Is There Really Such A Thing As Exercise Addiction?

Is Exercise Addiction Real?

The topic for my post today is about people who seem to be overly obsessed with exercise and working out, but is this really something that should be classified as exercise addiction.  The question is whether there really is some truth about having an addiction to exercise as it can have some similar characteristics to other behavioral addictions along with some possible harmful consequences. Even though there is yet to be a definition of what exercise addiction is, it is agreed that it does comprises withdrawal, impairs normal functioning, causes an exercise buzz, and can put a strain on relationships; these are all similar to other addictive behaviors. Research is continuing on exercise addiction, also known as excessive addiction, to give us a better understanding on this subject.

What An Addiction To Exercise Looks Like

Similar to other addictions, one of the characteristics is a need, or a compulsion, to exercise frequently. This may include exercising multiple times a day, several weeks without a day off, not letting an injury stop a workout,  and putting exercise before other important activities going on in their life. The constant training can cause a strain on a significant other or even have them missing many children’s functions.

exercise addiction
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There also can be a withdrawal. This can also occur when a person is not exercising, which fuels the need to workout even more. Someone with a possible exercise addiction will often avoid normal day-to-day activities because of the fear of not getting enough exercise on that day.

This compulsion can also lead them to withdraw from every day activities. They may lack interest or motivation in social activities that are not exercise related which can lead to avoiding their social networks.

If and injury ever occurs that may not even stop them.  When someone is dealing with exercise addiction, they may try to work through an injury. Instead of taking the precaution of resting an injury, they will try to engage in some type of exercise to fulfill their need. The strong desire to do some sort of exercise will be stronger than the injury itself.


As of right now there is no formal treatment of exercise addiction as research continues. However, treatments for other addictions may be applied here. Initially, it is up to the person to realize there may be a problem. Without realizing this, any treatment probably wouldn’t work. Next, the long road of changing their behaviors and thoughts towards exercise must begin. The goal would be to find a balance between healthy exercise and being active in everyday activities. This may take some time to accomplish depending on the severity and the amount of time this has been going on.

Unlike an addiction to a drug or to alcohol a person can and should keep exercise a major part of their life but learn to balance other aspects of life. If a person has low self-esteem and exercise has helped them build it up, they must be helped to realize that other areas of their lives that can be just as strong. Family and friends can be a big help to someone with an addiction to exercise as they can help support them and hopefully help them create a much needed balance.


In some cases, exercise addiction is a very real addiction like other behavioral addictions are and can share many of the same characteristics as well as treatment options. Thankfully, with support from family and friends or in extreme cases, professional help, finding a healthy balance between exercise and everyday life is possible. The number of people who may suffer this addiction is really small but it is something that is out there.

Everyone needs exercise. The key is to find that balance and enjoy a happy healthy lifestyle.

What is your opinion? Do you think exercise addiction is real? Do you think society is just putting another label on something? Feel free to comment and thanks for reading my post.

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2 Replies to “Is There Really Such A Thing As Exercise Addiction?

  1. Hi Mike really some people fall in this addiction and they always try to do something like stretch themselves and much more.

  2. Totally agree with your blog above, many people are actually addicted to excessive exercising, as it can cause a lot of strain which results in problems like hip and knee
    pain and these types of issues are not easy to handle. Pretty convincing article, looking for more ahead.

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