Why do people get addicted to running?
Running can be a challenging and rewarding activity. There are countless health benefits, and it can have great influence on your mental wellbeing, too. But what happens when a person can’t seem to stop running, even when injured? It’s possible to develop a running addiction. Read on to find out more.
Can running be an addiction?
Exercise or running addiction can develop in the same way any other addiction. It may present as a healthy new hobby, but can actually become a coping mechanism or way to avoid facing other issues.
How can I tell if someone I know has a running addiction?
You may notice some of the following behaviours:
- Running takes precedence over other priorities,
- Commitments and time with family and friends are cancelled in order to run,
- The person may run even though they are injured,
- There are signs of anxiety, depression or insomnia if runs are delayed or missed.
If you are wondering if you are developing a running addiction, ask yourself:
- Am I anxious if I can’t get my run in?
- Do I continue to run even when it’s painful or I’m injured?
- Can I choose to skip a run and feel ok about it?
- Does it take up more time than I’m comfortable with?
- Does running stop me from meeting my other responsibilities?
Running addiction can sometimes be difficult to identify or to stop, because in general, running is seen to be a good thing. It’s not unusual for runners to spend a lot of time in practice, especially in the lead up to a race. It’s typically admirable to see people taking care of their health and fitness. This positive reinforcement can make it easier to hide an addiction, or to fail to identify it as it develops.
What to do if you or someone you know is developing a running addiction
If you think you notice a change in someone you care about, speak to them gently about it. Raise your concerns while remaining non-judgemental. If you think you are running too much, speak to a trusted friend. Track your mileage over a week or two, and consciously try to decrease it. If it’s not getting easier, don’t be afraid speak to a mental health professional.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.
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