Editor's Note: Our friend Joanna Zeiger is not only a world champion triathlete, but also a working scientist. Now she can also add talented blogger to her resume. Joanna recently posted this interesting story on her new blog Fast at Forty. We liked it so much that we though you'd enjoy it as well.
My work at the University of Colorado entails finding causes for drug addiction and other drug use behaviors. I am in the process of writing a grant and in the course of my research I happened upon an article dealing with another type of addiction, exercise addiction. I eagerly read the article to determine if my self-diagnosed exercise addiction is indeed a clinical condition.
Of course, it is easy to explain away the hours of exercise as “training” for the next big event, but, truly, wouldn’t I be out there logging miles anyway?The paper (Terry et al., 2004) presented a six statement questionnaire that offers a 5-point response option where a 1 means that you strongly disagree with the statement and a 5 indicating that you strongly agree. I took the quiz, and for the sake of completeness, I had my husband answer the questions on my behalf, just to see how he perceives my exercising. Grab a pen and paper and answer the questions. Be honest, nobody is judging (how can we? I am sure we are all high scorers).
|Strongly disagree||Neither agree or disagree||Strongly agree|
|1.||Exercise is the most important thing in my life.||1||2||3||4||5|
|2.||Conflicts have arisen between me and my family due to the amount of exercise I do.||1||2||3||4||5|
|3.||I use exercise as a way of changing my mood.||1||2||3||4||5|
|4.||Over time I have increased the amount of exercise I do.||1||2||3||4||5|
|5.||If I have to miss a session I feel moody.||1||2||3||4||5|
|6.||If I cut down on the amount of exercise I do I start again and end up exercising as much as before.||1||2||3||4||5|
If you scored a 24 or higher, congratulations, you are an exercise addict. I scored a 26 and my husband scored me at 27. We both agreed that I am a 5 on questions 3, 5, and 6. My mother, a non-athlete scored the lowest possible score, a 6. My husband scored a middling 20.
Without a doubt, exercise makes me happy and if I have to miss a workout due to injury, illness, tiredness, lack of time or any other reason for that matter, I become grouchy. I suppose at the next race we can have a support group for exercise addiction. The topics would include: how to lessen the importance of exercise in our lives, how to better balance our addiction with other life obligations, and finding alternative methods for mood improvement. The pre-race meeting would be a perfect time to hold this summit since just about everybody entered in the race would receive a pathological number on this quiz.What was your score? Please share in the comments section below!
Research Authors: Terry, A., Szabo, A., Griffiths, M. (2004). The Exercise Addiction Inventory: A New Brief Screening Tool. Addiction Research and Theory. 12(5): 489-99.