What Are The Negative Effects of Over Exercising?

Anorexia athletica is a serious eating disorder that affects athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all ages and genders. In this article, we’ll examine the complications and health problems that people can develop when anorexia athletica goes untreated.

Warning Signs of Anorexia Athletica

Before we break down the complications from compulsive exercising, we’d like to take a moment to briefly list some of the most common warning signs of anorexia athletica:

  • Attempting to hide or keep secret your exercise habits.
  • Experiencing anxiety, depression, shame, or guilt after missing a workout.
  • Maintaining a rigid and unsustainable training routine regardless of illness, weather conditions, injuries, or social plans.
  • Feeling uncomfortable during periods of inactivity.
  • Using exercise to ignore or downplay highly emotional events.
  • Thinking that exercise gives you permission to binge.
  • Using exercise to purge calories after binging.

Health Consequences and Complications of Anorexia Athletica

Loss in bone density: Compulsive exercising coupled with restrictive eating habits can eventually cause both osteopenia and osteoporosis. Remember, even minor reductions in bone density will dramatically increase an athlete’s chance of suffering a serious fracture during a sports event or training session.

Higher risk of illness and infection: Research has linked overtraining in athletes to higher incidences of illness and infection, especially upper respiratory infections. Early studies suggest that over-exercising leads to the release of too much cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that temporarily suppress the body’s immune system.

Disrupted menstrual cycles: Without adequate nutrition or rest days, female athletes may experience disrupted menstrual cycles. In severe cases of anorexia athletica, female athletes may experience no menstruation at all.

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): One of the first signs of anorexia athletica is low energy availability. During prolonged periods of over exercising and low energy availability, athletes may experience intermittent RED-S episodes. RED-S is itself a broad condition that encompasses a range of major health consequences, including osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues, gastrointestinal distress, disordered eating, and amenorrhea.

Chronic aches and persistent joint pain: Overtraining makes it near impossible for the body to rest and repair damaged muscles, cartilage, and joints. Without recovery time, minor discomforts will quickly escalate to sustained muscle and joint soreness.

Raised resting heart rate: Compulsive exercising may also cause an elevated resting heart rate. If your resting heart rate is raised above 100 beats per minute, it can put you at an increased risk of tachycardia, a condition that can lead to a stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, and even death.

Sources: National Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Hope, UK Addiction Treatment Centers, Very Well Fit

Photo: Pexels

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