Exercise has many benefits in terms of physical and mental health, when performed in a planned and scheduled manner. Physically, it provides weight control, reduces chronic diseases, creates a positive body image; and psychologically, it helps reduce depression and anxiety, and ensures socializing.
But exercise may also have negative effects. One of the first of these effects is addiction. According to researchers, exercise addiction is defined as the uncontrollable excessive exercise behavior. Exercise addiction includes physiological (tolerance development) and/or psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression).
When defining exercise addiction, behavioral, psychological, and physiological factors should be addressed. Exercise addiction leads to psychological disorders and excessive stress. If a person has some of the following symptoms, then we can say that person is addicted.
– Feeling required to increase the amount of exercise to ensure the desired effect
– Experiencing quitting symptoms when unable to exercise (fatigue, anxiety, etc.)
– Making the exercise longer and more severe than the intended
– Loss of control when ending exercise
– Spending excessive time to exercise related activities, preferring exercise rather than social activities
– Not becoming aware of person’s own physical and psychological problems and continuing to exercise
The negative side of the above situations is that the person thinks that he/she could not live without exercise, and has the symptoms of anxiety, guilt, nervousness, tension, restlessness, headaches, etc.
In exercise addiction, a person needs therapy, as in drug addiction. Just like how drug addicts have tolerance against the drug, the exercise addicts also have tolerance and he/she desires to increase the intensity and duration of the exercise continuously.
How substance addicts tolerate substance, exercise addicts also have tolerance, and the person constantly wants to increase the severity and duration of exercise.
Just like in anything, balance is important when exercising. Otherwise the physical activity brings more harm to our body than good.