The dangers of exercise addiction

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    Mar 03, 2014 9:08 PM GMT
    The Seduction of Addiction: A Runner’s Confession

    Fortunately, there are a few things we do know with reasonable assurance about this otherwise elusive condition. An estimated three percent of the general population suffers from exercise dependency. The more endurance-oriented the sport—ultra-marathoning, Iron Man competitions—the better the chances there are for some sort of addiction to set in. Exercise addiction overlaps with other disorders—most notably eating disorders, but also drug and alcohol abuse—about 25 percent of the time.

    We also know what this dependency is not. However it ends up being officially codified, exercise addiction (or what looks like it) has been clearly distinguished from obsessive-compulsive disorders (such as anxiety-related issues) and impulsive control disorders (such as gambling). Unlike these behaviors, excessive exercise is more like an addiction in that—like so many other addictions—it’s notable for a “dual capacity to reduce negative affective states while also creating positive affects, be it a rush or improved mood.” In other words: a double whammy, one that, fully experienced, is hard to resist.

    [...] Potentially addicted runners will cheat family time to run, sneak in runs without telling people, design vacations around exercise opportunities, will (if injured) count the days since their last run like an alcoholic counts the days since his last drink, and forgo sex to run (we often joke that nobody spends a Saturday morning running 20 miles because they have a great sex life). It seems certain that, if these symptoms are in any way common, running addiction will become an official disorder in due time.

    The problem, from the perspective of these symptoms, seems quite real.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1855

    Mar 04, 2014 3:27 AM GMT
    I am certainly not in this group, exercise addicted. Some days I just don't want to do it. I think for me it is important for me to do it for myself and nobody else and don't compare yourself to others.
  • frogman89

    Posts: 418

    Mar 04, 2014 9:05 AM GMT
    Exercise addiction is said to be the male equivalent to anorexia.
    Whereas most anorexic persons are female (90 - 95 %), most male persons with a distorted body image tend to get addicted to exercising.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2590

    Mar 04, 2014 8:32 PM GMT
    Not sure I was ever addicted(it never replaced other social activities, never missed it if I couldn`t exercise, etc.), but in the past I have fallen into the trap of thinking that if one hour of exercise a day is good, two hours must better. I went through a period in 2009 when I was at maybe eleven hours exercise a week(running and weight training mostly, but some cycling and swimming). I seemed to be either exercising, or planning the next session. This might qualify as the 'at risk exercise' phase the writer speaks of. At the time it seemed all right, but looking back, that`s too much for me!

    I never injured myself, probably because it had taken me three years to reach that level, but I managed to naturally come back down to something like six or seven.

    I`ve also been struck by how intense and long lasting the 'high' was from distance running. I had to actually run myself to realize it.
  • theonewhoknoc...

    Posts: 699

    Mar 05, 2014 5:42 AM GMT
    There was a really hot indian guy at the gym today talking to his friend about how he prefers lifting over spending time with his girlfriend. When he was bent over preparing to do deadlifts, I wanted to freeze time, pull his shorts down and fuck him so bad lolol
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    Mar 08, 2014 4:34 AM GMT
    So are exercise addicts less extreme versions of exercise bulemics?
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    Mar 08, 2014 8:00 AM GMT
    I think I've experienced exercise addiction before. There have been periods in my life where I've felt dirty if I haven't exercised hard that day. I'd get a bit OCD about my diet too, having the same meal every day (mainly boiled veg, salad and chia seeds). Not a good way to live.

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    Mar 08, 2014 8:12 AM GMT
    maybe it's something to do with being in nature and feeling free? does everything have to be an addiction?