This topic strikes home to me. I once was this way. The problem is you don’t notice until it is ‘too late’. You are so caught up into what it means to work out, what it feels like to workout and the results of working out. I bet I had a few people in my life that thought, I was addicted and truth be told, I was. It is a fine line to walk and it is a hard conversation to have with a friend or yourself. Be aware, read the information below and really take it all in. It is okay if you too are addicted, or know someone who is, just know you can change your ways into a healthier well-balanced life.
Take it away Sporteluxe –
Something was up.
I was texting with one of my closest friends about meeting for happy hour somewhere … But then happy hour turned into a yoga class. And then a yoga class turned into a hardcore boot camp class. And then it turned into a hardcore boot camp class in the middle of the day because “the instructor at 4p always gives me a way better workout”…
Somehow, our friendly get-together to catch up on each other’s lives had turned into a calorie-torching session. Kindly, I declined her offer to workout together and suggested we meet later after her class, which she happily agreed to. But the whole interaction got me wondering: When your exercise schedule starts getting in the way of your relationships, should you be worried?
Here’s the thing: I love my workouts, too. In fact, I’ve probably been guilty of bailing on a hang out (or date, or whatever) in order to get in a training run or head to my favorite yoga class to unwind. To me, exercise can act as a form of self-care similar to meditation or journaling—it usually gives me time to think, reflect, and tune into myself.
But exercise addiction or dependence is more than just blowing off social plans in order to hit the gym. Two exercise psychologists created an Exercise Dependence Scale to help fitness buffs determine whether they have an unhealthy relationship with working out or not. Here are the points that they measure:
Exercise Dependence Criteria
Tolerance: your body adjusts to the amount of exercise you’re doing, so to see results you have to increase the length or intensity of workouts
Withdrawal: if you can’t get in a sweat sesh, you get withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, depression, anger, annoyance. You try to do the same amount of exercise (e.g. walk 4 miles to make up missing your run, to relieve symptoms
Intention Effect: exercise is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
Lack of Control: your efforts to cut back on exercise are unsuccessful
Time: you spend a lot of your time working out, or plan activities that require working out like fitness-centered vacations or meetings
Reductions in Other Activities: social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of exercise
Continuance: you exercise through pain—whether it be physical, like an injury, or mental.
It might seem crazy to think that you can work out too much but it’s certainly a real problem for many active people. Overexercising puts your health at risk—it can lead to injuries from overuse, dysfunctional hormones that can mess with your fertility, and even mental effects like depression.
If you think you might be too dependent on exercise, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your regimen. They can let you know what’s normal, and what’s too much.
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- How to get Healthy Again After an Unhealthy Relationship with Working Out
- How I Learned to Love Working Out with POW®