Hooked on health:

Carter Fitness Center offers a cost-effective way to workout. Photo by Claire Ekas.

By Emily Hernandez:

Exercise, it’s usually a good thing. It helps people lose weight, lowers the risk of some diseases and releases endorphins.

But what if you overdo it with physical activity and it takes over your whole life, triggering an addiction?

“Exercise addiction is a very real thing. From personal experience and being around people in the fitness industry, I can say it’s a definite possibility to become addicted to the feeling and results,” said Damon Dzik, a sports management health and fitness management major.

Exercise addiction is a compulsive disorder in which a person feels the uncontrollable need to exercise excessively.

It goes beyond the enjoyment of exercise and can result in injury or illness.

“Personally, I have gone through a few times where I had to take a step back and remember that I do have a life outside of the gym. I think it’s very important to make exercise a part of a priority list, but at the very same time having balance in your life contributes to overall health as well,” said Abby Harrison, a certified fitness trainer and chiropractic assistant.

There are two types of exercise addictions. First, there is primary exercise addiction.

This occurs as a behavioral form of addiction. People with this type of exercise addiction do not have any other psychological or behavioral problems or conditions. This addiction usually results from the gratifying effects of endorphins that exercise causes to release. The body produces its own high through endorphins, which is what primary exercise addicts become hooked on, the feeling.

Next, there is secondary exercise addiction. This happens simultaneously along with another disorder, more than likely an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.

This addiction usually develops due to issues with body image.

“Exercising is exceptional in thousands of ways but at the same time, you can always have too much of a good thing. People can become obsessed with exercise in negative ways that could potentially lead to self-harm. I think if people treat exercising with respect and do it for the goodness and pureness of wanting to better yourself in positive ways, it will always be a positive and life changing addiction,” said Jordan Carr, a biochemistry major and holistic health and nutrition consultant.

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