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The effects of overexercising

Updated: Apr 19


two people exercising at home

Exercise is recognised as being important for physical and psychological wellbeing. It is recommended that everyone takes part in exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.


Many people exercise much more frequently than that and their activity levels are not harmful. They may be working towards sports or aerobic goals and gain a high degree of satisfaction from their exercise. If you're concerned your exercise habits are more a symptom of disordered eating and would like some support, please reach out to our team today.


How can you tell when someone is over-exercising?


"My daughter has always been more sporty and active than her friends. She goes to the gym every day for two hours – should I be worried?"

A person who is over-exercising in a harmful way may show some or all of the following signs:

  • They exercise regardless of all consequences – missing social activities or important school, college or work commitments.

  • They have an emotional attachment to exercise and become extremely anxious if they miss an exercise session.

  • The goal of exercise is to lose weight and feel worthwhile, rather than for athletic goals, enjoyment or social interaction.

  • Their schedule is rigid and if they miss one exercise session, they will do twice the amount next time.

  • They will exercise even if they are injured.

  • They will exercise alone.


What are the consequences of over-exercising?


People who regularly over-exercise are at risk of the following physical side-effects and complications:

  • Degenerative arthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stress fractures

  • Fatigue

  • Breakdown of muscle mass

  • Dehydration

  • Cardiovascular complications


There are also several social side-effects of over-exercising as the problem becomes a dominant influence in the sufferer’s life:

  • Deterioration of social relationships

  • Failure or difficulties at school, college and work due to the demands of exercise regime

  • Social isolation

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Poor self-esteem and self-image



Schoen Clinic is renowned for delivering highly specialised eating disorder treatments and therapies. We have clinics for people who are suffering from anorexia, bulimia or OSFED who want effective, proven treatment.


At Schoen Clinic Newbridge in Birmingham, you have the assurance that your treatment is provided by a service which has been rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the second consecutive time.


At our leading eating disorder clinic in London, Schoen Clinic Chelsea, our specialists work together as a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive, holistic treatments for children, young people and adults with eating disorders.


At Schoen Clinic York, our specialists have extensive experience in supporting adults to recover from a range of eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and OSFED.


Please reach out to our caring team at Schoen Clinic if you need support for yourself or a loved one. Our specialists in London, Birmingham and York offer highly specialised treatments for children, teens and adults.

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