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Flashcards in Compulsive Exercise Deck (30)
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Non-compulsive exercise

-Government/Medical guidelines
-“Normal” activity levels may vary from person to person


2 Main reasons to compulsively exercise

1. as a form of compensation for bad eating habits
2. as an extreme for goal setting


Effects of exercise on brain

-increases the hippocampus which is involved in memory and learning
-gets oxygen to the brain


exercise and depression

-Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
-Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
-Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects
-Gain confidence by achieving goals
-Feel better about your body and appearance
-Take your mind off worries
-Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
-Get more social interaction.
-Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy (appropriate self-regulation).


History of exercise

-Paleolithic humans did not need gyms
-Civilizations = less activity
-Industrialization = less activity
-Exercise science
-Our food environment has increased our need for exercise even more
-Tied to beauty/appearance


Compulsive Exercise

-Beyond the requirements for good health
-Exercises despite injury, illness
-Obsessive about weight and diet
-Work, school, relationships suffer
-Loses the fun of it all
-Define self-worth based on looks/performance
-Rarely/never satisfied with achievement
-Doesn’t savor victory


Three of the following

1. I have missed important social obligations & family events in order to exercise.

2. I have given up other interests, including time with friends, in order to make more time to work out.

3. Missing a workout makes me irritable and depressed.

4. I only feel content when I am exercising or within the hour after exercising.

5. I like exercise more than sex, good food, or a movie. There's almost nothing I'd rather do.

6. I work out even if I'm sick, injured, or exhausted. I'll feel better when I get moving anyway.

7. In addition to my regular schedule, I'll exercise more if I find extra time.

8. Family and friends have told me I'm too involved in exercise.

9. I have a history (or a family history) of anxiety or depression.


Negative Consequences

-Deterioration of personal relationships or failure at work or school
-Social withdrawal
-Insomnia, depression, and fatigue
-Muscular and skeletal injuries
-Amenorrhea, testosterone changes
-Physical performance deteriorates
-Increased risk for eating disorders
-Increased risk for abuse of “performance-enhancers”


Performance Enhancers

-Anabolic steroids
-Human growth hormone


Anabolic steroids

Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session.



-a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries and testes
-normally converted to testosterone and estradiol in both men and women
-available legally only in prescription form, and is a controlled substance
-manufacturers and bodybuilding magazines tout its ability to allow athletes to train harder and recover more quickly
-its use as a performance-enhancing drug is illegal in the United States.


Human growth hormone

-pituitary produces hGH to stimulate growth in children and adolescents and to increase muscle mass in adults.
-Using hGH has been linked to a variety of medical conditions, including joint pain, muscle weakness, fluid retention, carpal tunnel syndrome, cardiomyopathy and hyperlipidemia



-increases red blood cell production without the need for transfusions
-increases the risk of events such as stroke, heart attack and pulmonary edema
-drug thickens the blood to the point where it produces fatal clots



-a way to mask steroid use.
-diuretics dilute urine, which decreases steroid concentration and makes it much more difficult to detect. -an athlete taking diuretics may also get dizzy, become dehydrated or experience a severe drop in blood pressure



-boosting levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscle tissue
-benefit seems to be limited to short, high-energy bursts of muscle activity, not long, slow burns common in endurance athletes.



-drug can cause high blood pressure, dizziness, shortness of breath and cardiac arrhythmia.


Primary Compulsive Exercise

Motivation going in:
-Improving performance
-Getting supremely “cut”, “buff”


Healthy athletes

training for peak performance and competition can suffer overtraining symptoms, which are the short-term result of too little rest and recovery



-a chronic loss of perspective of the role of exercise in a full life
-the difference is in the attitude.
-addicted individual isn't able to see value in unrelated activities and pursues her/his sport even when it is against her/his best interest



Obligatory running
-Fear of fat
-Restricted diet
-Undue influence of body shape or weight on self-evaluation
-Personality characteristics common to eating disorder sufferers


Body Builders

-Drive for perfection and control over body
-Unusual eating habits
-Dangerous behaviors?
-Bouts of starvation, severe dehydration, performance enhancing substance use


Eating Disorders in Athletes

-Sports and body image satisfaction
-Unusual eating patterns socially acceptable in athletes
-Striving for very low body fat percentages
-15-62% of college athletes show signs of disordered eating


Secondary Compulsive Exercise

-Losing weight or compensating for extra calories
-Adjunct to eating disorder

Intense fear of fat

Exercise bulimia, anorexia athletica, hypergymnasia


Link Between Starvation and Activity

-Rat wheel running
-Food restriction + excessive exercise = starvation


Compulsive Exercise as an Addiction

Tolerance- more and more exercise needed for positive effects

Withdrawal- depressed mood when prevented, only exercise and relieve this

Excessive intake- excessive exercise

Loss of control

Narrowing of behavioral repertoire- Sacrificing work, social life and family life to spend time exercising

Use continues despite problems-Exercise despite injuries and illnesses


Underregulation- Standard deficits

Conflicting standards:
-Health vs. obsession
-Elite athlete vs. unhealthy person


Underregulation- Monitoring failure

-Deindividuation - insensitivity to internal cues, decreased pain sensitivity

-Renegade attention - see exercise-related stimuli everywhere, more extrinsic motivation


Underregulation- Strength failure

Psychological Inertia- hard to stop once begun



Inadequate or wrong knowledge:
-No pain, no gain
-The more the better!

Trying to control the uncontrollable:
-Genetic influence over body types
-Are “those abilities” or is “that body” possible??


Spiraling Distress

Preoccupation/Anticipation- Thinking about the gym: wishing you were there instead of in class

Binge/Intoxication-In the “zone”

Withdrawal/Negative Affect-Depressed mood, anxious when not exercising