Nautilus

When Exercise Becomes Too Much of a Good Thing

In a world where only 1 in 5 American adults meet the minimum daily exercise requirements, exercise addiction can seem like the opposite of a problem. Don’t let that fool you, says Marilyn Freimuth, a clinical psychologist at Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara. “Exercise addiction can completely take over someone’s life. They’re getting injured, all they can do is think about exercising, but because our culture values physical activity,” she says, “we overlook the issue.”

In their 2015 book The Truth About Exercise Addiction: Understanding the Dark Side of Thinspiration, author Katherine Schreiber and Jacksonville University professor of kinesiology Heather Hausenblas write, “Exercise addicts experience physical activity as both a coping mechanism and a compulsion without which they feel they cannot survive.” People generally feel better both physically and mentally after working out. But for exercise addicts, that positive surge—similar to the ones gambling- and sex-addicts

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus4 min readPsychology
The Hidden Link Between Morality and Language
Tragedy can strike us any time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it. When Frank’s dog was struck and killed by a car in front of his house, he grew curious what Fido might taste like. So he cooked him up and ate him for dinner. It was
Nautilus5 min readScience
7 Surprises That Climate Change Will Throw Us
Rising sea levels, lower air quality, and longer and more frequent droughts often top the list of climate change consequences that will change our biosphere and stoke human conflict. Consider Central Asia. The “tangled knot of borders, ethnicities, w
Nautilus5 min read
Actually, There Is a Time Like the Present: Think there’s no time like the present? Modern physics begs to differ.
We’ve all heard it before: There’s no time like the present. Broadly speaking, of course, it means to “seize the opportunity right now,” or maybe in my case, to avoid procrastinating. From a psychological perspective, this makes a lot of sense. As hu