Ellie Goulding Talks "Miserable" Exercise Addiction

By Paul Gaita 01/18/19

The pop star touched on exercise addiction in a recent Instagram post.

Ellie Goulding

Singer Ellie Goulding addressed her experience with dependency on exercise, which she described as "not worth it.” 

In a recent Instagram post, the Grammy-nominated singer shared a photo of herself, which was accompanied by text that in part read, "Ah good #memories of being addicted to the gym. Not worth it . . ." 

Goulding, who has also struggled with panic attacks, said that while she continues to maintain an exercise regimen, she approaches it in an entirely different manner that encompasses boxing. 

Goulding, whose most recent solo recording was the Top 20 UK single "Still Falling for You," clarified what she meant about her previous exercise routine by adding, "It was just kind of miserable." 

According to a study by Northwestern University, approximately 3% of people who exercise on a regular basis have a dependency on exercise, which can be defined by physical or psychological symptoms like depression, anger or confusion brought on by missing a single day of exercise.

In coverage of Goulding's post Bustle cited Heather Hausenblas, a professor at Jacksonville University's department of kinesiology, who noted that regular or even advanced levels of exercise don’t indicate an addiction to exercise.

Rather, it's the feelings that arise as a result of breaking the routine and the drive for people to change their lives in order to work out and quash those feelings that qualifies as a dependency.

Goulding has mentioned that in the past, intense emotions have driven her to seek solace in music. "It was the ultimate companion – the strongest remedy for any kind of pain or sadness," she said. "Often it was the only way I'd be able to say what I wanted to say or describe how I was feeling."

Exercise also became a means of contending with difficult emotions, including anxiety and panic attacks. But after a period of intensity – "I used to be harder on myself," she told The CUT in 2018 – she has become better educated on healthy practices and feels "more confident than ever now, which is an amazing feeling."

"To work out is being respectful to your body," noted Goulding. "It's a way of paying back and saying thank you for keeping me alive and for giving me such an amazing opportunity to live and breathe."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.