Exercise Addiction

By Hannah Desrosiers

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Why I chose this Topic

I decided to do my project on exercise addiction because I am interested in working out and I want to learn the history of how someone gets addicted to exercise.

How Do People Become Addicted?

When exercising your body releases endorphins and dopamine which send signals to the brain that cause pain relief and euphoric feelings, the same feeling when using drugs. A person who is addicted to exercise will have to increase the intensity and how much they work out to get that same euphoric feeling like they did when they first started to work out. This causes them to work out more and more so they can get that feeling they crave. Despite if they are injured, sick or have plans these people will stop whatever they are doing to go to the gym and get a workout in. They will schedule appointments and other activities around going to the gym.

Some symptoms of excessive exercise are thoughts of exercise and how to prevent weight gain, working out multiple times a day, a loss of a what is right (ignoring family and friends to exercise), constantly working out despite injury or illness.

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Many people who have an exercise addiction also have an eating disorder. These two disorders both impact the body greatly because the patient never feels good about themselves no matter how long they workout or don't eat for. Having this addiction and wanting to treat it will likely need medical attention or a rehab to help get their body back in a normal routine. They will have to stop exercising from as little as a few weeks to months depending on how bad the addiction is. If they have an eating disorder as well then it could be a more serious health issue.

Some symptoms of withdrawal to exercise are anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, loss of appetite, sleeplessness and headaches.


Having an exercise addiction can possibly ruin your relationships with friends and loved ones. Having to constantly work out to fulfill that 'high' is pulling them away from there everyday lives. That feeling of euphoria can be exciting but when you have to push yourself over the top and could possibly be hurting your body can bring damage to it. Addiction can make people crazy and not think about what is right. An example is that if someone is sick or injured they will continue to do the workout even though it is not a good idea to, they could care less they just need to get that feeling of bliss after they workout.
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  • About 39-48% of people who suffers from eating disorders also suffer from exercise addiction.
  • Exercise addicts work out about 2-3 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week.
  • About 10% of high performance runner and body builders are addicted to what they do.
  • Less than 1% of adults have an exercise addiction
Intense Facts About Exercise Addiction

works cited

"3 Signs You Are Addicted to Exercise." Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.

US News. U.S.News & World Report, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.

"Exercise Addiction: How Much Is Too Much?" Exercise Addiction: How Much Is Too Much? N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.

Freimuth, Marilyn, Sandy Moniz, and Shari R. Kim. "Clarifying Exercise Addiction: Differential Diagnosis, Co-occurring Disorders, and Phases of Addiction." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2015