Geek Out on Exercise Addiction Research

Geek Out on Exercise Addiction Research

What is exercise addiction, really?

How is it impacting my body physically?

What does it do to my endocrine system?

How does it impact my brain?

My emotions?

My ability to think rationally?

Am I really doing any long term or permanent damage?

Scouring the internet for legitimate exercise addiction research can be draining.

Let me help.

Here are some excellent resources for the data hungry beast inside your brain.


Use this data to take smart action.





Defining features of unhealthy exercise associated with disordered eating and eating disorder diagnoses
Exercise Addiction and Compulsive Exercising: Relationship to Eating Disorders, Substance Use Disorders, and Addictive Disorders
Exercise addiction: A study of eating disorder symptoms, quality of life, personality traits and attachment styles
Risk for Exercise Addiction: A Comparison of Triathletes Training for Sprint-, Olympic-, Half-Ironman-, and Ironman-Distance Triathlons, Youngman – Peak Functioning


Exercise addiction- diagnosis, bio-psychological mechanisms and treatment issues.






How Ben Carter’s struggle with exercise addiction threatened his health: 


A personal account by Tara Fuller about how Exercise Addiction hurt her body but helped her learn to love herself:


A great interview with Charlotte Hilton Andersen about exercising becoming unhealthy:


Psychology Today gives easy to follow ways to know if exercise is becoming a problem:



The Obligatory Exercise Questionnaire

To score the questionnaire, first reverse the scores for items 8 and 10 (for example, if you wrote “always 4) for Item #8, then reverse it to “1”) and then obtain the total.  If you score 30 or less, your exercise is probably not obligatory.  Scores between 30 and 40 indicate there is reason for mild concern.  Scores between 40 and 50 suggest you may have moderate problems with obligatory exercise.  Scores above 50 mean you have significant problems with obligatory exercise and should seek help.

The Exercise Addiction Inventory

A thorough article giving detailed insights to help you identify exercise addiction:



Now what?


You can spend countless hours reading about exercise addiction. But what you need is action. So, here is what you’re going to do.


Close the browsers and put the research away for now. Take a deep breath. Let the feelings settle over you, let it all sink in.


Now, grab paper and pen (yes, good ole paper and pen!) and write. How are you feeling right now? What are your fears? What do you need?


Allow yourself to decompress.


Now you’re ready to start taking smart action.


Come back to your computer and this post. And here is what I want you to do. Go to the comments section or email me and tell me what is on your mind. How was looking at the research or taking the test impacted you?


And here is the key- don’t skip this step. Tell me ONE SMART ACTION  you are going to take.


Maybe you’re going to talk to a friend about this, get a fresh perspective? Maybe you’ll share this post with them? Perhaps you’ll create a list of alternative activities to your current exercise regime? Maybe you’ll buy a book?  Try meditation? Anything goes!
I want to hear from you.


Do you know someone who is impacted by exercise addiction or is growing more excessive in their exercise habits? Share this with them.

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***This is by no means an exhaustive list. Rather, I have provided the most recent research from 2014 followed by the two most commonly used assessment questionnaires. If you are seeking older academic papers go to Google Scholar and search the key words: exercise addiction, compulsive exercise, orthorexia, obligatory exercise and overtraining.

Have I missed an excellent test or piece of research? Email me or post it in the comments and I will update this post and add it!

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