Body Image, Exercise, and Sport

on April 12, 2012

by Amy, Eating Disorders Peer Support Worker

Very few people will argue with the fact that physical activity has many health benefits.  It improves mood, controls weight, boosts energy, and improves sleep, to name a few.  For most people, this shouldn't come as shocking news.

So, what’s the problem? 

The problem lies when we overexercise.  Like most things in life, you can get too much of a good thing, particularly when it comes to exercise.  Overexercise is when an individual engages in physical activity beyond the recommendations of safe levels.  It can cause cardiac issues, dehydration, stress fractures, osteoporosis, arthritis, hormonal issues, and other health conditions.

Should you be concerned?

People in certain sports are at a higher risk for overexercising, such as those in aesthetic sports (cheerleading, gymnastics, figure skating, dancing), wrestling, and bodybuilding.  Because symptoms often appear gradually, it can be difficult to detect.  And no, this information is not coming from a blogger who just picked up an exercise physiology textbook; this is coming from me experiencing the negative outcomes firsthand.

Once, exercise consumed me. I would do whatever necessary to make the time to exercise, including skipping school, social gatherings, and work. Exercise shifted from being a healthy outlet to a punishment for burning large amounts of calories to relieve the guilt of having eaten.  I was run down, exhausted, malnourished, and unhappy. 

Want to learn the warning signs?  To learn what can be done?  Want to hear my story? 

If you do, come and enjoy our free talk on Body Image, Exercise, and Sport on April 18. We will be premiering the short documentary, "One Body to Love," by Vancouver filmmaker Meredith Mackenzie.  Afterward, there will be an expert panel interview with myself and Julia Hayos, facilitated by Johnny Morris, Project Coordinator for Healthy Minds, Healthy Campuses.  Lastly, there will be an in-depth conversation with Dr. Ron Manley, Psychologist and Triathlete.  Please join us to learn more about this valuable topic!


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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

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