ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

When Your Exercise Regimen Becomes Unhealthy: Dealing With Exercise Addiction

Updated on November 3, 2011

Regular and daily exercise is, for the most part, a healthy habit that one should develop.  It helps give us a healthy body and helps us develop stamina.  Many experts will agree that regular and daily exercise will help us improve our overall appearance and performance.  And many of us will agree that regular and daily exercise is a difficult task to maintain.


However, there are few people who develop an addiction towards exercise.  Would they be able to maintain a healthy body?  Or even maintain their stamina and strength?  Are they addicted because they find themselves better through exercise?  We don’t really know why they are addicted to exercise.  But experts claim that exercise addicts get their high through endorphins, a hormone that is released during exercise.  This hormone makes us feel good and even helps block some physical pain.


Exercise Addiction

Though regular and daily exercise is generally a healthy behavior that promotes wellness, exercise addiction is just the opposite.  There are many terms used in exercise addiction; compulsive exercise, exercise dependence, obligatory exercise, and exercise abuse.  All of them indicate excessive exercise.  Exercise addiction can impair the individual both socially and physically.


Exercise addiction is categorized either as primary or secondary disorder.  Primary disorder is recognized when the person is addicted to just the exercise itself.  Secondary disorder is recognized when the person is suffering from an existing underlying problem.  And addiction to exercise becomes its outcome.


Individuals with secondary disorder may be dealing with eating disorders, depression, compulsive behaviors, or other emotional problems.  Some might even be dealing with drug addiction.  Individuals who choose to use drugs are most likely using performance enhancers’ drugs and steroids.


It must be remembered that not everyone you see who exercises a lot is an exercise addict.  A true exercise addiction is rare.  But once it is developed, it is both unhealthy and hard to control as most exercise addicts will not stop exercising. 


There are many signs to look for if you want to find out if a person is addicted to exercise. They may have different reasons and motives.

  1. A person may already be in perfect shape but is still trying to achieve perfection through exercise.
  2. The more they exercise, the more they need to exercise.
  3. Always working out alone to avoid attention from other people.
  4. They follow a rigid workout schedule and routine.
  5. Fixation on weight loss and calories burned.
  6. A desire to control their weight and shape.
  7. One who ignores his injuries and illnesses and still continues to exercise.
  8. One who exercises too much and will feel distressed to the extent of panic if he/she will skip an exercise regimen. Not to be confused with exercise enthusiasts. Most exercise enthusiasts might feel guilty when they skip an exercise, but exercise addicts will get distressed and depressed when they skip a workout.
  9. A person will continually increase the impact, intensity, frequency, and duration of their exercise. Exercising to the point of pain and beyond their abilities.
  10. The person may no longer be interacting with their family and friends for the sake of exercise.
  11. Skipping social gatherings and important daily activities such as work for the workout. Exercising is such a major part of their lives, almost nothing else is as important as their workout.


The dangers of exercise addiction are increased risk of fractures, premature osteoporosis, fatigue, soreness, stiffness and muscle atrophy (shrinking of muscles). In women, menstrual abnormalities may be present due to stress and fatigue.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Kianni, for that problem, you need professional help. Or you could probably look for exercise addiction forums online and discuss these things with its community. Best of luck and I hope you find a solution to your problem.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Okay, I know what exercise addiction is, now tell me how to stop without having massive anxiety and feeling fat and not knowing what to do now that I have about 4 hours of time open and all I can think about is the fact that I'd normally be exercising!...

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for coming by, Quicksand. :)

    • quicksand profile image


      8 years ago

      Like you say, it's the compulsion factor that causes the problem.

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Lucky you, Katyzzz. :) Thanks for coming over, hope you've enjoyed reading this.

    • katyzzz profile image


      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      No chance of that with me, at least that's one thing of which I'm free, BeatsMe. Lazy to the core.

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Property-Invest, thanks for dropping by. Actually, exercise addiction is not a common problem, but once it does becomes a problem, it can be quite hard to handle. :)

    • Property-Invest profile image


      8 years ago from London

      Thanks for the great hub! I've managed to avoid excercise addiction so far...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)