Too Much Exercise in Teens: What to Look For

too much exercise

Is your teen getting too much exercise? Exercise has many positive benefits, but like anything, too much exercise is not healthy either. Compulsive exercise is defined by a person feeling compelled to exercise, instead of choosing to do so, and struggling with guilt or anxiety if unable to exercise. Defining an appropriate activity level for everyone can be difficult as each individual’s exercise needs are varied.

Here are 3 signs to watch out for if you think your teen might be engaging in compulsive exercise (too much exercise)

1. Multiple Workouts a Day. Although some teens, especially those involved in sports, are more active than others, several workouts a day is probably overdoing it for almost anyone. Also, if your teen exercises even if they are ill or injured, or choose exercise regularly over time with friends, it might be a sign they are overdoing it.

2. Eating Disorders. While compulsive exercise does not always occur with an eating disorder, the two often go hand in hand. In anorexia nervosa, the excessive workouts usually begin as a way to control weight. As activity increases, the amount a person eats decreases. A person suffering with bulimia may use exercise as a way to counter binge eating.

3. Pressure on Student Athletes. If your teen is a student athlete, be aware of the pressures surrounding student athletes. Pressure from external sources, such as coaches, peers or parents, and internal pressure can drive a teen to go too far. More workouts do not equal better workouts, and too much exercise can lead to injury.

If your teen is struggling with compulsive exercise, consider working with a health coach to help your teen come up with a healthy exercise plan that leaves room for school, friends and other activities. A health coach can help your teen set goals within the context of moderation. You can also work with our Pediatric Registered Dietitian to help with their eating disorder.

Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach
KareBoost Health