Nov 162003
 
Authors: Lauren Mattingly

Exercise can be a stress reliever, a re-energizer and can

lengthen one’s lifespan. However, too much of a good thing can be

bad. If going to the gym is becoming more like a job than

enjoyment, it may be a sign that over-exercising has taken

over.

Matthew Hickey, associate professor of health and exercise

science, said over-exercising is classified as a syndrome.

“The term exercise addiction has recently come up in medical

literature,” Hickey said.

There are discrepancies over what defines over-exercising

because it is largely dependent on each individual’s body

composition.

“I don’t think that anybody should be vigorously working out

seven days a week. If you are, create a fun and healthy program

consisting of variety and a balanced exercise routine,” Hickey

said.

There are also people who binge exercise.

“Binge exercisers do not work out on a regular basis but when

they do, they do it on an irrational level of intensity and

duration; they binge,” said Tamar Cline, a strength and fitness

coordinator at the Student Recreation Center.

When working out stops being for exercise and the gym routine

becomes similar to a job obligation for people, a risk for

over-exercising can develop.

“Over exercising is more prevalent among people concerned with

body image,” Cline said.

While there is an equal concern about body image for men and

women, certain personality traits can lead to a workout obsession,

Cline said.

Cline said people who are persistent, tend to be obsessive or

have compulsive behavior are more apt to develop an over-exercising

syndrome.

Some over-exercisers use working out as a self-esteem boost to

solve problems or to release overwhelming emotions.

Junior health and exercise science major John Kummrow knows when

he needs more energy to execute a rigorous exercise session.

“My body will tingle because I need more glucose or aminos in my

system. I also know I’m working too hard when I start to decline in

the amount of time or repetitions I’m doing,” Kummrow said.

The exerciser might overlook some warning signs given by the

body because certain symptoms are prevalent on college campuses,

such as the common cold.

“One of the symptoms of an over-exercised body is an upper

respiratory tract infection. This is the occurrence of cold-like

symptoms but the difference is they do not seem to go away,” Hickey

said.

An increase in heart rate is one indicator.

“If you notice that during your regular workout your heart rate

is higher than it is typically, that is a sign. Also your resting

heart rate may be higher than it is normally,” Hickey said.

Another warning sign is a constant state of fatigue during the

day and not being able to sleep at night.

Stacey Olson, a junior health and exercise science major, knows

this all too well. In high school she was the lead runner and

captain of the track team. She felt pressure from her coach to work

out before and after school, monitor food intake and to maintain

her weight.

This pressure turned into a stress of pushing herself to do more

than she was capable of. Today, Olsen is her own coach and she is

very aware of her body and the signals it sends to her.

“I know I’m over-exercising because I’ll start to feel really

tired, have a hard time sleeping, lose my appetite, have muscle and

joint pains and aches. These warning signs let me know that I am

over-exercising,” Olsen said.

Some students can lose touch with their bodies and do more harm

then good. This is not an uncommon phenomenon trainers at the

recreation center see.

“Exercising too much leads to muscle breakdown, fatigue and

weaker muscles, which in turn leads to a weaker bone structure,”

Cline said.

Women especially should be concerned about developing Female

Athlete Triad.

“The first part of Female Athlete Triad is over-exercising, the

second is amenorrhea, (less or even loss of menstrual flow) and the

last component is a decrease in bone density,” said Jon Gines, a

doctorate student in the Department of Health and Exercise

Science.

 

 

 

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