We love sport and we love to frequent the gym every day, since it is known that exercise keeps us healthy, but are we aware of the fine line that lies between a healthy addiction and a harmful one? What causes an addiction? And how will you know if you’re addicted too?

What is a Sports Addiction?

One of the signs of an addiction is the moment when someone would jeopardize his health in order to get the effect that he wants and he acts in contradiction to the directions he receives. Addiction to fitness is not merely working out superfluously but is a state in which those training would do everything they can not to miss any practice like school, work and their family life. Those exercisers will continue working out during injuries or sickness and would feel guilty for missing out on a single workout. These are mainly perfectionist exercisers who strive for flawlessness from themselves with a low self-esteem.

Who are those Fitness Addicts?

Most people who compulsively exercise, twice a day or seven times a week are very stressed and nervous individuals. They invest a lot of time in their fitness since they need the feeling of euphoria granted to them by the natural endorphins the body produces. Without the endorphins all of the joy of performing the exercising routines would dissolve. Studies have shown that the group with the highest risk is women who are trying to lose weight. The addicted women are motivated to cut down on their weight. They usually exchange an addiction to food with a compulsive dealing with fitness.

Dependency on being Active

The explanation for feeling gratification during physical activity is an increase in the level of endorphins, a substance secreted in the brain which creates a sensation of dependency on activity. Endorphins are known to cause a sense of euphoria. Once the physical activity is halted there will be responses of stopping an addictive substance like a lack of sleep and a desire and urge to get back to exercising.

What happens to the Brain in Extreme Situations?

The brain tries to help us cope with extreme situations by releasing endorphins whose purpose is to lessen the extreme experiences we are having. The goal of these natural drugs is especially to dull the harsh and extreme sensation in which the body is given by omitting a pleasant feeling which moderates the notion of stress and danger in these situations. The brain does not like such extreme conditions and therefore it attempts to aid us in regaining our balance through the endorphins. The problem is that this is addictive and so a prolonged exposure to extreme situations causes us to get addicted to the secretion of endorphins.

It’s All about Attitude

During over exercising the physical ability does not improve and might become impaired due to lack of rest and recovery, as in muscle fatigue and a greater exposure to injuries. A person who is addicted cannot see the value within activities that are not related to his fitness even when this goes against their better interest.

Exercising addicts lose a sense of proportion regarding the role of exercise and they spend long hours in grueling workout sessions with no certain goal as opposed to another exerciser who has an objective and is enjoying his workout.

How to Have Fun without getting addicted?

Some people ingest forbidden substances and others accumulate it through physical activity. In order for us to be able to persist
with exercising over years of time and make it a part of ourselves we must maintain a balance. It is recommended to have at least one day of rest a week and once every several months a whole week of rest in order to reduce take the load off the body. It is recommended to change the workout routine throughout the training period, enjoy a family life, social life, days of rest and of course to enjoy the activity in which we take part!

Is there such a thing as a Healthy Addiction?

A healthy addiction gives us self-satisfaction and the feeling of completing our goals. A healthy addiction comes from a place of an experience of success and doing good for yourself. Additionally, self-confidence wards off addictions since it is a situation in which we lack nothing and we trust and love ourselves, feel whole, complete and satisfied. Therefore, there would be no chance for us to develop an uncontrollable desire for something we0 do not need in a compulsive manner. People become addicted to external things only because they feel lacking on the inside and they are certain that they would fill themselves through those things.

In conclusion, fitness must be of secondary importance – the fun activity needs to be the main thing!

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