Understanding Exercise Addiction

February 9, 2011 Holly Gray

Like millions of other Americans, I don't get enough exercise. I’m more keenly aware of that fact in the month of January, when every gym and athletic goods store ramps up their advertising efforts to take advantage of the New Year fitness fever. But that doesn’t mean I’ll do anything about it. Ultimately, it’s just not that important to me. For some people, the opposite is true – exercise is one of the most important things to them. Does that mean they have an exercise addiction? How do you know if you're over-exercising?

What Is Exercise Addiction?

A behavioral addiction, like gambling or sex, exercise addiction is not recognized as a diagnosable disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). But excessive exercise is mentioned in connection with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by engaging in compensatory behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising in order to prevent weight gain.

susan-mooreWe asked Susan Moore, the Program and Exercise Coordinator at The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia, to join us on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show and help us better understand exercise addiction. The Renfrew Center is a women's mental health center, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, and other women's issues. As Program and Exercise Coordinator, Susan manages exercise and group therapy programs, facilitates exercise groups, and assists residents in developing an exercise plan upon discharge.

Video on Exercise Addiction

Watch our video interview with Susan live today at 3pm Eastern Standard Time by visiting the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show Homepage. Join the discussion by submitting your questions for Susan via the chat window just to the right of the live video feed.

You can find all mental health video interviews from the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show in the table of contents.

Share Your Exercise Addiction Experiences

Are you or a loved one addicted to over-exercising? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights on exercise addiction. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

APA Reference
Gray, H. (2011, February 9). Understanding Exercise Addiction, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Holly Gray

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