Exercise: Are You An Exercise Addict?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:25am

By Michele Silence, MA

You like to exercise. It keeps your weight down. You feel happier. And, it’s fun interacting with other fellow fitness enthusiasts. Sometimes though, you wonder whether you’re working out too much. How can you tell?

Are you an exercise addict - take the quiz

Are you an exercise addict? Take this quiz to find out!

_____ You haven’t taken a day off for weeks.

_____ Your pulse is slightly higher than normal the next morning after you’ve exercised.

_____ You feel tired or fatigued.

_____ It seems like you’re losing strength.

_____ It’s an effort to workout.

_____ You’re getting sick more frequently.

_____ Others tell you or are concerned that you’re hurting yourself.

_____ You feel guilt when you can’t exercise.

_____ Even if injured, you’ll still workout.

_____ You exercise more than once a day.

If you answered "yes” to more than a few of the above you may be on your way to an exercise addiction.

Tips for healthy exercise habits

Exercise is great. We all need it. And, more times than not the problem is NOT getting enough exercise. But for those who thrive on movement the line isn’t always clear as to how much is enough and how much is too much. Listen to your body. Here are some ways to ensure your exercise habits are helping your body, not hurting it:

  • Your body needs a rest now and then just to recover and rebuild itself. Get used to taking a day off of exercise now and then and enjoy it.
  • Find out what your pulse normally is in the morning. Then take it in the morning the day after you’ve worked out really hard. If it’s still high (five beats or so) you’re overdoing it.
  • Remember that fatigue gradually sets in when you expect your body to do more than it is able to handle. If you are fatigued, take a break.
  • Over time, muscles will tear down and lose strength if not given enough recovery time. A day off now and then allows them to rebuild to a higher level of strength.
  • Mentally your workouts should be fun. Not something you dread. Be careful if you feel like you ‘have to’ exercise more than you ‘want to.'
  • Stressing yourself too much physically can lead to an impaired immune system predisposing you to more colds and bugs.
  • When other people start seeing things you don’t, denial is involved. Listen to those who care about you. If several are concerned you’re obsessed, you may be.
  • If something prevents you from working out it should be a disappointment but not a tragedy. Sometimes in life, things happen that get in the way. As long as it’s not frequent, try to take a different approach and do something for yourself in another way.
  • Working out repeatedly with minor injuries leads to chronic pain and permanent damage.
  • If exercising once a day isn’t enough list the reasons why. Are you training for an important event? Did you not get a good enough workout earlier? For most people once a day is adequate.

Remember: Take a break now and then. And, if you feel you’ve become addicted to exercise, approach it like any other addiction. Talk to a counselor and explore what’s really going on inside of you.