The benefits of exercise are endless: It can improve your mood, clear your head, strengthen your muscle and heart health.
But if you feel the need to commit to high-intensity exercise every day or you've started to feel guilty when you don't workout, your passion for exercise might actually be turning into an addiction.
It can be a tough one to recognise. Unlike other addictive behaviours, we're encouraged by health experts to exercise regularly, and given positive reinforcement when friends and family start to notice the results.
The experts at Delamere Health told Metro that while exercise addiction isn't classified as a mental health disorder, it carries similar emotional effects as other addictions, like "obsessive behaviour, continuing despite physical harm and wanting to stop, engaging in secret behaviours, and denial of activities".
Research carried out by Brewerton discovered that nearly 40 percent of patients suffering from anorexia had also been displaying compulsive exercise behaviours.
They gave some key signs to watch out for if you think you might be suffering exercise addiction:
Lack of control
"Those experiencing exercise addictions find it difficult to control their desire for fitness, this can even go as far as working out while injured or experiencing illness. People also have unsuccessful attempts at reducing exercise levels or stopping beyond a certain time."
"People who are gym obsessed measure progress in terms of size, strength or speed. They often determine one's self-worth based on their exercise achievements and fitness ability."
Time and schedule controlled
"Refusing to miss a workout, regardless of weather, injury or schedule is one of the most common signs of exercise addiction. People often find themselves skipping scheduled activities they enjoy for exercise instead. They might find themselves spending more time working out per session, beyond what is considered safe and healthy. "
Feeling tired constantly
"Spending too much time working out will often lead to fatigue and exhaustion. This pressure on your body and health can lead to sickness and injuries if not managed correctly."
The full list of obsessive behaviours can be found in the Metro article, but if any of these have resonated with you, it would pay to chat to your GP or a mental health professional.
Where to find help and support:
- Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
- Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584