The health benefits of exercising can never be overemphasized enough. Exercise will boost your energy levels, it will enhance your physical well-being, and more importantly, it will increase your self-esteem. But is it really possible to get addicted to exercise? Although rare, exercise addiction is possible and is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in time. When exercise becomes an obsession, it means you are addicted to it, but what really happens?
Vigorexia is a term that was coined by American Psychiatrist Harrison Pope, in an effort to define an emotional disorder that deforms the perception that someone has of their own body. Someone suffering from vigorexia is endlessly doing different exercise routines without minding about the possible harm that the continuous exercises could have on their life. It can be very hard to diagnose exercise addiction seeing as it is exercise is perceived as a healthy habit.
Drawing the line between normal exercising and exercise addiction thus becomes hard, not to mention the fact that when one exercises, change is inevitable, and the society is always ready to shower someone with praises when they notice the changes. It is this positive reinforcement that one gets that also becomes a medium for going overboard. In the society that we live in today, perfect slim bodies flashed in the media is the dream of everyone.
Super-slender ladies and chiseled handsome men are what many people wish to achieve, and in the process of working towards it suffer from exercise addiction. Note the significant difference between wanting to get that healthy, beautiful, and attractive physique and actually becoming obsessed with the process, trying to get rid of all the little ‘flaws’ you assume you have, most of which are only noticeable to you.
The main motivation for people addicted to exercise is not the appearance per se but more of an avenue to channel their energy and gain control over an aspect in their life that causes them dissatisfaction. Thus, the most regrettable part about exercise addiction is that the exercises aren’t the underlying problem. This means that even if the habit will be broken at some point in life, another thing could replace the impulse, and the cycle starts all over again.
There is also a physical part past the psychologically addictive qualities of over doing it. Perhaps one is enjoying the ‘runner’s high’, the feel good feelings that come about when one engages in exercise. Just like in other addictions like drugs or alcohol that will make you feel better, albeit temporarily, exercise too will, hence you will keep coming back for more and more. But, this strong desire to keep fit in the end causes more health problems if not addressed in a timely manner.
Using exercise to get distracted from real problems affecting you could work in the short-term, but this doesn’t mean the problems will go away completely. As a result, people will work extra hard and regularly in an effort to push away the things in life that makes them feel bad. The only way out of exercise addiction is to find out how to tap into the main problem that is driving you to keep fit.