National Eating Disorders Association

Exercise Compulsive exercise is not a recognized clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5, but many people struggle with symptoms associated with this term. If you are concerned about your or a loved one's relationship with exercise, please speak with a treatment professional.

WARNING SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF COMPULSIVE EXERCISE

  • Exercise that significantly interferes with important activities, occurs at inappropriate times or in inappropriate settings, or when the individual continues to exercise despite injury or other medical complications
  • Intense anxiety, depression, irritability, feelings of guilt, and/or distress if unable to exercise
  • Maintains excessive, rigid exercise regimen – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
  • Discomfort with rest or inactivity
  • Exercise used to manage emotions
  • Exercise as a means of purging (needing to “get rid of” or “burn off” calories)
  • Exercise as permission to eat
  • Exercise that is secretive or hidden
  • Feeling as though you are not good enough, fast enough or not pushing hard enough during a period of exercise; overtraining
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF COMPULSIVE EXERCISE

  • Bone density loss (osteopenia or osteoporosis) 
  • Loss of menstrual cycle (in women)
  • Female Athlete Triad (in women)
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)
  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Chronic bone & joint pain
  • Increased incidence of injury (overuse injuries, stress fractures, etc.)
  • Persistent fatigue and sluggishness
  • Altered resting heart rate
  • Increased frequency of illness & upper respiratory infections

 

NEDA is here to support you during the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The health of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus' serious complications, remains paramount. To access resources that can provide free and low-cost support, please click here.

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