We offer sessions in person or via teletherapy​

Are You an Exercise Addict?

We all know that to be healthy we’ve got to exercise regularly. But do some people take exercise too far? How much exercise is too much?

It is entirely possible to become addicted to exercise. In fact, it is estimated that 3% of regular gym-goers are exercise addicts. But this number can change dramatically depending on the specific population and type of physical activity.

As an example, research suggests that roughly 25% of amateur runners may be considered addicted to exercise while a whopping 50% of marathon runners may be addicts.

While the prevalence of exercise addiction may be low compared to other more common addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling), considering the physical (shin splints, irregular heartbeats, fatigue) and emotional toll an exercise addiction brings, it’s important to address the issue.

What is Exercise Addiction Exactly?

Simply put, this addiction describes someone who is fanatical about physical activity despite any negative consequences. The symptoms experienced with this addiction are similar to other addictions. The only difference is the “drug” of choice here is fitness.

Symptoms of exercise addiction include:

Heightened Stimulus

There is a growing need for more and more physical activity to get the same endorphin highs, greater self-esteem, etc.


On days when the addict doesn’t exercise, there is a feeling of anxiety, depression, irritability, etc.

Loss of Control

It feels incredibly challenging for exercise addicts to keep their fitness levels down to manageable levels.


More time is given to physical fitness than to work, social life, hobbies, etc. In fact, over time, less and less time is given to social or work activities while exercise becomes even more of a priority.

Poor Decision Making

Despite illness, injury, or caution given by concerned friends and family or healthcare workers, addicts persist with their physical activity levels.

Getting Help

This article in no way intends to suggest that exercise is bad. As long as it’s done in a healthy manner, exercise obviously brings a lot of benefits to our hearts, bones, and muscles.

But when someone becomes obsessed with working out, to the extent that they begin to jeopardize their health and relationships, they have become addicted and need to seek treatment. If left unchecked, exercise addiction can be as bad for our health as being completely sedentary and inactive.

Exercise addiction can be treated through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of mental health modality helps a person discover where their addiction comes from and adjust their behavior accordingly.

If you or someone you love has an exercise addiction and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to us.



Latest Blogs and Resources


The Power Of Regret

by Daniel H Pink “The world needs this book.” –Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead and Atlas of the

Select your therapist

Emotional Wellbeing Check

An Emotional Wellbeing Check is a 30 minute consultation to give you an overview of how you are doing with your psychological wellbeing. It will highlight key areas of your wellness and give an indication as to whether there are any areas of your life that would benefit from some attention. Like any other health check up, an emotional wellbeing check is an important part of staying on top of your mental health. With no commitment to engaging in regular therapy, this service offers a useful measure of your overall emotional wellbeing.

When might an emotional wellbeing check be beneficial?

  • Something feels “off”, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is
  • You are considering embarking on therapy, but you remain uncertain as to whether this would be beneficial for you
  • You have a history of mental health difficulties and want to stay on top of your emotional wellbeing

Following the wellbeing check you will be provided with a brief summary report with recommendations from Dr Shamarel. As this is not a service that insurance companies typically reimburse for, you will not be given a formal diagnosis.