How to check whether you are at risk of exercise addiction
Read the following statements and consider how many apply to you:
• My exercise is important to me
• I have increased the training I do
• I use exercise to improve my mood
• I struggle when I can’t exercise
• I feel guilty when I can’t exercise
• When I stop exercising for a while I always go back to it and often with more intensity
• My sport gives my life a focus and I can feel aimless without it
• Competing in my sport has caused conflict with friends, family or work The key area is the one about conflict. If you have very few responsibilities, rarely get injured and are only doing short distances or events then doing lots of athletics wouldn’t be classed as addiction.
The addiction issue arises when someone is finding their athletics is dominating their other responsibilities and causes injury, burnout or conflict.
If you recognise yourself in a significant number of these (particularly the point about causing conflict) then it would be beneficial to seek treatment with a psychologist – cognitive behavioural therapy or motivational interviewing are the suggested routes to try.
If you realise that technology is exacerbating the problem, writing yourself a strategy to use it less can be beneficial. So, perhaps on a weekly basis go for a technology-free run or turn off your notifications if injured.