Staying active is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies and brains benefit when we get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic movement or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic movement each week. Exercise can help improve our mood, and even create more vibrant skin with the “post workout glow.” Exercise helps to manage weight, improves muscle and bone strength, relieves stress and can decrease your risk for chronic diseases.
Exercise has become very trendy with new fitness classes emerging coupled with Instagram photos and videos of fitness models. Unfortunately, some people have accidentally taken this healthy lifestyle to a new and unhealthy level.
Exercise addiction, as defined by Project Know, is distinguished by “compulsive exercise that continues despite potential negative consequences (e.g., excessive weight loss, injury, neglect of other responsibilities).”
Symptoms of exercise addiction include an uncontrollable desire to exercise, an inability to stick with a reduced exercise routine, withdrawal after not exercising for an extended period, reduced interest in other areas of life and skipping social activities that interfere with workouts.
To prevent exercise addiction, evaluate your intentions for exercising. Likely, your intentions are fueled by some sort of improved health outcome. Rest days are essential for your body to refuel and repair muscles, helping to minimize injuries. When rest days are viewed as a part of a healthy routine and not a lack of a healthy routine, they may be more fully embraced.
If you are struggling with exercise addiction, please contact your primary healthcare provider.