Causes and Effects of Over-Exercising
Exercising is a healthy activity that helps one to improve general well-being and reduce the risk of developing numerous diseases. Initially, exercising is unpleasant and painful, so when people just begin involving themselves into physical exercises, they may feel drained and fatigued. While some people lack sufficient exercising, the others may be prone to over-exercising, which can be hazardous to their health. Over-exercising occurs when an individual continuously exercises beyond the limits that are considered safe. Once a person starts exercising regularly, he/she starts craving the empowerment that exercising gives them (Berczik, et al. 408). Exercise addiction is described as a compulsive disorder that compels individuals to exercise excessively. Addiction occurs when exercise takes over a person’s life. The disorder associated with over-exercise is called anorexia athletica, which has numerous negative effects on people. This essay discusses causes of over-exercising and its further effects, namely physical, social, and psychological.
Causes of Exercise Addiction
Exercise addiction often starts with the desire to be physically fit. A body image disorder is the major cause of exercise addiction. People who are pressurized to stay fit run the risk of developing addiction to exercise. Overweight people who use weight loss regimens are also at risk of being addicted to exercise. Research has shown that during exercise a person’s body releases endorphins and dopamine. These same neurotransmitters are released during drug use. They make an individual feel joyful and experience the feeling of being rewarded when exercising.
Another major cause for excessive exercise is having unstable state of mind such as high levels of depression and anxiety. Some individuals with excessive addition to exercise suffers from psychological problem. For example, depression could push a person to higher level of exercises which would eventually harm their physical body. Finally, an exercise addict has to work out more to trigger the neurotransmitters, because, when they stop, the chemical release stops. However, there is lacking evidence to determine the real causes of over-exercising in the society.
Effects of Over-Exercising
The main effects of over-exercising among the individuals include physical, social, and psychological. It is important to understand the effects to take corrective actions to improve people’s health and general well-being.
Over-exercising exposes individuals to the risk of injury. Too much exercise increases the risk of developing stress and bone fractures. In women, over-exercising may lead to the development of osteoporosis, which may occur, because, when individual exercises excessively, the ovaries produce less estrogen hence reduced bone density. Existing injuries may worsen, and the time required for recovery may increase. Excessive exercise exposes individuals to the risk of developing muscle sprains and strains due to the exertion of excessive pressure. Joint damage may also result from over-exercising. An individual is likely to suffer from the loss of muscle mass or even torn muscles when they exercise too much.
Research shows that excessive exercise has a detrimental effect on the heart as well (Berczik et al. 410). It indicates that too much exercise may cause scarring of the heart muscles, which can lead to heart failure and heart dysfunction. In the research, individuals who were extremely athletic were found with scarred heart muscles, whereas those that did less exercise had no heart muscle scarring. The result of this research shows that excessive exercise may increase the risk of heart damage. Therefore, over-exercising is highly risky to the general physical welfare of the individuals within the society.
Social and Psychological Effects
Physical work-outs take up much time and may end up having a detrimental impact on relationships. Family and friends often feel left out, because the exercise addict no longer interacts with them. Besides, obsession with exercising may even negatively influence marriages, and thus lead to divorce or breakup among couples. Moreover, exercise addiction may cause cognitive distortion, which refers to a disorder characterized by selective abstraction, superstitious thinking, personalization, arbitrary inference, and black-and-white thinking (Berczik, et al. 409). The latter occurs when a person fails to observe the limitations of exercising. Selective abstraction sets in when an exercise addict associates exercise with long-term happiness. Overgeneralization makes the compulsive exerciser make assumptions. All these characteristics of psychological disturbance cause emotional distress, especially when combined with a negative self-image.
In addition, individuals with exercise addiction usually face the challenge of drug addiction. They may abuse the prescribed drugs, including opiates and depressants. It is important for the family to observe if there are any symptoms of drug addiction, including excessive spending, the lack of energy, and poor work performance among others. Over-exercising also leads to poor self-esteem. Such exercising addicts usually feel guilty about themselves, because they derive no benefits from the exercise (Weinstein and Yitzhak 4063). In adverse situations, individuals with exercise addiction usually guide their exercising habits to avoid being questioned. Within the society, exercise addiction treatment units should have resources and personnel to assist in determining the causes and effects of the condition, which also impacts on the emotions of the exercising individuals. The emotions could be related to their negative attitude towards food and weight such as their obsession to control the body weight.
In conclusion, exercise is a healthy habit when practiced appropriately. However, exercising becomes harmful when overdone. Over-exercising is hazardous, and thus individuals should take preventative measures to avoid its effects. Excessive exercise exposes individuals to the risk of developing muscle sprains and strains due to the exertion of pressure. It is recommendable for individuals to seek professional help to overcome the addiction to exercise.
Berczik, Krisztina, et al. “Exercise Addiction: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, and Etiology.” Substance Use & Misuse 47.4 (2012): 403-417.
Weinstein, Aviv, and Yitzhak Weinstein. “Exercise Addiction-Diagnosis, Bio-Psychological Mechanisms and Treatment Issues.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 20.25 (2014): 4062-4069.