Maybe it began off as a decision to get in one of the best form of your life. But your once-celebrated train behavior now appears to be taking on — and your family members are becoming concerned. Could you be hooked on train?

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit educational medical heart. Advertising on our website helps help our mission. We don’t endorse non-Cleveland Clinic services or products. Policy

“Exercise addiction is real, and it can lead to many harmful consequences,” says psychiatry specialist Lindsay Honaker, DO.

Dr. Honaker explains easy methods to inform should you’re hooked on train — and easy methods to overcome it.

What is train dependancy?

An dependancy is when you find yourself psychologically or bodily depending on a substance or habits. “With an exercise addiction, you have the urge or feel the need to exercise even when it leads to negative consequences,” says Dr. Honaker.

While train is helpful, doing it in extra, too intensely or in excessive circumstances might be harmful. “When you don’t give your body enough rest, your immune system weakens. A weakened immune system makes you more susceptible to illnesses like influenza and COVID-19,” she continues.

“I have also seen cases — more often than you might think — of people who push themselves beyond their limit and develop a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscles, which ultimately leads to kidney failure.”

Overexercising can stress your physique, rising your danger of:

Dr. Honaker warns that an train dependancy can typically be a gateway to different addictions. “Some may resort to taking substances, such as high-dose caffeine, Adderall™ and stimulants, to exercise through illness or low energy. I even know fitness competitors who use both stimulants and illegal substances like cocaine to push through,” she shares.

“Or you could break a bone and keep working out despite your doctor’s advice, making you prone to more and worse injuries down the road,” she provides.

Why is understanding so addictive?

Our brains are hard-wired with a reward system. When you expertise one thing pleasurable, this method releases a feel-good hormone known as dopamine. But dopamine is only one of a number of completely satisfied hormones your physique makes. Your pituitary gland additionally releases endorphins, which act like pure ache relievers and enhance pleasure.

When you’re employed out, your physique releases each endorphins and dopamine. (Ever heard of a runner’s excessive?)

“When the effects of these hormones wear off, your brain remembers how they made you feel. It then wants to do the same behavior again to get those happy feelings back,” Dr. Honaker explains. “The brain does the same thing when people use substances like cocaine. That’s what leads to addictive behavior.”

While train dependancy isn’t that widespread within the normal inhabitants, Dr. Honaker says it’s extra widespread in individuals who have eating or anxiety disorders. It’s additionally extra generally related to sure forms of train, like:

How have you learnt should you’re hooked on train?

To determine when you’ve got an issue, Dr. Honaker recommends asking your self:

  • Am I spending an increasing number of time exercising to expertise its feel-good results? And am I spending much less time doing different issues I used to do or turning down social actions to get exercises in?
  • Does my complete day revolve round train or do I spend most of my day interested by train? Is skipping a exercise not an choice?
  • Do I really feel irritable and agitated after I’m not exercising or can’t get to the fitness center?
  • Have my household or mates expressed concern about my train habits?
  • Do I get sick extra usually or am I having extra bother sleeping?
  • Are my muscle mass consistently sore?
  • Do I train secretly or sneak round to do it?

If you answered sure to a few of these questions, it’s possible you’ll need assistance to regain steadiness in your train behavior. “The first step is recognizing there’s an issue,” notes Dr. Honaker. “Talk with a trusted friend to help you better understand if you’ve crossed the line from healthy to obsessed.”

Treatments for train dependancy

If you suppose it’s possible you’ll be hooked on train, you aren’t alone. And there are a number of methods you possibly can overcome it:

Change your routine

Dr. Honaker recommends slowly stepping again out of your train routine. “Don’t stop abruptly. That would be more detrimental because you’ll want to go back and work out even harder,” she says. “Instead, start by reducing the number of days, hours or intensity of your workouts and go from there.”

Try speak remedy

Therapists can’t solely assist you to create a plan to reduce, however they will additionally assist you to change the best way you concentrate on train. And when you’ve got different medical points like anxiousness, despair or an consuming dysfunction, they might help you handle them, too. “Look for a therapist who does cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Sports psychologists are also an excellent potential resource,” Dr. Honaker advises.

Consider medicine

Medication might assist those that use train to deal with anxiousness, despair or stress. Antidepressants corresponding to SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) might help with obsessive ideas about train. They’re additionally useful for individuals with coexisting consuming issues.

When to see a healthcare supplier

Don’t know the place to start out? Pay a go to to your main care supplier or a healthcare supplier, and be open with them about your train and consuming habits. They might help you determine your therapy choices and greatest subsequent steps.

“It’s also important to keep up with your blood work,” Dr. Honaker says. “Sometimes, your physician can see deficiencies in your lab work that may be a symptom of an train dependancy.

She continues, “Exercise is a great way to reduce your stress hormones, which helps you cope with anxiety and depression. But when you cross the line from just enough to too much exercise, you end up spiking those cortisol (stress hormone) levels instead. It’s a fine balance, but you can definitely achieve it.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *