Many people feel that exercising is important. However, compulsive exercising may lead to health risks.
Experts have said compulsive exercise can impact growth development in today’s youth, if abused.
Some of the long-term risks include tainted muscle development, arthritis and joint damage throughout the body.
George “Chip” Heimbach, assistant director of fitness programs at Florida A&M’s Hansel E. Tookes Sr. Student Recreation Center, said most young people fail to give their bodies rest.
“I inform my clients that if their body goes without rest, performance will decrease, and joints will break down,” Heimbach said.
According to a research study in an April Medscape post, excessive exercise is linked to suicidal behavior. The study also found that one-third of all women who have bulimia nervosa will attempt suicide.
Young athletes who abuse exercise also suffer directly with mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and suicide. According to sportsmedicine.about.com, some young athletes are mentally addicted, and reduced exercise causes severe depression.
“Young athletes, male or female, deal with psychological trauma of reaching a desired goal, and their self-esteem is destroyed and they focus less on their health,” Heimbach said.
A lacking experience with proper workout regimens leads to compulsive exercise in young athletes, said Joe Miller, fitness director at Tallahassee’s Gold’s Gym.
“You should never do repetitive workouts,” Miller said. “Always switch it up. Most young people that abuse exercise are uninformed and their bodies suffer from lifelong injuries.”
Weight training is one of the many workouts that impacts muscle development if abused, said Vanessa Maldonado, a personal trainer at Tallahassee’s YouFit Health Clubs.
“There are important limits that come with weight training,” Maldonado said. “If training is not done in moderation, muscles will break down, and as you get older your joints fail earlier than expected.”
Whitney Baron, a fourth-year health care management student from Miami, said working to be healthy is important, but taking it too seriously is a problem.
“It’s dangerous to obsess over your image and weight-loss goals,” Baron said. “Just be healthy. I’ve witnessed people overdo it at the gym, and I want to maintain a balance when I work out.”
More information on assistance with compulsive exercise is available at pamf.org.