your body recover between workouts.

To sum up: yes, we should be exercising. It has multiple social, physical, and mental benefits. But we don’t want to overdo it. Remember, everything in life is about balance.

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