Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Purging Through Exercise is Still Purging

CBS News recently released an article entitled, "Emerging Eating Disorder: Exercise Bulimia," in which they discuss a new variation of the classic eating disorder, Bulimia. With Exercise Bulimia, purging doesn't come through vomiting or laxatives, but through overt exercising. According to the article, people who suffer from Exercise Bulimia compulsively exercise, usually to the tune of several hours a day. This compulsion to exercise could lead to serious health problems.

There are some major problems with this emerging form of Bulimia. First, it's very hard to spot. If we see someone at the gym every day, we're not usually there long enough to know whether a person we might see there every day is there for three or more hours each day. Secondly, it can lead to social and personal problems. People start missing appointments, social functions, even work in order to exercise. They also get depressed and anxious if, for some reason, they miss out on their exercise time.

There are also serious health problems that can arise from too much exercise. These can include reproductive problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, dehydration and injuries such as stress fractures and weak bones. One woman, who is in recovery from Exercise Bulimia, not only has Osteoperosis -- claiming that her bones are equivalent to a 65 year old female -- but also lost her period for eight years. Thankfully, her parents forced her to get help, and she's currently undergoing treatment.

What is one to do if you know someone who might be suffering from this affliction? According to dieting expert Dr. Ian Smith, you should try to gently explain what the person with the disorder is missing by spending so much time exercising, while also trying to explain the dangers they could be facing, both physically and psychologically, from too much exercise. Unlike classic Bulimia, Exercise Bulimia affects both men and women, so keep that in mind if you think you know someone afflicted with this disorder.

While it's hard to imagine exercise being dangerous or harmful to a person, this kind of shows that just about anything -- taken to excess, of course -- can be detrimental. If you do know someone with this disorder, urge them to get help if you can. If you think you have this disorder yourself, look for the signs in your own behavior and get help if you can. Good luck, and stay healthy and happy, my friends.