Are You An Exercise Addict?

by Marisa Riley

The rumors are true: you can be addicted to exercise. But before you use this post as a reason to break your 30-day challenge for an afternoon of pizza and Netflix binging, you should know that only a very small subset of people qualify as exercise addicts, CNN reports. So, how does one become addicted to something most people consider a healthy habit? (Or something so unpleasant you wouldn't DREAM of forming an addiction to it?) How are their gym habits comparable to a Breaking Bad subplot?

According to CNN, it takes more than a craving for that post-workout high to be considered an "exercise addict." Sure, you could be "hooked" to your daily gym routine, or feel a little bummed out if you miss a class, but that just makes you what sports scientists would call a "committed exerciser." CNN notes that unless you're on the verge of getting fired because you missed several meetings to become one with the treadmill, you're probably in the clear. It takes some pretty extreme habits to be considered an "addict."

I know, the thought of these "extreme habits" is already bothering you. Let me clarify.

Shelly Dammeyer, psychotherapist at Eating Disorder Resource Center in New York, N.Y., further explains for the Huffington Post what it takes to be considered an "exercise addict." She notes that certain behaviors, self esteem, and eating disorders play a big role in these extreme cases, saying:

One of the first things that I look at when I’m treating compulsive behaviors like over-exercising is helping the person uncover why they are exercising and what they get out of it. They may have an underlying eating disorder related to poor self-image, a compulsion disorder, struggle with anxiety, depression, perfectionism, or they may be displacing another addiction like drug abuse. Getting them to understand their motivation behind excessive exercising is a big step.

Like I said, it takes some extreme habits to be qualify as an exercise addict. But, if you're just plain old hooked to your strip aerobics class, or enjoy the occasional post-hot yoga euphoria, don't miss out! Save the Hulu marathon and take out tacos for later.