Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Exercise Abuse

Have you gone too far?

Exercise is sometimes called a positive addiction. It can be instrumental in managing stress, reducing high blood pressure, preventing osteoporosis, lowering cholesterol, controlling weight and improving your mental outlook. But even a positive addiction can have a dark side.

JoAnn is a 25-year-old secretary who works out every day. A swimmer in high school and college, she now trains for triathlons. She swims for an hour each morning and tries to run three miles at lunch. But if she eats lunch instead of working out, she runs four miles before dinner and skips dessert as punishment. Her weekends are devoted to long-distance cycling.

For the last three months, JoAnn has been too tired to go out with her regular group of friends on Saturday night. Last week she overslept twice, not only missing her swim workout but also arriving late for work.

A nagging soreness has invaded her shoulders and left calf. Her swim workouts are slower, so she's doing more sprints to improve her times. She missed her period last month, but since she hasn't had time for a relationship, she isn't worried about being pregnant. Friends say she is tired and irritable. JoAnn thinks she wouldn't be so tired if only she worked harder to get in shape. if she just lost five more pounds, she'd be happy.

JoAnn is an exercise addict: She is not controlling her exercise; it is controlling her. She is suffering from burnout and may be headed for a serious injury or complicated eating/exercise disorder. Exercise is telling her when to get up, what to eat and how to schedule her time in short, it is running her life.

Pushing one's limits is part of improving in almost every sport or training program. The exercise addict, however, has trouble distinguishing between pushing her limits and overstepping them. She exercises out of a compulsion or sense of duty often without any pleasure. She uses exercise to avoid dealing with other problems, such as relationships, low self-esteem or an eating disorder.

Some psychologists believe that people with "addictive" personalities can become addicted to exercise rather than alcohol or drugs. Like other types of addicts, the exercise addict denies the problem. She continues to exercise despite injuries, a lack of social life or a disrupted work schedule.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
Infectious Disease
Sexual Health
Emotional Well-Being
Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

Copyright 2000 - Sports Doctor, Inc.