Understanding Exercise Dependence

Regular exercise can be a good thing for people who live to stay fit. It is even essential in order to have a healthy and long life. But there are also times when people might just overdo it. Exercise can become an addiction for some people that what may become known as exercise dependence.

Exercise dependence is a relatively new type of disorder that might affect some people who look to exercise to stay fit. But it is also a little understood condition that has only been recently discovered to affect a number of people. What is it exactly and how can it be recognized?

What Is Exercise Dependence?

According to Heather Hausenblaas, associate professor at the College of Health and Human Performance in the University of Florida and a researcher on exercise dependence since 1998, the condition occurs when the exercise itself becomes the main goal instead of just a means to achieve one. In short, a person becomes exercise dependent when he or she looks forward only to exercise for the sake of it and with no other goals behind it.

Signs Of Exercise Dependence

Exercise dependence can be very hard to identify since they can be people who may seem to exercise a lot and may be mistaken for being exercise dependent. That is why there are certain signs that may help identify if one has become exercise dependent. These signs usually are seen manifesting together in a person. Here are some of those signs:

  • a gradual increase in exercise times
  • giving exercise more priority than personal, family and social obligations
  • always thinking about exercise
  • showing withdrawal symptoms when missing out on exercise
  • ignorance of pain and injury just to continue to exercise

Recognizing Exercise Dependence

Although there is quite a fine line between exercise dependence and a simply highly motivated fitness buff, recognizing the signs may help individuals better identify whether they are already going overboard. There can be a difference between a person practicing consistent exercise with one who may be totally addicted to it. The simple way to identify it is simply getting behind the reasons why one exercises. If it is done to achieve a goal, then it is a good thing. But when reasons are void of any perceived goal, then one may already be bor4dering on exercise dependence.


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