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Sober Gym Rats: 5 Signs You Are Addicted to Exercise

Do you lift? If so you may want to grab your protein shake and have a seat, because some people in recovery tend to forget how our personalities work, and how working out can have its effects on your health and sobriety. Exercise is considered to be both physically and psychologically beneficial, however exercise without limits and pushed to extremes can be harmful or become very addictive. It may be good to help get your body back in order after the damage done by drugs and/or alcohol, and is very good for building confidence, but is it going to take its toll? I know it might be ‘leg day’ but all you ‘Gym Rats’ should take a look at the 5 signs you are addicted to exercise.

  1. Pushing Too Far

If there is an increase in exercise that may be labeled as detrimental, or becomes harmful, then that is a definite sign you are becoming addicted to your exercise. By putting yourself through rigorous work outs regularly that can strain you more than train you, you create an unhealthy habit to push your body too far too often. This can be an earlier sign of exercise addiction.

  1. Replacing the High

Dependence on physical activity and exercise on a regular basis to achieve a sense of euphoria; exercise may be increased as you develop a tolerance for that euphoria. This can lead to a dependence on the physical and mental high you get while exercising. It is well known that people recovering from substance abuse can subconsciously replace the drugs or alcohol with other behaviors to satisfy their cravings.

  1. Lashing Out

If you get to a state where not participating in any form of physical activity has the potential to cause any dysfunction in your daily life, then you are showing that exercise is causing unmanageability in your life. If your personality and relationships are suffering because you don’t work out when you want, it is definitely time to take a breather.

  1. Work Out Withdrawal

Symptoms following exercise deprivation can also be an example of how your replacing dependency on substances with the rush and stimulation of exercise. Meaning at time you don’t exercise your mind and body can actually suffer if its used to the activity. Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Tension
  • Discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  1. Training with Physical Trauma

Higher peaks of dependence on exercise can even cause you to exercise through physical trauma and medical conditions. Showing that even when you are fully aware you are harming yourself, you still are unable to stop.

Many of these symptoms mirror those of substance abuse, and most should be familiar to anyone who has experienced a detox. But exercise and health are important. There is no denying the good that can come out of hard work to get your body back on track and taking care of yourself. The gym can also be a place of meditation. However if you are skipping meetings, putting excess stress on your body, or losing sight of your personal relationships for the euphoria you’re getting from the gym, you are putting your sobriety in jeopardy. Always check your motives before you decide to put the gym before anything. Don’t spend too much time lifting, it’ll just make it that much easier to ‘pick up’.

If you or anyone you know are suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please call 1-800-951-6135 

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