Can exercise be addictive? What do you think?

A lot of workouts! See my 7 favorite here.

Let’s face it; most people don’t like to exercise, so the idea that it can be addictive sounds sort of silly, right?  Well, once you’ve accepted the fact that exercise is essential to a long healthy life, make the commitment and actually feel and see the results, you might think otherwise.

The word addiction can be misunderstood because too often it’s associated with unhealthy things like alcohol and drugs.  Please note, I’m not talking about an obsessive exercise habit here, I’m talking about well-balanced choices.  But with that being said, the natural healthy high that occurs every time you exercise does play a part in creating an addiction.

It’s common knowledge that exercising directly affects the chemicals in the brain in positive ways, increasing the serotonin levels and giving an overall feeling of happiness.  For instance, you could walk out the door for a run in a bad mood and 20-minutes later come back feeling happier than ever.  That elated high is what exercisers are literally running after.

John J. Ratey, MD, who’s an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of ‘A User’s Guide to the Brain’, says, “I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac at the right moment. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

When you incorporate exercise into your life 3-5 days per week, no matter how busy you might be, and make it a priority, your life changes in such positive impactful ways that a healthy addiction unconsciously starts to form and there’s no turning back.  This addiction not only comes from how exercise makes you feel within your mind, but also from the results you see happen to your body.

Who would want to stop doing something that’s not only healthy for them in so many ways, but also makes them look and feel fantastic?  No one I know.  Personally, I admit to having a healthy addiction to exercise and can’t even imagine ever giving it up.  With over 2 decades of exercising 5-6 days per week in some form or another, I crave it. Bare in mind, these sessions are only about 20-30 minutes long, so I’m always keeping myself in check. It’s funny, after all of these years, if I feel a little moody, the first question my husband will ask me is, “When was the last time you exercised?”

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