Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Teen Health

Font Size

Compulsive Exercise: Are You Overdoing It?

Many people exercise daily, whether on a sports team, in classes at the "Y," or with solo activities like running, swimming, or biking. Not only is it fun, but exercise has tremendous benefits, like controlling weight, increasing endurance, strengthening muscles and bones, and reducing the risk of serious illnesses. Problem is, some take it to the extreme with compulsive exercise. Instead of getting moderate exercise, these people are compelled to exercise excessively every day.

You might say that compulsive exercise is too much of a good thing. Those who compulsively exercise are at risk for developing eating disorders, and are also more likely to be unhappy.

Recommended Related to Teens

FAQ: Vegetarian Diet for Teens

Are you thinking of becoming a vegetarian? Or maybe you have a vegetarian friend? Here's some key health information about being a vegetarian.

Read the FAQ: Vegetarian Diet for Teens article > >

Studies show that more than 90% of women who have bulimia nervosa (binge eating with purging) exercise to compensate for binge eating. Experts believe that young women who exercise compulsively have more restricted diets, a greater preference for thinness, and more dissatisfaction with life than those who simply enjoy exercise.

What Are the Symptoms of Compulsive Exercise?

People who take part in compulsive exercise may feel great most of the time -- unless it rains and they are unable to run for miles. They think excessive exercise is the best way to stay thin, build lean muscles, and be a star in their sport. Those with exercise compulsion often engage in sports such as ballet, gymnastics, wrestling, or track and field.

The symptoms of exercise compulsion might include:

  • An elevated resting heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Deteriorating physical performance

Many girls who over exercise lose their menstrual periods (called amenorrhea). Amenorrhea can lead to serious reproductive problems and also can cause early bone loss and fractures. In some girls, excessive exercise may even delay puberty.

How Is Compulsive Exercise Treated?

Slow down! You don't have to exercise intensely 7 days a week to be at the top of your game.

In fact, most experts claim that rest is the other half of an athlete's workout. You work out, and then you rest. You work out again and rest. Rest gives your body time to heal from the stresses put upon it by running, swimming, dancing, wrestling, strength training, or other activity.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (a form of psychotherapy that involves examining faulty attitudes and beliefs about yourself) and, sometimes, medicines that treat compulsive behaviors can be useful strategies to help manage compulsive or addictive exercise behavior.

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
mini cupcakes
teen couple
girl running with vigor
Sugary drinks
teen wearing toning shoes
young woman texting
teen boy holding a condom
Teen girls eating ice cream
teen sleeping
couple kissing
Taylor Swift