- Inspiration for Recovery
- Understanding ED
- Emotions, Feeling and Health
- Supporting ED sufferers: Family, Carers, Friends, Teachers, Coaches ...
- Society's Influence and ED in the Media
- Men and ED
- Talk About ED
- Gallery List
Activity Disorder | Over Exercising
We are living in the ’fitness’ generation. We are encouraged to eat low fat food, increase fibre, reduce intake of sodium and have a healthy exercise regime. But what is health and what is fitness?
Fitness – the physical ability to perform athletic activity
Health – the state when all systems of the body (nervous, muscular, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, hormonal…) are working in an optimal way.
Exercise may seem a healthy activity but it is used by some people with an ED in an obsessive way to control their weight. A person suppresses the signals of the body’s limit indicating overwork. While moderate amounts of exercise can reduce depression, depression also can be product of over-training.
Many people with ED exercise to such a degree that there is little time left for friends, families, schoolwork and other aspects of life. Some experience a feeling of superiority from being able to exercise more than other people. Exercise addiction sufferers often have family or other social difficulties. Very often exercise dependency is an avoidance mechanism – ‘I don’t want to go home, I will exercise instead’. Exercise in many cases is a replacement for destructive behaviours.
Ways to Recognise and Obsession with Exercise
- Do I pass up social activities and spending time with my family and friends rather than miss workout?
- Do I schedule my day around my exercise rather than my exercise around me schedule?
- Is exercise used as a means to burn calories and lose weight rather than to have fun, enjoy body movements and master or maintain physical and emotional health?
- Is exercising a way to purge unwanted thoughts and avoid unpleasant feelings rather than express them?
- If I miss my workout, do I feel anxious, guilty, angry or fat?
- Do I determine how much exercise I do in terms of how much food I have eaten?
- If I miss workout do I deny myself food?
- Do I ignore injury, fatigue and pain?
- Is body size always on my mind?
ED continues to be on the increase among people involved in athletics because of the great emphasis on athletes to be thin. According to a 1992 American College of Sports Medicine study, 62% of females in sport like figure skating and gymnastics. Gymnasts Kathy Johnson, Nadia Comaneci and Cathy Rigby have come forward and admitted to fighting ED. Cathy Rigby, the 1972 Olympian, battled ED for 12years. She went into cardiac arrest on two occasions as a result of it.
Athletes are often willing to tolerate pain, ignore fractures, torn ligaments and the loss of their menstrual cycle in order to achieve their goal. Food becomes the enemy instead of an avenue to enhance health and performance and over-exercising becomes the means to purging calories and negative emotions.
Many athletes fall in to the trap of ED in order to please coaches and judges. Many coaches pressure athletes to lose weight. This could cause an athlete to resort to dangerous methods of weight control and can do serious emotional damage to them.