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Compulsive Exercise

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Can you ever get too much of a good thing? Find out about the downsides of compulsive exercising.

Compulsive Exercise - Too Much Of A Good Thing?

You probably already know the many health benefits of exercising and playing sports. They help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthens your muscles and organs, reduces your risk of getting many diseases and can help build self esteem. However, sometimes people can take exercising too seriously and do it so much that they can wear down their body and hurt themselves. People may become compulsive exercisers because they feel pressure to lose weight fast or because they think it will help them perform better in a game or competition. Compulsive exercise is similar to having an eating disorder and is sometimes called obligatory exercise or anorexia athletica. While the human body needs exercise, it also needs rest - and too much exericse can lead to fractures, muscle strains and other injuries, especially in young athletes. Compulsive exercise can also lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and other mental issues.

Compulsive Exercise - Signs and Symptoms

It seems like we're always being told we should be exercising more, so is it possible to exericse too much? Fitness experts recommend that kids and teens do around 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Some kids who are more athletic or on sports teams do much more than that - but repeatedly working out several times a day is a sign that someone may be overdoing it and developing compulsive behavior. Signs that someone may be a compulsive execiser include:

  • Worrying too much or feeling guilty about going a day without exercise.
  • Exercising even when they're sick or injured.
  • Not really enjoying exercise or sports but just doing it because they feel "they need to."
  • Preferring to exercise, rather than hang out with friends.
  • Being overly concerned about how much they eat and basing their exercise routine around their eating habits.

Compulsive Exercise - Help and Treatment

If you think you may be a compulsive exerciser, talk to a doctor, your parents, your coach or a counselor. Compulsive exercise is closely related to eating disorders and it's important to get proper support and treatment to change your eating and exercise routines. Like most things in life, moderation in exercise is important. Choose activities you enjoy and take a day to let your body rest after a hard workout. Exercise and sports should be fun and you should be doing them because you want to feel healthy and enjoy yourself, not because you feel pressure to look or perform certain way.

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