Can exercise be addictive?

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With social media being bigger than ever, it is clear to see that many fitness influencers spend, what seems like their whole lives, at the gym. Do they exercise far too much? Is there such a thing as being addicted to exercise? And if there is, can it really be that harmful?

Exercise addiction has been written about by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This organisation is responsible for identifying any type of addictive behaviour and have suggested that this type of addiction is more of a behavioural nature, and is similar to obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Other types of behavioural addiction are things such as gambling, food, and alcohol. The organisation goes on to suggest that the body releases an ‘endorphin high’ which leads to the feeling of euphoria, which in turn can lead to the body craving this feeling.

The simple answer to our question, therefore, is yes. In the same way as doing anything in excess, is and can be addictive. The most important thing to remember is balance – that’s balance in exercise, healthy diet and rest. Too much exercise causes unnecessary stress on the body and can lead to exercise plateau.

Don’t work yourself too hard, sometimes less really is more!

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